Chris Christie visited four out of the five Sunday talk shows today. Fresh off his landslide re-election as Republican governor of New Jersey, the New York Daily News described Christie's appearances as "what many pundits assumed was an early national media blitz ahead of a 2016 bid." Even though, as the Daily News also noted, Christie refused to say whether or not he will run for president or serve out his four-year term as governor. However, that didn't stop Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace from holding a "lightning round" to showcase Christie's views on the - oh, off chance he'll be a presidential candidate in 2016.
Before Wallace got to the "lightning round," he made a point of highlighting some of Christie's selling points:
WALLACE: (Y)ou did some things on Election Day that national Republicans could only dream of, and let's take a look at those.
You won 57 percent of women, 51 percent of Hispanics, and 32 percent of Democrats, and you said the reason is because in New Jersey, you've worked with the other side to get things done. (It's worth noting that Fox News' transcript gave Christie credit for winning 42 percent of Democrats, though Wallace seems to be correct.)
...Governor, what do folks in Washington, especially Republicans, need to do differently if they want to start winning more elections?
Later, Wallace got the "lightning round" for some "quick answers on some of your positions." Christie ducked Wallace's question about whether he favors "comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship."
CHRISTIE: Chris, what I favor is fixing a broken system, and the fact is that everybody knows the system is broken. And what Congress needs to do is get to work, working with each other and the president to fix a broken system that's not serving our economy well, not serving our country well.
Then it was on to gun control. Notice how Wallace framed his question in a fashion that was an opening for Christie to defend his stance. And although Wallace pressed slightly in his follow up, he still allowed Christie to remain evasive.
WALLACE: You also support some gun controls. Why?
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, Chris, I think that when you look at what we've done in New Jersey, we want to control violence. And some of that may involve firearms, but a lot of it doesn't.
In fact, my focus has been on making sure that mental health is done in a much more aggressive way in New Jersey. Every time we see one of these incidents happen across our country, it is almost exclusively with a deeply disturbed person at the helm, and what we need to do is be much more aggressive about how we deal with mental health issues in this country. So I'm for violence control.
WALLACE: But gun control is part of it.
CHRISTIE: Well, it can be. And in New Jersey, I've signed some of those measures, but I've also vetoed measures that I thought were overreaching and not consistent with Second Amendment rights. So what it is is looking at things, these things case by case, to see does it make common sense, does it control violence?
We need to not pander on these issues. We need to have adults in the room who make decisions based upon controlling violence in our society.
So what gun control measure does Christie support? He never said and Wallace never pushed it.
Wallace also asked about the new book, "Double Down," about the 2012 presidential campaign which reported that Mitt Romney turned down Christie as vice presidential running mate "because of too many, quote, 'red flags.'" Wallace added, "And what (the authors) talk about are spending too much as U.S. attorney, your work as a lobbyist for the securities industry, steering government contracts to donors and allies. Your response, sir?"
CHRISTIE: Well, you know, the only person who hasn't said that is Governor Romney, who has completely refuted what they said in the book. He did it immediately after the book came out.
Actually, that's not quite true, as I understand it. For example, on last week's Meet The Press, Romney suggested the book got it right:
ROMNEY: Well, I know that the vetting people who went through that analysis and put together their report laid everything out. But, frankly, there was nothing they found that wasn't already part of the public record and that hadn't already been dealt with effectively by Chris Christie. So there was nothing new there.
On November 5, CNN reported: "Mitt called me right away, and I could tell he was really embarrassed and outraged about it," Christie said Tuesday in an exclusive interview with CNN anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper. ...CNN has emailed Mitt Romney’s assistant Kelli Harrison, seeking a comment from the former presidential candidate. This post will be updated with any response." It has not been updated.
But Wallace did not clarify the record.
First off, Christie’s decision to hold that “special” election to fill Lautenberg’s Senate seat. I thought people were furious at Christie for charging taxpayers for the special election, just a couple of weeks before the Gubernatorial election. It’d have been interesting to see how many Dems would’ve voted for the Dem candidate for Governor when they were also picking the Dem candidate for US Senate. (It’s entirely possible that Christie’s picking up that 1/3 of Dems is solely because there weren’t as many Democratic voters in the first place.)
Secondly, Christie’s “reluctant” decision to not pursue a court fight against same-sex marriage. I knew when the court ordered the state to begin same-sex marriage that Christie was going to be caught between a rock and a hard place. IF he’d started pursuing a court fight, it wouldn’t have begun until after the election was over and the possibility would’ve existed that there’d be a new governor who wouldn’t fight the courts. And I’m pretty certain that if Christie had planned to fight it in court, he might have quite easily seen a lot of his “big win” turn into a devastating loss; the share of women and Dem voters would’ve most certainly been lower (his narrow win of Hispanics might not have shifted too much—maybe a very narrow loss—but likely even a tiny shift would’ve been enough to swing the vote the other way).
This civility surely wouldn’t happen if Christie wandered into Slanthead’s studio one night. Hannity has made it clear that he considers the governor public enemy # 1! He spent the first hour on his radio hatefest on Wednesday following the Tuesday election (and some more time on Thurs) trashing Christie every which way.
What rankled Slanthead the most was Christie’s relationship with Obama. The “big bear hug at the shore,” Hannity spit out (probably through clenched teeth). You could almost see the pain on his face as he reach for the Maalox!
Christie hugs Obama must sure be at the top of Hannity’s most distressing scenes in the last dozen years. Right up there with the events on January 20, 2009. No, I’m not talking about the oath taken by the light skinned mixed race politician. It was what followed: a really black woman measuring for new drapes in the White House. Hannity’s WHITE HOUSE! That must have really hurt!