Booker: Dem Platform Offers 'Clear Choice' Between 'Inclusion or Exclusion'
In short speech, Newark mayor hits on themes of fairness, restoring prosperity
Newark Mayor Cory Booker gave a brief speech at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday, touching on topics that included economic inequality, education and breaks for small business. His words brought the audience to its feet.
“This is our American mission. These are the dreams of our fathers and our mothers,” Booker told the crowd gathered in Charlotte, N.C., for day one of the convention.
The convention ends Thursday when President Obama formally accepts the nomination.
Unlike Gov. Chris Christie, who gave a primetime address during last week’s Republican National Convention, Booker’s speech lasted a little more than 10 minutes and aired at 6 p.m., before the major television networks began their broadcasts.
Booker, who served as co-chair of the committee that wrote the Democratic Party platform for 2012, introduced the platform during his speech, aiming his rhetoric squarely at voters with average incomes.
“This platform is a clear choice between economic pathways, forward or back, inclusion or exclusion, grow together as a nation or be a country of savage disparities and favor the fortunate few over the greatest driving force in the economy: a large and robust middle class,” Booker said.
Booker also said Democrats favor balanced budgets, but were dismissive of the Republican idea that tax cuts for the wealthy would stimulate economic growth.
“Our platform calls for significant cuts in federal spending, calls for a balanced deficit reduction plan where everyone from elected officials to the wealthy to the super-wealthy pay their fair share,” Booker said.
In what seemed to be an almost deliberate rebuke of Republican nominee Mitt Romney — who was sharply criticized for failing to mention America’s ongoing war in Afghanistan during his acceptance speech last week — Booker spotlighted the 11-year-old conflict.
With U.S. soldiers risking everything overseas, “being asked to pay your fair share isn’t class warfare. It’s patriotism,” a line that drew some of the heaviest applause during Booker’s speech as well as choruses of “USA!”
Booker also said the platform favors assistance for small business, which he said has received 18 tax cuts under Obama, investment in infrastructure and a pledge that U.S. citizens who “play by the rules” regardless of “who they choose to love” or what religion they follow have the right to employment that pays enough for decent housing, retirement and medical care.
Booker’s speech was largely well-received in the Twitter-verse, where the social-media-savvy mayor has 1.2 million followers.
“You completely knocked it out of the park!” one fan said, while Newark Councilman Ron Rice, a sometime opponent of Booker’s, enthused that the crowd spontaneously took to its feet Tuesday, unlike during Christie’s address, when Christie had to “exhort” people to rise.
“Guess ideas matter,” Rice’s tweet also read.
Lia Eustachewich contributed to this report.