Cory Booker, the senator from Barack Obama

Booker’s the rare example of Obama advancing the larger cause of African-American political success beyond himself. He’s also the rare example of the Obama campaign apparatus activating for anyone other than the president himself. Many politicians helped get Obama elected and reelected, but Booker was the first one to have the team truly reach back down to help one of those people in return…

They don’t have the same simpatico relationship that Obama enjoys with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the almost fraternity brother dynamic he shares with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), or the odd-couple personal connection he has with Oklahoma GOP Sen. Tom Coburn. People who’ve been in conversations with the president say that by contrast, Obama is sometimes put off by Booker’s showmanship, and gets impatient when the Newark mayor goes off message…

“Cory both has a good relationship with the president and shows that he can work with Republicans, and that is just what the president needs right now to move his agenda forward. So I think he’ll play a very significant and helpful role to the president,” said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the chamber’s third-ranking Democrat. “It matters. The fact that he has a personal relationship with the president means when he talks to Republicans, they know that he can get the message through.”

Booker’s potential among Democrats is arguably even greater. Plans are already being made to run him all around the country for fundraisers and rallies, for next year’s midterms and beyond. And senators facing next year’s tough midterm map know well that the best way to get a favor is to do a favor: If Booker decides to channel some of that appeal into rallying votes for Obama priorities, he’s got a chance to become the kind of power broker Obama has never really had in the Senate.