Newark Mayor Cory Booker is planning to live off food stamps for a week after challenging a follower on Twitter.
Booker, a New Jersey Democrat considered one of his party's rising stars, is a prolific user of the micro-blogging site.
On Sunday, the mayor got into a lengthy exchange on Twitter when heposted a quote from the Greek historian Plutarch: "An imbalance betweenrich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics."
What ensued was criticism that Booker was advocating aredistribution of wealth. Twitter user @MWadeNC tweeted that "nutritionis not a responsibility of the government," which caused Booker torespond that "we have a shared responsibility that kids go to schoolnutritionally ready 2 learn."
Booker then issued the food stamp challenge, which @MWadeNCaccepted. The mayor said Tuesday that he intends to start afterThanksgiving. No word yet on other details.
The University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, which is staging a foodstamp challenge in December, has offered to oversee the contest betweenBooker and his Twitter follower. Under the university's rules, $35 perperson can be spent on food during the week. That translates to $1.66per meal, according to the university's food stamp challenge page onFacebook.
New Jersey residents who qualify receive an average of $133.26 permonth in food stamps, according to U.S. Agriculture Department data.
The Twitter profile for @MWadeNC describes the user as a "Daughterof the American Revolution" who fights "against any and all forms ofsocialism/communism." The profile also says @MWadeNC is an "Armyveteran, Army daughter and Army wife."
Booker is mentioned as a possible challenger to Republican Gov.Chris Christie next year. The mayor has said that he frequently postson Twitter as a way to connect with constituents. In the aftermath ofHurricane Sandy, for example, Booker tweeted followers on where to findassistance in Newark and responded to tweets about downed power linesand other damage.
Booker, a vegetarian, also has talked on Twitter of his love affairwith guys named "Ben & Jerry," the makers of his favorite ice cream.