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Cory Booker stumps for old classmate Garcetti in South L.A.

February 27, 2013 |  6:41 am

Newark Mayor Cory Booker in January at the Southwest Michigan First Catalyst 2013 in Kalamazoo, Mich. Credit: Mark Bugnaski / Associated Press

The volunteers crowded in Eric Garcetti’s South Los Angeles campaign office were phoning voters Tuesday night when the candidate walked in and asked them to stop. He had a guest to introduce.

Fresh off a plane, Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker asked the volunteers to work hard to help elect Garcetti mayor in next week's primary election. As an incentive, he jokingly offered free parking if they ever visit Newark.

Booker, a national Democratic Party darling and likely candidate for U.S. Senate, is in town this week for an education summit. He told the volunteers he decided to stop by the campaign office because he is “a 20-year-veteran of ‘Team Garcetti.’”

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The politicians met as Rhodes Scholars at Oxford in the mid-1990s, long before either ran for office. Booker said Garcetti was “one of the good guys” and a strong leader who inspires others. He said the mayoral race is one of the most important elections in the nation.

“This city is a symbol of what can happen, what should happen," he said.

Garcetti returned the praise, calling Booker an inspiration and jokingly comparing him to Superman. Booker, after all, has earned a reputation for heroic deeds, including last year’s rescue of a neighbor from a burning building.

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That pluckiness was on display Tuesday. When a large Garcetti banner fell suddently from a wall, Booker instantly climbed onto a chair and pinned it back up.

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-- Kate Linthicum

twitter.com/katelinthicum

Photo: Newark Mayor Cory Booker in January at the Southwest Michigan First Catalyst 2013 in Kalamazoo, Mich. Credit: Mark Bugnaski / Associated Press

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