(PHILADELPHIA) — This is probably not how Sen. Frank Lautenberg expected things to go down.
The New Jersey Democrat, who turns 89 on Wednesday, hasn’t said whether he’ll run for reelection in 2014. In the meantime, popular Newark Mayor Cory Booker has filed papers to explore a run for the Democratic nomination, perhaps assuming that Lautenberg is ready to retire.
Previously, some aides of Lautenberg’s told Politico that Booker’s presumptuousness was disrespectful to a sitting senator from his own party.
And in an interview with philly.com, Lautenberg is finally speaking out about the controversy, acknowledging that Booker is “entitled” to run for his seat, then adding sarcastically that the mayor will “have to stand on his record and I’m sure he won’t be a lone soldier out there drooling at the mouth and wanting this cushy job that we have here.”
Lautenberg then took a not-so veiled swipe at his potential rival by saying, “I have four children, I love each one of them. I can’t tell you that one of them wasn’t occasionally disrespectful, so I gave them a spanking and everything was OK.”
As for the immediate future, the senator told philly.com, “I’ve got a lot of work to do yet, serious things and we pride ourselves (in) my office and my team (on) getting things done. That’s the focus. I’m not thinking about the politics right now.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio