Christie Acting Like a Presidential Candidate in TV Interviews

New Jersey's governor faced a barrage of questions designed to test his suitability for another role: presidential candidate

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Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME

Days after coasting to re-election, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faced a barrage of questions Sunday designed to test his suitability for another role: presidential candidate.

In appearances on four of the Sunday political talk shows, Christie was asked about a range of national issues that have little to do with governing the Garden State, from his temperament to his moderate positions on gun control and immigration reform. He also weighed in on the controversy surrounding his appearance on this week’s cover of TIME. The usually candid Christie, who is widely expected to run for president in 2016, instead chose to follow the standard playbook for early front-runners in the national spotlight: first, do no harm.

On Fox News Sunday, the knives were out for Christie with a “lightning round” of questions designed to test his acceptability to a skeptical conservative base. The governor sidestepped questions from host Chris Wallace about his support for immigration reform, saying vaguely: “What I favor is fixing a broken system.” On guns, Christie pivoted to his focus on addressing mental-health issues. And after months of sparring with his party’s Tea Party contingent, including Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, Christie tried to remain above the fray. “You know what, Chris? What I’m not going to get into is the Washington, D.C., game that you’re trying to get me into,” he said. “I’m the governor of New Jersey.”

Christie returned again to his current job to make the case that his famously brash temperament could keep him out of the White House. “Listen, I’m the governor of New Jersey, and if you don’t think that being governor of New Jersey tries your patience, then you haven’t spent enough time in my state, Chris,” he quipped. “I am absolutely confident in my own ability to lead, and obviously so are 61% of the people in the state of New Jersey who re-elected me on Tuesday night.”

On NBC’s Meet the Press, Christie refused to be categorized as a “conservative” or “moderate” at host David Gregory’s prodding. “Listen, I don’t get into these labels,” he said. “Judge me by my record. That, I’m very, very comfortable with.” And he used the question as an opportunity to position himself outside of the Washington scrum, saying: “All the labels — that’s for the folks down in Washington, D.C., and obviously, they love playing that game, but the people of America aren’t interested in that game, and I think given the approval ratings in Washington, they’ve shown that.”

On CBS’s Face the Nation, host Norah O’Donnell challenged Christie on his weakest point: foreign policy. Asked about negotiations to end Iran’s nuclear-weapons program shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on the show, Christie said it would be inappropriate for him to comment until there is an agreement in place.

“I’m the governor of New Jersey,” he said. “And I think there are a lot of people you could have and probably will have on the program who are significantly better briefed on this than I am. And I think when guys like me start to shoot off on opinions about this kind of stuff, it’s really ill-advised. So I’ll leave it to Secretary Kerry and the folks that are in charge of this to made decisions about where we go. And then once they put something together, if they do, then I’ll make a judgment on that. But it’s just — I’m not the right person to be asking that question to, with all due respect.”

The answer neatly sidestepped a political landmine, but also leaves questions about his preparedness to handle the nation’s foreign policy.

On ABC’s This Week, Christie addressed questions about his personal background raised in a new book about the 2012 campaign, saying of the vetting issues that reportedly kept him from being Mitt Romney’s running mate, “First off, political advice from people who ran the Romney campaign is probably something nobody should really give a darn about.” He continued that he’s not afraid of his past and should he run, he expects it to be thoroughly picked over. “All these issues have been vetted. And if I ever run for anything again, they’ll be vetted again. If you’re in public life, that’s what you have to understand.”

MORE: Chris Christie Was Born to Run

63 comments
grape_crush
grape_crush

It's 2013, folks. Gonna be a couple of years before any campaign is in full swing.

We've had how many articles since Obama was re-elected about who the next set of candidates will be? I know this is a parlor game popular with the political media, but there's so many other things that are more worthy of attention than whatever is than the who's the Dem or Repub flavor of the month.

Enough, already.

TyPollard
TyPollard

The biggest problem facing any Republican candidate is their base. 

