Booker, Paul take a selfie; talk criminal justice reform, technology and show tunes

Willie Grace | 7/10/2014, 2:59 p.m. | Updated on 7/10/2014, 2:59 p.m.
Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, and Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey discussed a wide range of topics Wednesday at ...

An unlikely political duo, Sens. Rand Paul and Cory Booker have teamed up in a bid to reform the criminal justice system for non-violent offenders.

Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, and Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey discussed a wide range of topics Wednesday at a Politico "Playbook Cocktails" event in Washington.

The focus was their proposal to overhaul the criminal justice system for nonviolent offenders.

But conversation veered to selfies, workout playlists, immigration and changes to the Republican Party.

Booker, the former mayor of Newark, said he and Paul's proposal makes economic sense.

"By reducing recidivism by 10% we could save millions for the American people," he said, also adding that the United States has more African-Americans under criminal supervision than the nation had slaves in 1850.

Paul has long been an advocate for reforming the criminal justice system, arguing that he and Booker's proposed legislation would break a vicious cycle of incarceration.

"I think once you've served your time, you should get your rights back," Paul said Thursday morning on CNN "New Day."

"I think the same for voting, and I've actually worked with the Majority Leader, Senator Harry Reid is a cosponsor of a bill with me to restore voting rights to people who have served their time," he told CNN anchor John Berman.

Attorney General Eric Holder has also pushed to remedy sentencing disparities for non-violent drug offenses.

Some lighter notes: Booker said he enjoys listening to a variety of music when running, including show tunes.

The duo said their friendship began over a love of Festivus, a quirky holiday-esqe tradition popularized in an episode of "Seinfeld" that is "celebrated" on December 23 and calls for, among other things, the airing of grievances.

Paul took part in the holiday last year. One of his complaints was that Booker, an avid social media user, did not tweet at him enough.

Paul also discussed his evolution with the popular iPhone application Snapchat. And Booker gushed about his love for "disruptive technology," like Uber, a car service application.

Both senators are high-profile national figures. Paul is seriously weighing a bid for the White House in 2016.

Asked about his frequent visits to early primary and caucus states, Paul said he's trying to broaden the Republican Party.

"I am interested in winning," he said. "Our party winning, our party getting bigger."

For more information go to