The Latest: Booker's uplifting language defines his message


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the announcement by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., that he’s running for president in 2020 (all times local):

3:05 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker says he wants universal health insurance coverage in the U.S. But the New Jersey senator says he doesn’t want to eliminate private insurance.

That’s one of the differences between Booker and one of his 2020 White House rivals, Sen. Kamala Harris of California.

She made headlines this week by saying she wants to expand Medicare to cover all Americans, and that could mean eliminating private health insurance plans. Such a move would be a politically difficult and represent a drastic overall to the system.

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Booker is suggesting he would back more incremental proposals that would expand Medicare, while allowing private insurers to continue to provide coverage.


2:15 p.m.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker says he want to help Americans “find common ground.”

Booker is talking to reporters in Newark hours after announcing his plans to run for president. He says the nation needs more “grace” and “less judgment” from its leadership.

The uplifting rhetoric has defined Booker’s message Friday. It stands in contrast to some other Democratic contenders who have entered the race promising a scrappy, direct fight against President Donald Trump.

Booker suggested he knows his message may not resonate with some Democratic voters. But, he says, “love ain’t easy.”


11:50 a.m.

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U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is appealing to Americans to come together from their partisan corners as he launches his 2020 presidential candidacy.

The New Jersey Democrat appeared live on “The View” on Friday, telling its hosts that he is running as a counterweight to “a caustic type of politics” that threatens to divide the country.

Booker did not specifically call out President Donald Trump as the source of that “cancer in our country right now.” When asked what his party would do to fight the Trump administration’s detention of immigrant children, he struck a note of unity and said: “The question is not what the Democrats do. The question is what we do,” referring to all Americans.

Booker is a former mayor of Newark, New Jersey’s largest city. He joins multiple other candidates of color in a diverse Democratic primary field. He was first elected to the Senate in 2013 and won re-election to a full term in 2014.


10:15 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker has begun reaching out to key constituencies in his 2020 presidential bid.

The New Jersey Democrat announced his candidacy on Friday and followed that up by calling in to three radio shows popular with black and Hispanic listeners.

Booker spoke in fluent Spanish during his interview with Univision, vowing to work closely with “the Latino community.” In another interview he discussed his support for marijuana legalization.

Booker is a former mayor of Newark, New Jersey’s largest city. He’s the second black candidate in a primary field that’s already historically diverse. He says he wants to unite a deeply polarized nation around a “common purpose.”

Booker will be a Friday guest on “The View,” a TV talk show popular with female viewers. His mother plans to sit in the audience.


7:05 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is running for president in 2020.

The New Jersey Democrat made the announcement Friday in a video message to supporters, emphasizing a return to American unity in an era of deep political divisions.

Booker enters a crowded presidential primary field that includes three of his fellow senators and could soon include three more. The 49-year-old visited Iowa and New Hampshire in October, an early indication of his intentions to challenge President Donald Trump.

Booker is a former Newark mayor. He won a special election to the Senate in 2013 and won a full term in 2014. He will be able to run for a second Senate term in 2020 as well as run for president thanks to a law that New Jersey’s governor signed in November.

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