Cory Booker speaks to press in Newark after announcing presidential bid

By Grace Segers

/ CBS News

CBSN

Sen. Cory Booker is speaking with reporters outside of his Newark, New Jersey, home on Friday afternoon, hours after he announced his presidential bid. Booker served as mayor of Newark from 2006 through 2013.

"We need to have leaders in this country who understand what patriotism means, and patriotism means love of country, and you can't love your country if you don't love your countrymen," Booker said. He emphasized his focus on love in his campaign, even while he could possible face the abrasive President Trump in the 2020 election.

Booker also addressed one of the key issues during the race, health care, saying he would not get rid of all private insurance even as he supports universal health care.

Booker posted a video to his Twitter account Friday morning launching his campaign, and discussed his decision in a series of radio and television interviews afterwards.

"I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame," Booker said in his launch video.

Booker has made a name for himself in recent years as a vocal progressive in the Senate and on the Judiciary Committee. His campaign is rejecting contributions from corporate PACs and federal lobbyists, but he does have a history accepting PAC and corporate contributions in previous races.

Unlike some of his fellow Democrats in the ever-widening primary field, including his Senate colleague and friend Kirsten Gillibrand, Booker launched his campaign without an exploratory phase. He is the second black candidate to join the race, after Kamala Harris jumped in on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Booker launched his campaign on Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month.

Booker is the fourth senator to announce that he is running or has launched an exploratory committee, after Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Gillibrand and Harris. Sen. Bernie Sanders is also mulling a presidential bid.

First published on February 1, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Segers

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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