Booker defends Twitter exchange with Portland stripper

Newark Mayor and senate candidate Cory Booker, back to camera center, answers questions from media in Newark, N.J., Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. Booker says the disclosure that he messaged with a stripper isn't going to change anything about how he uses Twitter. The Democratic mayor of Newark, N.J., told reporters Thursday he communicates with thousands of people on Twitter and doesn't pay attention to their handles or profession. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Newark Mayor and senate candidate Cory Booker, back to camera center, answers questions from media in Newark, N.J., Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. Booker says the disclosure that he messaged with a stripper isn't going to change anything about how he uses Twitter. The Democratic mayor of Newark, N.J., told reporters Thursday he communicates with thousands of people on Twitter and doesn't pay attention to their handles or profession. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker says the disclosure that he messaged with a stripper isn’t going to change anything about how he uses Twitter.

Booker told reporters Thursday that he communicates with thousands of people on Twitter and doesn’t pay attention to their handles or profession.

“When somebody like this person extends kindness my way,” Booker said, “I respond in kind.”

Booker, 44, exchanged direct messages earlier this year with Lynsie Lee, who works at a vegan strip club called Casa Diablo in Portland, Ore.

Lee provided a screenshot of the exchange Wednesday to the website BuzzFeed.

In the messages, Lee told Booker the West Coast loved him. Booker, who is single, said the East Coast loves her, “and by the East Coast, I mean me.” Lee responded she was blushing. Booker replied “it’s only fair.”

Booker, the Democratic mayor of Newark and a prolific Twitter user, is running in a special Senate election that is less than three weeks away.

An early Twitter adopter, Booker has 1.4 million followers and uses the social media site constantly, engaging followers from New Jersey and around the country.

“I don’t study people’s profiles,” he said. “I tweet people back from all different backgrounds. It’s not something I pay attention to.”

Lee did not return an email seeking comment.

She told a Portland television station that she had never met Booker. She and the mayor both appeared in a documentary about Twitter.

She told the TV station her message to Booker was: “I just hope this doesn’t hurt your political career, because I’m rooting for you. And, you can take me out to dinner any time.”

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Associated Press writer Angela Delli Santi in Trenton contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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