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Thursday, October 27, 2016

“Telling It Like It Is” — That’s Chris Christie’s campaign slogan, revealed the day before he formally announced his candidacy for president. It’s meant to evoke his brash persona, which is the biggest advantage he has in a crowded GOP field.

Christie is the 14th Republican candidate to announce, and is not expected to be the last. But with trailing poll numbers and an iffy record in New Jersey, where he is in his sixth year as governor, he will be a hard sell for GOP primary voters. It makes sense, then, that his announcement speech Tuesday morning touted bombast over bonafides, rhetoric over record, and a promise of a clean campaign that runs contrary to everything we know about the bellicose, secretive governor.

His speech opened with “We Weren’t Born to Follow” by Jersey rockers Bon Jovi, whose blue-collar, hard-won affirmations provided a fitting soundtrack to the event. (The announcement closed with “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” by the same group.) Christie’s address was rooted in his humble origins, beginning with his choice of venue — the gymnasium of Livingston High School, from which he graduated in 1980 — and segued to his family history: a tale of blue-collar success and the American Dream realized, with Christie himself embodying the dreams of his parents and grandparents.

As in interviews he’s given, he was light on policy and the specifics of his accomplishments as governor. He mentioned “reforming tenure” and “reforming pensions and health benefits,” but didn’t delve into details, possibly because he has a messy and contentious track record on the subject. Other than a line about fixing the country’s “broken entitlement system” and “encouraging businesses to invest in America again” through deregulation, he didn’t say much about what his platform would be. (He may not have much to say, period, other than the word “reform.”)

What he did play up was his persona — imperious, truth-telling, no-nonsense Christie, who tells it like it is and has the ability to work with the other side to get things done.

“Both parties have failed our country,” he said, his voice rising. “Somehow now ‘compromise’ is a dirty word. If Washington and Adams and Jefferson believed compromise was a dirty word, we’d still be under the crown of England.”

Befitting the high-school setting, he drew parallels to high-school concerns — namely, popularity contests. He said that he was not running for prom king, and that respect was more important than love. “I am not looking to be the most popular guy who looks in your eyes every day and says what you want to hear,” only to turn around and do something else, he said.

And yet his critics allege that he’s done exactly that – on pension reform and gun legislation, Christie has shifted, backflipped, and outright lied, and always managed to modulate his style of confrontation and candor — to suit whatever position was most expedient at the time.

His pledge to run a campaign that wouldn’t “tear people down,” is quite a leap for a man who is widely known for his humorous, often nasty takedowns of others – YouTube is littered with videos of him calling out those who criticize him or ask what he thinks are silly questions, calling them “idiots” or “stupid” or worse.

And when he’s not belittling those asking the questions, Christie has been known to simply not answer them.

He promised a campaign free of pandering, spin, or focus group-tested answers: “You get what I think whether you like it or not or whether it makes you cringe every once in a while. A campaign when I’m asked a question, I will give the answer to the question asked, not the answer my political consultants told me to get backstage.”

Christie’s bravado about not being run by political operatives belies the fact that he’s a career politician who obviously knows how the game is played.

“I mean what I say and I say what I mean – that’s what America needs right now,” he said in his closing remarks. He promised to be the kind of candidate who would be open – in his eyes, heart, ears, and mind. Ironic, since his administration isn’t known to be forthcoming, and it’s hard to imagine that as president he’d be any more “open” than he is now.

Surrounded by supporters, against the backdrop of the American flag, and flanked by his family, Christie choked up as he recounted why he does what he does: “I wake up every morning knowing that I have an opportunity to do something great. That’s why this job is a great job and that’s why the president of the United States is an even greater job.”

Photo: Chris Christie at Livingston High School in Livingston, New Jersey, the morning he announced he was running for president. Screen capture via

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  • Siegfried Heydrich

    I am just SO glad that the Outlaw Jersey Whale bellyflopped into the race! Oh, boy, it’s going to be fun watching Chrispie and duh Trump shouting each other down and trading insults . . . Maybe, if we’re really, really lucky, they’ll start beating on each other during one of the debates.

    20 quatloos on the fat boy!

