Cory Booker’s ‘gaffe’ was a classic 7-second stray

Learn from the Newark mayor’s mistake—never go off script. The media, and your opponents, will pounce.

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I’ve written before about something I’ve dubbed the “seven-second stray.” If a spokesperson is on message for 59 minutes and 53 seconds of an hour-long interview, but says something off message for just seven seconds, I can virtually guarantee that reporters will select that seven-second answer to play over and over again.

On Sunday’s “Meet The Press,” Newark’s Democratic mayor, Cory Booker, committed a now infamous—and politically harmful—seven-second stray.

Speaking about President Obama’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, he said:

“This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides. It’s nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity….It’s either going to be a small campaign about this crap or it’s going to be a big campaign, in my opinion, about the issues that the American public cares about.”

Those were surprising remarks from an Obama supporter, and the press immediately picked up on them. So did Republican fundraisers, who quickly put out a “We Stand With Cory” ad.

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