2020 Dem. Hopeful Dodges Actual Policy Questions, Focuses on Manafort Instead

What does it say about a presidential hopeful when he openly evades questions about policies?

Sen. Cory Booker, a Democratic presidential hopeful from New Jersey, did just that on Friday’s “The Late Show.”

Booker successfully avoided host Stephen Colbert’s attempt to get the senator to talk about policies. Instead, Booker denounced former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

“Let’s talk about some specific policies that have been thrown out by the new Democrats in Congress,” Colbert said about 10 minutes into the interview.

“Can I just say one thing?” Booker said, cutting Colbert off.  “Because this news came out about Paul Manafort and I’m really ticked off about this.”

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Manafort was sentenced earlier this week to 47 months in prison for bank and tax fraud, as well as failing to declare a foreign bank account. Manafort’s sentence was much shorter than the 19-24 years the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommended for him.

Colbert didn’t press Booker to stick to the subject of Democratic policies.

“One of my friends says that we have a criminal justice system that treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent,” Booker continued.

“And there are people from neighborhoods like mine in America who get convictions for doing things that two of the last three presidents have admitted to doing,” he said.

Do you think Booker was trying to avoid policy questions?

“In our country, we prey upon the most vulnerable citizens in our nation; poor folks, mentally ill folks, addicted folks, and overwhelmingly black and brown folks.”

“Were you shocked that he only got 47 months?” Colbert asked.

“No, this criminal justice system can’t surprise me anymore,” Booker replied.

When Colbert had asked him earlier why he was a better presidential candidate than his fellow Democratic hopefuls, Booker didn’t make a very strong case.

Instead, Booker seemed more interested in joking about how he and another Democratic senator running for president, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, have a “sibling rivalry.”

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While Colbert’s interview seemed designed to give Booker room to argue his positions, Booker failed to say anything substantive about his presidential qualifications.

During the interview, he didn’t mention one single concrete policy he’d bring to the White House.

Instead of taking the interview as an opportunity to explain and defend his policies, Booker appeared intent on simply repeating platitudes.

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Karista Baldwin studied constitutional law, politics and criminal justice at the University of Dallas and the University of Texas at Dallas.
Karista Baldwin has studied constitutional law, politics and criminal justice at the University of Dallas and the University of Texas at Dallas. Before college, she was a lifelong homeschooler in the "Catholic eclectic" style.
Presidential Scholarship at the University of Dallas
Dallas, Texas
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