They are a sanity and civility repellent.

therealdude
therealdude

It's true, he could be the GOP's strongest candidate in 2016. BUT...he will never ever, ever win the primary in this era of Republican politics. It's as simple as that.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

As a NJ Republican, I will not vote for Chris Christie if he runs for President.  The man is a two-faced blowhard, who pretends to stand up for "principles," but instead 'votes with the political weather vane.'  

Also, his pompous Jersey Shore attitude becomes wearisome after a while, and I wish he would stop giving our state - supposedly, The Garden State - a bad name.

Openminded1
Openminded1

Smart answers, very candid guy. So far so good. A man for all people not just blacks and libs. Be careful Hillary.

reallife
reallife

@TyPollard the only ones worried about the "Republican base" are democrats.

I can smell the fear


LOL

Openminded1
Openminded1

@TyPollard The most refined people in america are Republicans. You been to the hood lately Ty, or the bario's of major cities, or to some of the white trailer trash parks, many civil and sane folks there. moron.

jmac
jmac

@MementoMori  He's already backed off on immigration reform.   You can't be sane and honest  and run on the Republican ticket - the crazies will make sure of that.   

cent-fan
cent-fan

@therealdude Although I would say of the Republican candidates that actually ran with enough money support to go the distance McCain and Romney were the only ones that had a shot in the general.  They got metaphorically pummeled because of Palin and 47% and it remains to be seen how far right into the minefield Christie will have to go to come out the other side without damage.

Well, now that I think about it, he doesn't have a prayer...

jerzygurl135
jerzygurl135

@mrbomb13 Yeah...You're a republican just like I'm Nancy Pelosi. Get a life you whiner.

MementoMori
MementoMori

@Openminded1

A man for all people not just blacks and libs.

I really hope that Christie's campaign uses that on its bumper stickers.

drudown
drudown

@Openminded1 

Smart, huh?

You actually thought it was "smart" of Christie to dispense such hypocritical "advice" to President Obama about "being cute" over some fabricated "misrepresentation" that any simpleton knows is a fraud. Of course people cannot keep "non-conforming Health Care policies"…duh.

Otherwise the "reform" (e.g., covering preexisting conditions) wouldn't be binding "reform" now would it? 

Still though.

How can Christie- or ANY member of the GOP- have the sheer audacity to talk about "being cute" when Sen. Lindsay Graham seems to think United States Senators can individually "hold up" the Founding Fathers' "Advice and Consent" function of the government on account of, what, his/her own personal Whim?

I really find it more than just "being cute" for the SAME declarant and, indeed, GOP making the Congress take the equivalent of judicial notice of the absolute necessity of a "strict construction" of the Constitution only to, what, "make up" the Benghazi Amendment? That the Senate- indeed, according to Sen. Graham- he ALONE has the Despotic Power to "hold up all judicial nominees" until, what, he "decides" to allow the Founding Fathers' Appointment Power to function. 

(enter He-Man music and voice "I have the POWER")

I hope every voter realizes that the GOP- by sanctioning such pre-meditated subversions of LAWFUL procedure- has declared jihad on Democracy. 

"Don't be cute"?

Talk about hypocrisy.

This "filibuster" device is just an IED in the People's face. 

Every day is continues to prevent Democracy on the merits…Lady Liberty is disgraced.

"To go beyond is often more wrong than to fall short." - Confucius

All you have…is racist slurs and a lack of measured wit. 

So address the merits and be done with it.


sacredh
sacredh

@Openminded1, I also think Christie is the biggest threat to Hillary. Whether Christie can survive the primary season with the GOP base is the big question. 

buffalo.barnes102
buffalo.barnes102

@reallife @TyPollard 

Fear of what? A party so divided and squabbling amongst itself over who's more of a "Patriot"? Who to exclude next? "Am I religious enough?" All we have to do is watch as the GOP implodes.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@Openminded1 @TyPollard 

How's the hood any different from most trailer parks?

