EXCLUSIVE: Christie Rival Called Him ‘Bully’ in Unaired Ad

Ad knocking Christie's temperament was cut before latest scandals, but never ran

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Julio Cortez / AP

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivers his State of the State address at the State House in Trenton, N.J., on Jan. 14, 2014

The political world has suffered whiplash watching Chris Christie go from anointed Republican presidential frontrunner to a man in existential career crisis in just about two months. The New Jersey governor garnered the cover of TIME and a flood of speculation about how formidable he would be in 2016 after winning a smashing reelection in November. Now the George Washington Bridge scandal and its spin-off controversies threaten to end not just his White House hopes but his place at the top of the Republican hierarchy nationally and in the Garden State.

Christie’s overmatched Democratic opponent in his 2013 reelection campaign, Barbara Buono, is telling anyone who will listen now that she clearly saw the very traits in Christie that have laid him low now. At the top of Buono’s list was the notion that Christie is a “bully” who lacks the temperament to be an effective leader. The Democrat made that case on the stump, citing both the famous YouTube videos of Christie berating various constituents and the book I wrote with John Heilemann, Double Down, which features scenes of Christie acting ever-so tough. But, as with the rest of Buono’s message, she lacked a megaphone big enough to burn the argument in with the voters.

TIME has obtained a television ad produced by the Buono campaign but never aired that accuses Christie of being a bully.  “Some say this bully can’t be beaten. I’m Barbara Buono and I say that’s up to you,” the candidate says. See the ad below.

Part of the reason Democrats barely laid a glove on Christie last year is that Buono didn’t have enough money to buy TV time in the expensive Philadelphia and New York media markets. But the “bully” theme didn’t have much resonance before the bridge controversy, so it isn’t clear how much the commercial would have hurt the incumbent even if it had aired. Many voters seemed to like Christie’s tough-talking ways back then.

The spot was produced by John Del Cecato, an admaker who worked in both of President Barack Obama’s White House runs and also made 2013’s most famous campaign ad—a commercial for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio featuring his son Dante that was widely credited with helping de Blasio win the city’s Democratic primary.

As the investigations into Christie and his team continue, the facts of what was done by whom, when, and why will matter most. But there is no doubt that Democrats will continue to tout the notion of Christie as a bully to dovetail with the underlying facts of the latest scandal. This unaired Buono ad reflects the Democrats’ 2013 failure—and their 2014 hopes.

66 comments
tada07960
tada07960

"A bully to one, a leader to the other. This country is starved for a leader after George Bush left office. A President who is not afraid to make decisions. Not this ditherer we call President."

Ahh yes, gone are the days of the so called small government conservative who would be repulsed by the abuses absolutely known to have originated from the christie administration, and in are the good old days of support for the lesser evil. Roll the GOP presses! "No more empty suit, welcome the cleanest dirty shirt!"

turkinator28
turkinator28

I count 16 posts by ReneDemonteverde on this page alone.  If you are getting a nickel a post from the Koch brothers, that makes you a ho.  If you are not getting paid, that makes you a stupid ho.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

A bully to one, a leader to the other. This country is starved for a leader after George Bush left office. A President who is not afraid to make decisions. Not this ditherer we call President.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@ReneDemonteverde A president who isn't afraid to cover up the Saudi involvement in 9/11 and then lie to invade a country that had nothing to do with it.

sacredh
sacredh

The first 5 letters in the governor's last name spells Christ. Only heathens and liberals attack the New Jersey governor because they want to take the "Christ" out of Christmas.

BobMay
BobMay

@sacredhWell, Christie must be a heathen and liberal, as he pals around with the president.  This governor has been a criminal since day 1.  I am sure that the real Christ will see to Christie's long term sentence in hellfire.

sacredh
sacredh

@roknsteve, tricks are not good. I worked outside for 7 of the 8 hours. The WARMEST it got with the windchill was -5.

RogerMichaels
RogerMichaels

In Mubarak's Egypt, you refuse to endorse him for the 15th tenure, the secret police arrest you on tromped up charges. But in NJ you refuse to endorse Chris Christie, you and your city will be shut down, your local economy strangled, your citizens denied Federal aids, grants etc and you will be banned from accessing any State help and meeting with State commissioners. Yap.

RogerMichaels
RogerMichaels

That's what happens when we remained cowards and go silent as Chris Christie destroyed NJ Teachers, decimated NJ Unions and bullied his opponents into submission, we not only lost a chance to choose a leader of our choice as a free people, but eventually the bully will come for us....as he did to NJ/NY residents that uses GWB daily for their way of life. Christie and his henchmen are coming for you if you decides to remain indifferent.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@RogerMichaels Make it more broad. Change name Christie to Obama, NJ teachers to small businesses, bullied his opponents to submission to sic the IRS to them, we lost our chance to choose a leader when we rejected Romney and eventually Hillary will finish the job Obama started. Now isnt that more appropriate ?

RogerMichaels
RogerMichaels

If Chris Christie could shut down a regional artery to punish just one small town mayor, imagine what he could do with NSA, with our 7000 nukes, with the most powerful military the world has ever known, with our regional airports, education and healthcare systems, our mustard gas, nerve agents and the list goes on. If this man is as crazy as we have seen, we are in danger indeed.

RogerMichaels
RogerMichaels

As this buffoon rose to prominence, the local and national media looked the other way and crowned Chris Christie the greatest thing to happened to United States since slice bread. Yet again, they failed to seek the truth, they fail to asked the hard questions.

If they did, perhaps we wont have been so closed to anointing a consummate ruthless bully to run for the most powerful office on earth.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@RogerMichaels To call somebody who is the Governor of New Jersey a buffoon while you are here trolling with the rest of us is a bit too much. Dont you think ?

BobMay
BobMay

@RogerMichaels Please don't anger the Buffoons.  Do you want them protesting outside your home because you insulted them by comparing them to Christie?..:-)

RogerMichaels
RogerMichaels

You thought Saddam, Gadafy, Assad, Mubarak, Saudi dictators were baad. In Christie's NJ, you haven't' seen nothing yet.

RogerMichaels
RogerMichaels

Elected officials living in fear in NJ, This is no longer democracy nor a land of the free or home of the braves/giants.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@RogerMichaels You are funny you know that ? Living in fear ? With Zimmer broadly and openly accusing Christie of closing the bridge to nowhere ? Surely you jest.

RogerMichaels
RogerMichaels

By the way, when was it a given that you deserve your opposition's endorsement? Talk about extreme arrogance, rascality and shameless cut-through politics on steroids. Chris Christie makes middle east dictators look like kids.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@RogerMichaels Aww cut out the drama. Try living in the Middle East and come back to tell us. Maybe you will have more credibility.

RogerMichaels
RogerMichaels

Saddam and Mubarak bullied his opponents to submission and he got 99.99999% approval rating and election victory each time for almost 30 years. Chris Christies replicated that Saddam's formula in NJ.

reallife
reallife

I think we need more Christie articles. I dont think his "kindergarten exploits" have been investigated yet. Come on Pravda. Get with it!


LOL



JimmyPalmieri
JimmyPalmieri

Christie is a bully in the truest sense of the word.  I hope his fall is so hard he never recovers.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@JimmyPalmieri Try to remember some of us live here in California near the San Andreas Fault. Be more considerate. His fall could reverberate the whole of the continental USA.