Did Cory Booker make up drug-dealer buddy?

posted at 3:21 pm on August 29, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Apparently so, but don’t expect this to change the trajectory for Cory Booker in the special election for US Senate in November.  National Review’s Eliana Johnson busts Booker for his fabulism, thanks to multiple sources, two of whom went on the record to reveal that Booker’s drug-dealing friend “T-Bone,” the tragic hero in Booker’s tales of capricious fortune, is a lie:

Booker’s tales of his trials and travails on the streets of Newark, the city that twice elected him mayor, are familiar, and they have helped to breed an almost mythological aura around the Stanford, Oxford, and Yale graduate. He did, after all, rescue a woman from a burning building last year, sustaining burns in the process. But sources tell National Review Online that the central character in one of Booker’s oft-repeated stories — T-Bone, the drug pusher who the mayor has said threatened his life at one turn and sobbed on his shoulder the next — is a figment of his imagination, even though Booker has talked about him in highly emotional terms and in great detail.

The tale is one Booker admits he’s told “a million” times, according to the Newark Star Ledger. Ronald Rice Jr., a Newark city councilman and Booker ally who has known the mayor since 1998, says the T-Bone story was “a fixture” of Booker’s unsuccessful 2002 mayoral bid against corrupt Newark political boss Sharpe James, perhaps for its symbolic value. In Booker’s mind, according to the city councilman, “It’s not so much the details of the story” that matter, but the principle that “these things happen, they happen to real people, they happen in the city of Newark.” Rice, a Newark native, says he doesn’t know whether T-Bone exists. But, he explains, “if Cory had to tell a story or two and mix details up for Newark to get the funding for it, I see that as something that’s taking tragedy and doing something productive for it.”

The T-Bone tale never sat right with Rutgers University history professor Clement Price, a Booker supporter who tells National Review Online he found the mayor’s story offensive because it “pandered to a stereotype of inner-city black men.” T-Bone, Price says, “is a southern-inflected name. You would expect to run into something or somebody named T-Bone in Memphis, not Newark.”

Price considers himself a mentor and friend to Booker and says Booker conceded to him in 2008 that T-Bone was a “composite” of several people he’d met while living in Newark. The professor describes a “tough conversation” in which he told Booker “that I disapproved of his inventing such a person.” “If you’re going to create a composite of a man along High Street,” he says he asked Booker, “why don’t you make it W. E. B. DuBois?” From Booker, he says, “There was no pushback. He agreed that was a mistake.” Since then, references to T-Bone have been conspicuously absent from Booker’s speeches.

T-Bone hasn’t made an appearance in a Booker speech for some time, but Booker did claim to author Andra Gillespie that T-Bone really exists recently enough for her to include the conversation in her 2012 book The New Black Politician.  Eliana also outlines another person whom Booker used for his parables, Judy Diggs, who really existed — but Booker exercised a little fabulism in molding Diggs to fit a story in 2007.  When her family objected to his characterization of her and the circumstances of her death, Booker immediately apologized.

Is Booker cooked?  Somehow, I doubt it.  America elected a plagiarist to the Vice Presidency in 2008, one who was caught red-handed lifting a speech from British politician Neil Kinnock and attributing Kinnock’s personal anecdotes as his own.  Voters don’t tend to punish politicians for telling tall tales, especially not in the context of spinning political parables.  While that might be frustrating, more voters probably would go along with Ronald Rice, especially those already inclined to like Booker.

Furthermore, it helps to have an opponent shooting himself in the foot, as Steve Lonegan did earlier this week:

Booker, a bachelor and currently the mayor of Newark, has faced questions in the past about his sexuality. He told the Washington Post in an interview published Monday that he thinks the speculation is “wonderful.”

“People who think I’m gay – some part of me thinks it’s wonderful, because I want to challenge people on their homophobia,” he said. “I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.’”

What should a Republican do when presented with this story, especially in a state like New Jersey?  The best option would be to ignore it — and if asked, shrug and say, “I’m here to talk about public policy, not private lives, so grow up, media.”  What did Lonegan do? Er …

“Maybe that helps to get him the gay vote, by acting ambiguous,” the Republican told conservative website Newsmax. “It’s kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy.”

For good measure, Lonegan poked fun at Booker’s confessed penchant for manicures and pedicures.

“I don’t know if you saw the stories last year,” he said. “They’ve been out for quite a bit about how he likes to go out at three o’clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure.”

“I don’t like going out in the middle of the night, or any time of the day, for a manicure and pedicure. It was described as his particular fetish,” Lonegan added. “I have a more particular fetish. I like a good scotch and a cigar. That’s my fetish, but we’ll just compare the two.”

Don’t expect T-Bone to make a difference in this race, whether he exists or not.


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His composite friend is Julian. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Flange on August 29, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Where’s Christie helping his party?…Oh right…

Iblis on August 29, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Don’t expect T-Bone to make a difference in this race, whether he exists or not.