The 'hood' is a sign of poverty, no different from a trailer park full of red state white folks.

Given how ignorant the GOP base acts lately that 'refined' pedigree you're talking about isn't so much who they vote for but their personal integrity. And we're not talking about haters. They got none.

barneydidit
barneydidit

@Openminded1 @TyPollard So Mitt Romney, who has no problem moving tens of thousands of jobs overseas so that he can have a car elevator in his garage is "civil", but a Democrat living in the "Hood", where daily existence is difficult has an attitude problem?  Oh...BTW..."moron" says the Republican telling us that most refined people in America are Republicans. 

reallife
reallife

@jmac @MementoMori "You can't be sane and honest  and run on the Republican ticket"

as opposed to that pillar of honesty and integrity that is the Democratic party, especially its supreme leader

LOL

sacredh
sacredh

@jerzygurl135, I don't doubt it at all. Many republicans look at Christie as nothing more than a RINO.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@MementoMori @Openminded1 No he is to smart for that and not a racist, like Obama. I on the other hand I can say what i please even if it bothers you silly wimp libs.

mjshep
mjshep

@Openminded1 I am not a republican. I have even voted for a Democrat once, it was a mistake.

It's as if you are making fun of yourself. Do you even realize how foolish and silly you sound? I thought not.

buffalo.barnes102
buffalo.barnes102

@Openminded1 

Your blanket assumptions about who or what I am, just because I disagree with you, are typical of the "I'm white; I'm right" mindset of the GOP or like-minded conservative. I too vote across the board as to who knows "sh*t from Shinola". Bleeding heart? Wrong again. And Charles Manson looks sane compared to Ted Cruz.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@buffalo.barnes102 @Openminded1 @TyPollard As I have said many times buffalo chip, I am not a republican, I vote for the best person in my mind who will be best for this country. I have even voted democratic once, it was a mistake, but that is life. On like you i do not vote along any party lines. you bleeding hearts will vote for any democrat , even if Charlie Manson was able to run for public office.  

Openminded1
Openminded1

@MrObvious @Openminded1 @TyPollard I think i mentioned that about trailer park trash and the hood. You live in a tunnel with a chip on your shoulder and you have a this thing where you you have a need to defend your fellow libs  like they are your children.                                    

Openminded1
Openminded1

@barneydidit @Openminded1 @TyPollard I do not give a rat's ass about the mormon Mitt, but he is not here on earth to help the folks in the hood. he has is own family to take care of. I am sure he donates to good causes. His wealth is his business, he can buy what ever he wants with his money. Just like Ted kennedy and is family did, they even bought the presidency once. 

jmac
jmac

@reallife @jmac @MementoMori  You can ignore what your party has become, realife, but you can't ignore Republicans have lost the last five presidential elections (Bush jr didn't get the popular vote the first time) and you lost seats in the House and Senate in the last election.

I agree, it's hilarious.   Keep up the good work. 

drudown
drudown

@mrbomb13 @jerzygurl135 

(enter sobbing housewife) "you've already judged me??!"

[robots gasp in contrived disbelief]

Why don't you spare us the contrived spat. 

How's this: given the recent devastation in the Philippines, isn't it true that such a dramatic, "real world" example of Nature's Wrath unequivocally proves the self-evident absurdity of the entire "Libertarian" mantra of "government is the problem"?

Remember that game we played, robots? It's called "What If".

"What if" an even greater storm someday slams into Texas or Florida in a few weeks? What *&%$-ing "good" comes out of feeling, human beings having to, what, "look to the private sector" to clear roads and rebuild infrastructure? THAT IS OUR GOVERNMENT'S DUTY and I think everybody has had enough of this treasonous "let's destroy the government that was designed to serve us as an ox and cart as we not so subtly try to grand its functioning to a halt and dissolve it apart".

Why on Earth would Americans want that? Why would Americans hate one another? Why would partisan identification matter more than one's Nation and fellow man?