    • Daniel Jones

      Outlaw Jersey Whale?

      You just made my week!

  • Bob Eddy

    I love thus guy. He tells it like it is (well, at least like it is in the world of blow hard bullies and you know how we Republicans love our bullies. ) I really wanted to go to his announcement, but got stuck in traffic on the bridge. Some kind of traffic study from what i understand! Go Christie. Go! Go! Go! No, a little farther. That’s it, just keep going!

  • Daniel Jones

    If he tells it like it is but what it is isn’t what it was, then ignore all he says as there is no promise it is as it will be later.

    In short, who cares what he says?

  • FT66

    Fasten your belts everyone the king of bullies – Chris Christie has just entered the race. “Tell It Like It Is” – who gave you that power to do so Christie?
    ” I mean what I say and I say what I mean” – Isn’t that what we call dictactorship Christie? Dictactorship is not allowed in this country Chris.
    I wasn’t impressed at all by his style the way he delivered the message on his special day. It was about meandering and no organisation at all of what to say. He was just talking whatever poped up in his head without having any sequence. I know he was trying to avoid using the teleprompter. And that is not easy either to use it. It needs a lot of skills and a lot of practice. Ask John McCain or those who make their living by reading it. It’s the hell of the job. Am wondering why didn’t he prepare even a short brief, go through it while delivering his speech and make sure all points he wanted to deliver are received. Am sure he forgot a lot of points he wanted people to hear. For those like me who enjoy and like a flow of a speech, Christie’s delivery yesterday was in a total mess.

    • plc97477

      He should have written on his hand so he could have made sense.

      • FT66

        Right. Agreed. Like what Sarah Palin did one time.

    • Eleanore Whitaker

      Tell “it” like it is? This from a North Jersey wannabee Noo Yawkah who can’t answer a straight question without telling the enquirer to “shut up and sit down” when it’s a question he doesn’t like?

      He’s done this more times in NJ at his “Talk to the Governor” sessions. The contradiction there is no one “talks” to this governor…he does ALL the talking. He loves the sound of his own voice. Chalk that up to Twerpie Generation chutzpah.

      • FT66

        I don’t understand Eleanore who advised this guy to jump into the race. I remember watching him on TV the time he won the second term as governor, boasting himself that everyone must look what N. Jersey is doing as an example to be taken for the entire nation. According to what I have learned so far, there is nothing positive coming from there as admirable of his tenure as a governor. Am wondering what does he has to bring to the GOP table if he can’t even win his own state he has been governor for quite a time.

        • Eleanore Whitaker

          While NJ is supposed to be a blue state, North Jersey is anything but. The top names in big business all reside in the cushy cushy areas of Bedminster, Chatham and Far Hills. These are the NJ Billionaire enclaves where they still “ride to the hunt,” play squash on their own private courts and live in multi-million dollar mansions. They can easily afford to support Christie so long as he toes the line and passes on huge tax cuts and tax subsidies. Mind you, Christie hated having to sign off on that loophole that closed the “Gentleman Farmer’s” tax cuts. This is where a rich man with acres of property sells a bale of hay and gets his property taxes cut to the bone.

          NJ unemployment remains high as a result of Christie’s refusal to address that issue. Worse, he went after public worker unions with a vengeance and demanded huge give backs. When they did that, Christie went back on his word to stop raiding their pension fund and is now refusing to put the money deducted from their paychecks into that pension fund.

          But, wait, his skankery gets even worse. His party is responsible for NJ getting 52 cents for the federal $1 in taxes we pay. This means that property taxes are the ONLY means of paying for the 801 bridges, roads and tunnels that are dangerously unsafe.

          He wasn’t talking about looking at “what NJ is doing” …he was, like all GOP buffoons icing his own cake…You have to pay attention to GOP doublespeak..He meant, “Look at what “I” am doing…”

  • jmprint

    “calling them “idiots” or “stupid” or worse.” This is their calling, that’s all the republicans have to offer us, calling us idiots and stupid.

    • angelsinca

      What you are hearing is the echo of sentiments aimed at conservatives

      • jmprint

        And what I’m getting is vulgarity. Nothing else, because they have NOTHING else to offer.