I seldom overestimate people.

Bmore on August 29, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Especially since the last election for President. The land is filled with fools.

Bmore on August 29, 2013 at 3:26 PM

“Fake, but accurate” making a return to the political rhetoric?

Athos on August 29, 2013 at 3:28 PM

I won’t know what to think about this until I hear
from Rachel Jeantel. She’ll explain it all to me…

..she’s New School…

ToddPA on August 29, 2013 at 3:29 PM

He should find a nice girl and settle down.

Akzed on August 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

He’s the perfect liberal Democrat politician – a liar!

Tater Salad on August 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

“Fake, but accurate” making a return to the political rhetoric?

Athos on August 29, 2013 at 3:28 PM

When did it leave? “If you like your health plan, you can keep it.”

Ed Morrissey on August 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Tales From My Pimp/Drug Dealer: A Story of Narcissism and Fabulism

NotCoach on August 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Typical liberal tactic… just like Obama’s “New York girlfriend”.

blammm on August 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

America Low Information Voters, who have NO CLUE what words with three syllables actually mean, elected a plagiarist


FIFY, Ed.

PolAgnostic on August 29, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Typical liberal tactic… just like Obama’s “New York girlfriend”.

blammm on August 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Next up: Booker authored racist hate mail directed at Booker.

NotCoach on August 29, 2013 at 3:33 PM

I won’t know what to think about this until I hear from Rachel Jeantel. She’ll explain it all to me…..she’s New School… ToddPA on August 29, 2013 at 3:29 PM

She’ll probably be in congress before long.

I love her debating skills: “That’s really retarded, sir.”

Akzed on August 29, 2013 at 3:34 PM

“Fake, but accurate” making a return to the political rhetoric?

Athos on August 29, 2013 at 3:28 PM

When did it leave? “If you like your health plan, you can keep it.”

Ed Morrissey on August 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Hitting it out of the park at the State Fair!

Now relax Ed, and have a Deep Fried Twinkie!

ToddPA on August 29, 2013 at 3:34 PM

“Dreams from My T-Bone” – a Cory Booker autobiography with foreword by Gwen Ifill will be published just in time for Senator Booker’s swearing in ceremony.

/s

PolAgnostic on August 29, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Is T-Bone related to T-Dogg from ‘The Walking Dead’?

sentinelrules on August 29, 2013 at 3:35 PM

I am Spartacus T-bone!

rhombus on August 29, 2013 at 3:37 PM

“Dreams from My T-Bone” – a Cory Booker autobiography with foreword by Gwen Ifill will be published just in time for Senator Booker’s swearing in ceremony.

/s

PolAgnostic on August 29, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Oops. I typed ‘tales’ instead of ‘dreams’.

Tales Dreams Ffrom My Pimp/Drug Dealer: A Story of Narcissism and Fabulism

NotCoach on August 29, 2013 at 3:37 PM

At one point in history this would’ve been a disqualifier for high office. So much for public integrity.

Iblis on August 29, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Did Cory Booker make up drug-dealer buddy?

Sure, why not? There’s no compunction on the Left about doing anything. And nothing (possibly short of the documented aggressive molestation of 20 women) derails the career of a democrat. So sure, why not? If you’re a Republican, on the other hand, all you need to do is drink a glass of water the wrong way and you’re supposedly finished.

rrpjr on August 29, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Did Cory Booker make up drug-dealer buddy?

It’s truthy; it furthers the narrative. Ergo, it’s Democratically all good. Ya feel me?

/

M240H on August 29, 2013 at 3:40 PM

“You can’t tell people the truth, they think you’re lying … you have to lie, to make them think you’re telling the truth” – Lucy Ricardo

Right?

Booker is right up there with Rubio and obama – every word is a lie.

Pork-Chop on August 29, 2013 at 3:40 PM

A little off topic. I just noticed the latest trend in the Va. Governors race. Sad. Truly sad for all the good folks of Va. Your state is being ruined by the arm of the federal government employees.

Bmore on August 29, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Obama wrote a whole book about “composite” friends and got away with it.

Booker won’t suffer any from having lied. He’s a democrat.

portlandon on August 29, 2013 at 3:46 PM

God forbid we should consider a candidate who doesn’t pander to the PC police. Lonegan is exactly what NJ needs, not Cory Booker and not RINO Christie.

ctmom on August 29, 2013 at 3:47 PM

With NJ I expect this type of thing. Va. Sliding further down the hole with each day is less expected.

Bmore on August 29, 2013 at 3:49 PM

George Castanza is offended by that reference

jake49 on August 29, 2013 at 3:51 PM

He also has the Melanin Shield.

SirGawain on August 29, 2013 at 3:51 PM

You can’t believe a word Booker says.

- Fareed Zakaria

pain train on August 29, 2013 at 3:53 PM

To quote Nucky Thompson, “The First Rule of Politics is to never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

vegconservative on August 29, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Won’t matter…Booker 2016….he was picked a while ago..

