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Cory Booker Tests Voters: 'Love Is Not a Soft Word'

The New Jersey senator may already be stumping for 2020
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2018 1:40 PM CST
Sen. Cory Booker pauses while sharing a personal story while speaking at a post-midterm election victory celebration in Manchester, NH, on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018.   (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
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(Newser) – Sen. Cory Booker tested the political waters Saturday for a possible presidential run, displaying his warm and inclusive style in New Hampshire—at a time when many Dems are feeling combative, the New York Times reports. "This country has enough hate, enough bigotry, enough anti-Semitism," he tells a crowd of Democrats celebrating the midterms in Manchester. "What we need now is courageous actors who call to the conscience of our country a higher moral imagination, who call for a revival of civic grace." Chatting up voters at a house party in Nashua, the New Jersey senator says he gets the desire for an aggressive candidate to oppose President Trump. But "it's just not who I am, and I will continue to try to be as fearlessly authentic as I can."

But he's also a strategist. During the midterms, the 49-year-old spoke in 24 states while stumping for over 40 candidates and raised more than $7 million for liberal campaigns and causes, his aides say. Back in New Jersey, Politico notes, the governor signed a bill letting Booker run for senator and president at the same time. And people seem interested: The fire marshall had to limit access to his Manchester speech Saturday, moving people to a nearby room. He's widely expected to run but says he won't decide for about a month, ABC News reports. So will his style work in an age of Democratic "resistance"? "You cannot lead the people if you do not love the people," Booker says. "Love is not a soft word. It is hard." (Sen. Bernie Sanders also says he might run.)

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