The Washington Post reported it back in August. Jake Tapper confirmed it last night, as my colleague Perry Stein points out. Cory Booker, the media-darling Newark mayor who was elected to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, is moving to Anacostia.
What great news for a city that’s a residence in name only to most of our members of Congress, who never set foot in the majority of a city whose operations they shut down when they don’t like an unrelated health care law. What a boost to a neighborhood with a struggling reputation that can’t seem to keep its small number of restaurants open.
Except that Booker has never actually mentioned Anacostia. The words have been put in his mouth not once, but twice, by reporters who are weirdly enamored with the idea.
Case #1: The Post.
Booker, who left D.C. as an infant for a wealthy Jersey suburb, says he is going to call attention to the plight of the District’s disadvantaged by living in a part of Washington “consistent with the choices of my lifetime” (read Anacostia).
What? OK, let’s try CNN’s Tapper. Last night I received an email from a Turner Broadcasting publicist with the subject line: “Cory Booker tells CNN’s Jake Tapper, ‘Absolutely. I will be down there now that I won, taking a good look about where to live…’ about moving to area like Anacostia in Washington.”
Let’s review the transcript:
TAPPER: You have lived in public housing in New Jersey to raise awareness on poverty issues and crime issues. Where do you think you will live in Washington, D.C.? Will you consider moving to a disadvantaged neighborhood like Anacostia?
BOOKER: Absolutely. I will be down there now that I won, taking a good look about where to live. … At the end of the day, I really savor living in neighborhoods where there’s great people struggling to make America real for all Americans. And I just want to be in a neighborhood in D.C. that keeps me focused on the urgencies that I’m fighting for. … I’m not sure where I’ll live in D.C. but I’ll look at the whole city. … So I’m looking forward to being a part of that community in the days that I’m down there and spending actually as much time as I can back in New Jersey.
Not only does Booker not mention Anacostia, he says he’ll “look at the whole city” and spend as much time as he can in New Jersey—-which, let’s remember, is the jurisdiction he’s actually been elected to represent.
So before you get too excited, Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry, let’s remember that Booker was only elected two days ago and hasn’t begun his search for a home. He could end up in Anacostia, or he could pick any of the many other struggling neighborhoods in town. Or he could decide that much as he’d like to stick to his principles, the two-minute commute from, say, a Capitol Hill group house is too good to pass up.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons