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Pallone cites 'progressive' values, jabs Booker

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    On the first full day of the U.S. Senate primary campaign, Rep. Frank Pallone jabbed his chief opponent by tying him to the frontrunner in the fall's other statewide election.


    "One of the criticisms I have of Cory Booker is he has this very close relationship with Gov. Christie and it hasn't resulted in anything positive, in my opinion," Pallone said, speaking on WNYC's Brian Lehrer show this morning.

    Pallone, who defines himself as a progressive Democrat, said the Newark mayor ought to lobby Christie on behalf of progressive causes.

    "I don't quite understand why Cory Booker is so close to the governor and isn't actually trying to push him toward things like passing the minimum wage and marriage equality," Pallone said.

    The 13-term congressman said he's agreed not to go negative in the campaign, but he said he won't shy away from drawing contrasts between himself and his opponents.

    Polls show Booker far in front of the Democratic field, which includes Pallone, Rep. Rush Holt, and Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver.

    Pallone mostly stuck to substance in his interview with Lehrer. In addition to voicing his support for raising the minimum wage, Pallone also touched on a number of issues of importance to the business community.
    • - On his role in passing President Obama's Affordable Care Act: "Now everyone, or almost everyone, will have health insurance and they'll have a good policy."
    • - On Hurricane Sandy: "We have to address greenhouse gases and I think that, you know, I'm the type of person who has a history of dealing with problems like that and trying to convince not only other Democrats but also Republicans that we need to do something about it."
    • - On renewable energy incentives: "If we're ever going to achieve energy independence… we do have to move toward renewables."
    • - On the Keystone XL Pipeline: "I'm concerned about the Keystone Pipeline, so I have taken a position largely against it, or at least to have more studies be done, because I think that it has potential problems."
    • - On the national debt: "I think the government has to do more to invest in infrastructure, in education, in research and development. And that's one of the ways we create jobs. The deficit is out there, but I don't think it's the priority right now."

    Listen to the full interview at WNYC.org.
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