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U.S. Senator Cory Booker singing Bohemian Rhapsody with students in Sioux City, Iowa, tonight after a town hall event on April 15, 2019.

Booker looks to make a social media moment

Candidate sings Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ to handful students

By Nikita Biryukov, April 16 2019 12:36 pm

The ghost of Queen frontman Freddy Mercury could help U.S. Sen. Cory Booker win the Democratic nod to take on President Donald Trump, but only if he gets enough retweets.

The aspiring presidential candidate was captured singing along to a 1992 performance of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Elton John and Guns and Roses frontman Axl Rose made in honor of Mercury, who had died from complications related to AIDS a few months earlier.

“Now look at the whole crowd, just like watch the crowd the next crowd shot, look at them throb like that. Imagine you were there — 100,000 people on their feet going crazy. Look at them just shake up and down,” Booker told the students. “Isn’t that amazing?”

The interaction itself won’t help Booker much in the polls.  A Monmouth poll released last week had him in eighth place in Iowa, where 3% of voters said New Jersey’s junior senator was their first choice to take on Trump.

That puts him well behind frontrunners U.S. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, who polled at 16% and 27%, respectively, but the moment plays to one of Booker’s longstanding strengths — his social media savvy.

Booker’s interaction with the Sioux City students was tweeted out by reporters on the campaign trail and was picked up by some news outlets, including ABC News, extending the reach of the feel-good moment well past the three students flanking Booker as he sang bits of the song.

The senator’s use of social media dates back to the nascence of Twitter. During a 2010 snowstorm, Booker, then mayor of Newark, personally responded to a tweet asking for the city to help a 65-year-old man shovel his driveway.

He arrived at the man’s home with a team of volunteers, and the moment was picked up by national outlets. A second incident, this one in 2006, during which Booker and his security team chased down and apprehended a mugger also made its way into national news outlets.

Booker has kept up the strategy through his tenure in the Senate, including with his so-called “Spartacus moment” during now U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation last year.

It appears Booker is leaning on a similar strategy in the early days of his Justice for All Tour, hoping to expand the influence of the five stops he made or will make in Iowa Monday and Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Booker will head to Georgia for a townhall-style event in Atlanta.

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