Lots of people slammed Castro for suggesting Biden was forgetful. Not Cory Booker.

Posted Sep 13, 2019

Julian Castro’s attempted takedown of Joe Biden during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate didn’t sit well with other candidates and plenty of political pundits.

Cory Booker isn’t one of them.

“There’s a lot of people who are concerned about Joe Biden’s ability to carry the ball all the way across the end line without fumbling,” Booker said after the debate on CNN.

“And I think that Castro had some really legitimate concerns about, can he be someone in a long grueling campaign that can get the ball over the line, and has every right to call that out.”

Castro drew groans from the debate audience in Houston when he suggested that Biden’s memory was failing him and that he couldn’t remember a statement he had just made about his health care plan, which would expand the Affordable Care Act.

“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Castro said. “Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago?"

It turned out, however, that Biden accurately recounted what he had said.

Castro insisted that he was only talking about health care, not insinuating that Biden at age 76 was too old to be president.

It drew instant criticism. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who was on the debate stage, told CNN it felt “like something Donald Trump would tweet out.”

Democratic consultant Peter Fenn said Castro “was wrong, he was out of line and it was a cheap shot.”

Booker on Friday said Biden was not too old to be president, though acknowledging that he tended to ramble and not stay on point. He mentioned how Biden made a reference to record players during the debate.

“At one point, he’s talking about communities like mine listening to record players,” Booker said. “I don’t remember the last time I saw a record player. But there are definitely moments where you listen to Joe Biden and you just wonder.”

Booker and Biden tangled in the July debate, with the Jersey senator criticizing his stance on racial issues and the vice president blasting Booker’s record as Newark mayor. There was no such confrontation between the two in Thursday’s debate.

“I believe the people who win in our party, who actually go on to be president, first of all, they’re never the ones who are polling ahead this far out,” Booker said. “They showed the ability to inspire, to ignite, and you see these incredible, almost movement-like elections. I’m not sure Joe Biden can do that.”

As for Biden, "criticisms of him are not in any way demeaning or diminishing an extraordinary statesman in America who’s been at this for decades and decades,” Booker said.

But how you attack someone could cause a problem, he said.

“I do think the tone and tenor is really important,” he said. “We shouldn’t do things that at end of this, when you demonize somebody and create bad blood, it’s hard to unify afterwards.”

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