Aging Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), had some harsh words for Cory Booker Tuesday, suggesting that he won’t be handing his Senate seat over to the Newark mayor before the time comes. Speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lautenberg, who turned 89 Wednesday, suggested that Booker was a child in need of a spanking. Booker recently announced that he intends to run for Lautenberg’s position in the 2014 elections, but Lautenberg has not confirmed or denied a re-election campaign.
Instead, the elder lawmaker has expressed his desire to focus on his job in Washington, rather than politics and retirement. Booker has not pushed the issue, but told CNN’s Starting Point that Lautenberg has “a decision to make.” Booker’s early campaign announcement and statements regarding the senator have been deemed “disrespectful” and “self-absorbed” by Lautenberg’s aides.
“I have four children, I love each one of them. I can’t tell you that one of them wasn’t occasionally disrespectful, so I gave them a spanking and everything was OK,” Lautenberg told Inquirer correspondent Jonathan Tamari when asked about his office’s characterization of Booker.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do yet, serious things and we pride ourselves (in) my office and my team (on) getting things done. That’s the focus. I’m not thinking about the politics right now,” he added.
Lautenberg would not confirm his position in the 2014 election, but did suggest that Booker could have competition in the race. “I’m sure he won’t be a lone soldier out there drooling at the mouth and wanting this cushy job we have here,” the senator said.
Another six-year term could prove taxing for Lautenberg. He recently missed several weeks in Washington due to sickness, missing Senate votes on the fiscal cliff plan and superstorm Sandy relief legislation.