Newark, New Jersey — It was just a joke. But not to Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, NJ.
In September, talk show host Conan O’Brien dissed the mayor’s attempt at city-wide health reform.
O’Brien said Booker’s plan consisted of a bus ticket out of Newark.
Booker wasn’t phased and went straight to YouTube.
“We all can take a joke—but Newark is no joke,” Booker said. “I’m hoping more and more people discover the truth of who we are.”
And in what has been a series of video responses to O’Brien’s jokes, Booker has found his niche online.
He banned O’Brien from Newark Airport and then the entire state of New Jersey. O’Brien followed suit, banning the mayor from Burbank Airport and the state of California.
Booker’s videos have attracted hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. He has also made his mark on other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
With more than 835,000 followers on Twitter, Booker is the fourth most popular politician on the social media site. Only President Obama, Sen. John McCain and Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco have more followers.
“Newarkers know they can go to my Facebook page, my Twitter and see what their mayor is up to every week,” Booker said. “I think it’s a part of where American politics are going.”
The feud with O’Brien has given Booker a chance to promote his city on a national scale—he will be a guest, Friday.
Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has weighed in on the controversy.
“The time for peace is now,” Clinton said of the two’s feud.