Newark Mayor and senate candidate Cory Booker listens to a question in Newark,… (Mel Evans / Associated Press )
Could you call it a scandal? It's not exactly clear who is outraged. But Lynsie Lee, a Portland, Ore., stripper who once exchanged private Twitter messages with Senate candidate Cory Booker of New Jersey, is enjoying the attention while it lasts.
“I just had this 'Inside Edition' female say, 'Are you on something? You seem so happy,' ” Lee, 26, told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview Thursday, after fielding calls from a flock of curious journalists. "They’ve been waking me up since 3 a.m."
The story is basically this: On Wednesday a BuzzFeed reporter -- perhaps with sextually challenged New York politico Anthony Weiner on the brain -- posted a story about Lee exchanging private messages with Booker, the bachelor mayor of Newark, N.J.
"Not safe for work, unless you work at Newark City Hall," the BuzzFeed reporter gushed, then glued several nude photos of Lee into the very-not-safe-for-work story.
The private exchange with Booker, tweeted by Lee, was in February, after the mayor had done some characteristically goofy Twitter bantering with his followers.
Booker tweeted to his followers that he wanted to be president of New Jersey's Star Trek club. Lee, who works at a vegan strip club in Portland, publicly tweeted at the ambitious mayor, "if you're ever POTUS I call dibs on First Lady."
Which is supposedly when the trouble begins...?
"And The East Coast loves you and by the East Coast, I mean me," Booker is shown privately responding to Lee, who replied, "Well now I'm blushing. :)"
Twenty-three hours later, Booker responded, "It's only fair."
"The occasional perils of [Booker's] reliance on the social media service became evident on Wednesday when a 26-year-old stripper from Oregon revealed her private online correspondence with him," the New York Times wrote Wednesday night -- not quite making clear what those perils were supposed to be, since Booker is single, no pictures were exchanged, and no sex happened.
“It’s not a sex scandal!" Lee told the Los Angeles Times. "I just happen to be sexy, and that’s the scandal.”
At various points throughout a phone interview, she described the attention as "pointless," "hilarious" and "crazy," adding that there weren't any other private exchanges.
Booker's campaign gamely downplayed the incident.
"The only mildly surprising thing about this story is the news that there’s a vegan strip club in Portland," the campaign said in a statement, which, considering Portland, actually isn't even mildly surprising.
"Some people think, 'Stripper': Raunchy! Nasty! Dirty! Dumb!" Lee told the Los Angeles Times. "But in Portland, the girls here are different. For me, I’m educated, I’m smart, I just happen to enjoy my sexuality, and I’m a single mother, so part of my job is that I get to flaunt things that I don’t get to in daily life.”
Lee added, “I dance with girls who have their master's, some who have their doctorates. We are intelligent women, and we actually care a lot about politics. And since we make money, we care about where our contributions go. We do pay taxes."
Booker, she said, seems "great," which is why she said she would "feel horrible if this affects him negatively."
“I’m the vulgar one! He’s completely innocent," Lee said, adding that she could have said "something bad" in response to his message if she really wanted to get him into trouble.
Though Lee added of Booker, with a giggle and a bit of guile, “I knew I’d never get a picture."
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