How utterly treasonous then, is the GOP "no new taxes, ever" mantra? That is, when LIVING, HUMAN BEINGS that voted the Congress to ACT AS A SINGLE GOVERNMENT BODY do not yet have the BENEFIT of their bargain? Conspicuously, you PR Brigade types just talk about the most inane or "personal" aspects of the members of Congress- I mean, who CARES whether Christie is a RINO or a "true conservative" blah blah blah

Why don't you just clear it up.

Why is relevant? Why does ANY elected official's real, overstated or feigned "ideological make up" matter any more than it does to a doctor, lawyer, professional fiduciary or financial advisor? People in public office are there to perform functions not act as some high partisan priest in some perverse Scientology experiment gone mad.  

Just this: if the Congress CANNOT even fulfill its basic FUNCTIONS…what "good" is a Congress of (for arguments sake) "the most liberal" or "the most conservative" or "the most principled" blah blah blah

…if the People's DUE PROCESS RIGHTS to a STRONG and SOLVENT Government, Military, Police/EMT/Fire/FBI/CIA is not taken care of?

Enough of this BS that the People of EITHER partisan identification want and deserve anything less than OUR government to DO THEIR JOBS.

Period. Nothing ANY person "crying" about Christie not being…what? A puppet to the Foreign money funding you robots, often inculcating hateful sentiments, divisive rhetoric or (my favorite) actually purporting to "support" the wholesale "elimination" of (what else) "entitlements".

Forget the FACT the citizens of, say, Kuwait get FREE COLLEGE, FREE MEDICAL SCHOOL and even are careful to acknowledge the word ENTITLEMENT with regards to real property that the State provides them. Oh, I get it. If the OPEC states spend money on the EU/UK/USA/Russia's political system? Nope, time to "cut" and push "austerity" measures.

Well, aren't you all just clever.

Tell me, doesn't the ENTIRE GOP look like complete imbeciles for "not having a commercially reasonable Budget signed into law" because of some self-perceived partisan strategy that, no coincidentally, VIOLATES the express language of Article I, Section 8?

People need to wake the *&%^ up out of this "phony partisan charade" before its too late.

sacredh
sacredh

@drudown, it's all good. No need for an apology. You are a defender of the faith.

drudown
drudown

@sacredh @drudown

By way of example, "real" human beings- as opposed to a lobbyist or PR drone- would not criticize an American leader like Christie by alleging that (enter 'compliance conditioning') he "pretends to stand up for 'principles,' but instead 'votes with the political weather vane.'"  

My god. 
From whence comes this unseasonable notion that public service is "really about" making a "stand" but most of all if it means DENYING voters the Health Care or Medicaid expansion that SHOULD be available to ALL the Several States. 

Gee, how is that the "new" GOP seems to believe its own perverse "construction" of Stare Decisis (er, that it does not exist) that touch and concerns the very New Deal "entitlements" our progenitors fought and died for is inexplicably subject to arbitrary cuts? How is DENYING voters in ANY of the SEVERAL STATES either access to the ACA and Medicaid Expansion WITHOUT a vote…NOT a "deprivation" of life, liberty or property? [see, Davidson v. Cannon (1986) 474 U.S. 344]. 

Just this: if the HONORABLE and UPRIGHT members of the Congress refuse to raise taxes, then they are ESTOPPED from cutting programs that affect the People's DUE PROCESS rights. Period. 

Ah, me….it all makes sense to so many after just... following the money to the genesis of the "let's destroy the American Way of life" and Military Supremacy.

Foreign money is behind this contrived, self-imposed fiscal starvation.

Why would the State deny "entitlements" to its own People whether at home, the EU, UK or Russia? There is no other explanation.

Why shouldn't the aforementioned Western Civilization negotiate an Executive Agreement with China/Japan/Koreas, et al. to help rebuild the Philippines and REMOVE the wreckage from the Japanese nuclear disaster. 

