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Sen. Lautenberg Jabs Cory Booker: Newark ‘In Need of Desperate Attention’

Just days after suggesting that Newark Mayor Cory Booker needs a “spanking,” U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) attacked his potential rival again in an interview. Booker will be running for Lautenberg’s senate seat in 2014, but the incumbent hasn’t revealed whether he will step down when his term ends. Lautenberg will turn 90 years old by the 2014 elections, making a re-election campaign unlikely. But critics feel that Booker’s early announcement was disrespectful.

Speaking to the National Journal, Lautenberg questioned Booker’s dedication to his city because of the mayor’s increasingly public persona. The senator called Newark a “city in need of desperate attention,” and suggested that Booker should stick to governing rather than campaigning.

“He’s got a lot of work to do — a lot of work that should have been done and hasn’t been done,” Lautenberg told the National Journal, claiming that “things would be different” if Booker paid more attention to the duties of his office.

Booker made headlines again this weekend when he responded to a tweet about a dog left out in the cold. New York WABC-TV contacted Booker after noticing the animal, prompting the mayor to handle the situation himself. Booker arrived on the scene with police and carried the dog into the back of a squad car, before calling the pet’s owner to scold him.

“This is brutal weather. This dog is shaking really bad and you just can’t leave your dogs out here on a day like this and go away and expect them to be OK,” the mayor told WABC.  “Hypothermia on any animal, including a human animal, will set in pretty quickly. So this is very sad. You can just feel the dog shaking pretty badly.”

The situation mirrors a similar incident last year, when Booker rescued his neighbor’s daughter from her burning home. Serving one of the Northeast’s lowest income cities, Booker’s small heroics continue to be celebrated, despite  his critics.

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