Redford on August 29, 2013 at 3:55 PM

With NJ I expect this type of thing. Va. Sliding further down the hole with each day is less expected.

Bmore on August 29, 2013 at 3:49 PM

.
As you alluded to in you previous post – it’s all the NEW federal employees living in Virginia that will decide the Governor’s race.

PolAgnostic on August 29, 2013 at 3:57 PM

An Obama Clone in training!!

canopfor on August 29, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Since when did people start thinking that liberal politicians told the truth?

LincolntheHun on August 29, 2013 at 3:59 PM

To sum up: a big silly, lying sack-a-poop but definitely not a cracker. Does that about do it?

Mason on August 29, 2013 at 4:00 PM

These people are pathological — Hillary with her tails of running across a tarmac in the midst of gunfire, Obama and just about anything that comes out of his mouth, and now this tool… it’s too bad; I actually kind of like the guy despite my policy differences with him, but what an idiot.

What is it with these people?

dpduq on August 29, 2013 at 4:01 PM

ONLY when a dem strays from their talking points will they sometimes speak a truth. Otherwise, anything and everything they say is a fabrication…

Maybe Booker should be asked if T-Bone has a sister named “Julia”…

Gohawgs on August 29, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Now that I think about it, maybe T-Bone was the dude firing bullets at Hillary Clinton on that tarmac in Bosnia… Clinton/Booker ’16 !!

/

dpduq on August 29, 2013 at 4:06 PM

The dems can say anything and promise anything on the trail.I invented the internet,you can keep your plan,I did not have sex,Im no ways tarred.Most of the dem congress voted to go to Iraq then within days after the invasion none of them did.

docflash on August 29, 2013 at 4:08 PM

“Fake, but accurate” making a return to the political rhetoric?

Athos on August 29, 2013 at 3:28 PM

When did it leave? “If you like your health plan, you can keep it.”

Ed Morrissey on August 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

+1 to you, Ed!

Athos on August 29, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Booker and T-Bone… Obama and his “composite” girlfriend… Kerry and the “CIA guy” who gave him his magic hat during the make-believe trip to Cambodia…

What is it with lefties and their imaginary friends?

Hayabusa on August 29, 2013 at 4:20 PM

He’s black and a Democrat; lying is expected and encouraged by his team.

Midas on August 29, 2013 at 4:24 PM

“Fake, but accurate” making a return to the political rhetoric?

Athos on August 29, 2013 at 3:28 PM

When did it leave? “If you like your health plan, you can keep it.”

Ed Morrissey on August 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM

No, that’s simply a lie.

There’s nothing remotely ‘accurate’ about it.

Midas on August 29, 2013 at 4:25 PM

So… T-Bone is Julia’s baby daddy?

GWB on August 29, 2013 at 4:33 PM

Next up: Booker authored racist hate mail directed at Booker.

NotCoach on August 29, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Brilliant post.

ToddPA on August 29, 2013 at 4:34 PM

T-Bone, a name somewhat more interesting than Carlos Danger, and it would fit Weiner to a “T”.

TXUS on August 29, 2013 at 6:16 PM

So if he’s a part black and if he has a vague sexuality he could be unstoppable in 2024 when Biden retires after his second term.

I’m assuming of course the gop is going to be the same ineffective and enabling progressive opposition it is today.

PappyD61 on August 29, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Ineffective example of the day for the gop……..Ken Cuccineli being SEVEN points BEHIND Terry McAullife in VA gov race.

I mean if you can’t beat one of the most despicable politicians in the last 30 years….

PappyD61 on August 29, 2013 at 6:23 PM

So if Booker runs in 2024, we could be looking at Democrat control of the White House for the next 20 years.

….of course that’s assuming that we continue to have the same geniuses running the gop.

I better order my window stickers from Cafe Press early…..Booker 2024!

PappyD61 on August 29, 2013 at 6:29 PM

T-bone? Seriously.

tomas on August 29, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Is Cory’s “friend” best buds with “Richard Windsor”?

Another Drew on August 29, 2013 at 6:32 PM

So what if T-Bone is gay? What difference does it make?

Laurence on August 29, 2013 at 7:41 PM

He’ll fit right in with ChuckYou Schumer…

‘Biking through NY’s boroughs in 2005, I thought about some old friends, Joe & Eileen Bailey. Though they are imaginary, I frequently talk to them.’

- Charles Schumer

#BookerHimDanno

Resist We Much on August 29, 2013 at 8:10 PM

What is it with these new black politicians and their imaginary drug dealing best buds(no pun intended) and composite girl friends? I don’t see anything wrong with what Lonegan said, he at least sounds like a regular guy. Booker just sounds weird.

Kissmygrits on August 30, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Why does Prof Price think T Bone sounds like Memphis? That would make it more like Rib Bone.

Kissmygrits on August 30, 2013 at 8:59 AM