Whether here or with Climate Change, imagining it will be remediated faster if we believe the "conservative base" that we should assume a "Libertarian-leprechaun" or "private sector" could (what else) "do it better" because (look ma, no hands) this current batch of "do nothing" politicians pretend they can't?

So, let's say the People of the United States want to help the people of the Philippines, China, Koreas and Japan. 

What, our will to DO SOMETHING to create jobs, remediate the ocean and help OTHER PEOPLE is in the "latest Decider's" hand?

Here, the GOP Senate thinks it has some, what, magic Filibuster wand to deny the People the Appointment Power reposed in the Executive branch after an election on account of some cheap parlor "partisan gimmick".

Nobody cares anymore. The "shut down" saw to that. Nor does ANYONE believe if the special interests "have their way" despotically "abolishing" the ACA…we should 'look forward' to what's next in store.

Gun rights?

Military funding?

Who is directing these subversive people in our government.

I hope the FBI is probing.  

Who is truly upholding the law? (i.e., if State Action is unlawful or violates the Constitution, if performed under the aegis of 'I hate Obama", the prejudice to the People and our Democracy is less real)? Paul's "quasi-plagarism" is just a pretext to deflect attention from the real lawlessness: the GOP Congress abrogating the express FUNCTIONS of Article I, Section 8, as if, in the end, the Tea Party base simply invoking the "Founding Fathers' way" entitles such elected fiduciaries to disregard what the document says. It clearly says "RAISE REVENUE" for the "COMMON DEFENSE" and People's "GENERAL WELFARE"…there is nothing about the Decider having any "discretion" to have Dr. Seuss read on Taxpayer time much less subvert the rule of law (i.e., promulgate a commercially reasonable Budget) or engage in dilatory tactics with no Legitimate State Interest in mind.

drudown
drudown

@sacredh @drudown 

Sorry, I got excited. Like when a leopard pounces on a Foreign sewer rat.

My apologies to you- you're nothing like that.

sacredh
sacredh

@drudown, that clears that up. It was the "@sacredh" that threw me.

drudown
drudown

@sacredh 

I wasn't speaking to you, obviously. 

sacredh
sacredh

@drudown, yes, I think climate change is real and undeniable. I'm a liberal and proud of it. I'm more socialist than liberal, but why split hairs? I think the Tea Party is the most un-American group to come into the existence since the KIan. I will never apologize for my beliefs. 

drudown
drudown

@sacredh @jerzygurl135 

Gee, let's sit back and watch the Tea Party sock puppets "conditioning" readers (enter robot voice) as-to-who-is-actually-conservative.

You sound like one person with a thousand different screen names parroting the same "group think", as if, in the end, you are some Foreign mind operating under the unfounded assumption that, what, Americans are going to be "dared into" being "more conservative than a mere RINO" because (the social conditioning [sorry, I meant argument goes) the "real, tough" Americans aren't going to "wimp out" and vote for the "others"…those "liberals!"

Maybe you would like to put a yellow "L" on the "others" like the Nazis put "yellow stars" on the Jews?

Is that where your plan ends?

You are "all" so full of hate, so unwilling to even engage in a cost/benefit of Tea Party/GOP policies for THE PEOPLE…so "un-American" being so "un-inclusive" it is no wonder you lose voters like friends.

"Thy love afar is spite at home." - Emerson

Insults mean nothing. Show you are human.

Say, you agree Climate Change is real and the recent Typhoon proves it, right?

Openminded1
Openminded1

@drudown @Openminded1 I support my family, the American way of life, good food and wine, and the freedom to call libs like you and your other sissy clowns , what ever i want. I also support the PBA, vetreans of america and all animals. What about you?

drudown
drudown

@Openminded1 

Do you support the Nazi party? Just curious. 

I support Germany and its people.

What about you.

sacredh
sacredh

@Openminded1, it's all I ever use. I save money throughout the year for Christmas so that there won't be any bills that come due during the winter.

sacredh
sacredh

@Openminded1, we're going to stimulate the economy today. Christmas shopping time.