Booker is latest gaffe-prone campaign surrogate

By BETH FOUHY | May 21, 2012 | 5:28 PM EDT

FILE - In this April 13, 2012 file photo, Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker speaks in Newark. Booker, an Obama ally, is the latest politician in damage-control mode in a presidential race already noteworthy for the informal spokespeople who veer wildly off message. His criticism of “nauseating” ads like the Obama campaign attack on Mitt Romney's business record illustrates the difficulty of controlling the message. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Add Newark Mayor Cory Booker to the list of people who speak for the presidential candidates, and then veer wildly off message.

Booker on Sunday criticized President Barack Obama's campaign for attacking Republican Mitt Romney's tenure at a private equity firm. The Democrat and Obama supporter told NBC News he found the attacks "nauseating."

Booker's comment illustrated the difficulty candidates face controlling their message. It also raised questions about whether campaigns should be held responsible for what their supporters say or do.

Republicans have insisted that Obama repudiate comments by talk-show host Bill Maher and Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen about Romney's wife, Ann.

Romney's had his own problems with so-called "surrogates." His campaign distanced itself from Ted Nugent after the rocker made provocative comments about Obama.