        • angelsinca

          Not so true, jmprint. I don’t see much eff this and eff that coming out of the conservative side. Profanity seems to be worn like a badge of honor by our ‘edgy’ liberal friends. Hope you enjoy the 4th.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            You are no angel in CA…you just love judging others. Most sociopaths like you do. Profanity is something the CONs feast on every time they demonize the people they work to death longer, harder and for less. CON men like you live on our hard earned tax dollars and then have the balls to dare and judge those your corrupt lunatics are bilking. Your corruption is so deep in your so called principles, men like you don’t need profanity. YOU ARE the profanity humanity contorted when you exiting the birth canal. Try again hot shot.

          • angelsinca

            They aren’t my corrupt lunatics. Thanks that you would think I would host an inflated entourage. But I don’t care for crowds. Not even small ones.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        First of all, I can’t possibly hate ALL men…I had 5 brothers and half brothers I loved, 2 sons and my best friend of 28 years was a man. want to know why I HATE what MEN like you do?

        1. You like to be Number one in everything.
        2. You pull tantrums, rant and rage when you don’t get your way.
        3. You lie, cheat, steal and think so long as you don’t get caught it’s dandy.
        4. You are reckless, irresponsible and incapable of one single honest day in your life.
        5. You actually think you are pulling the wool over the eyes of women and children.
        6. Your superiority act is nothing more than BS.
        7. You can’t stand to criticize; yet, you are the 1st to do the judging.
        8. You think it’s your entitlement to make ALL the rules for everyone but yourselves.
        9. Your “Get religion” act is born of your wayward youth.
        10. You believe in your own personal omnipotence.

        Need more? Men like you are fools who live in a world of your own. You don’t get along with anyone because you think you are the most valuable thing on Planet Earth.
        How is it you narrow minded jerks never see yourselves as the rest of us do?

        • angelsinca

          Nice of you to pull out your Top 10 Reasons I hate Men. Those that know you could have predicted your response with the keyboards unplugged. Have a wonderful World Population Day.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            First of all, get off your lazy duff and top sitting around on a computer all day doing nothing but judging others.

            I hate CON men. You are a CON…you love demonizing anyone who dares to call you as you are…a control addict who shoots adrenalin by demonizing others. But how DARE anyone judge a corrupt skank like you?

            I’ll judge you now…There you are in lazy, sunny CA sitting on a double sized butt looking for prey to pounce on. Then, you dream up any delusions your mentally ill mind can fabricate. Your kind hate honesty, truth and justice. You much prefer your skanking around that gets YOU an easy boy’s life just sitting doing nothing and bone idle.

            Mommy needs to change her lil sweetums Pampers…your odor is beginning to pollute. Take a cold shower while you are at it.

          • angelsinca

            I worked 69.3 hours this week, not including commute time. And you, as the most inaccurate of pre-judgers, how much work did you do? This circuitous relationship is getting nowhere. Just like the last time, and the time before that. Hope you enjoyed your day too.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            I’m a freelance SEO copywriter. I am paid based on quality of writing skills, value of content and text and thus I often work more than 70 hours a week.

            This includes domestic chores I do all by myself and yard work I also do by myself. I’m up every day at 6 AM and am my computer no later than 7 AM. I take one hour for lunch and finish my Clients’ articles around 5 PM, later if there’s a rush article they need.

            I retired from private business after more than 4 decades in October 2013 at age 67. My tech writing skills, novels and SEO are my supplemental income. My employer didn’t believe in employee benefits and crashed the 401K we had in 2001 when he stole our payroll deductions and the SEC fined him for doing so. He was one of those ultra conservatives who didn’t believe in vacations, sick time, health or retirement benefits. In my state, you own a business and you are forced to offer healthcare benefits. So, he dumped all of the cost of our HMO and his discounted plan on employees and then had the balls to use our 401K payroll deductions as his personal piggy bank.

            HE IS WHY I HATE CONSERVATIVES. He told one of the other employers in our building back in 2012, “I can rip off my employees easier than I can my clients.”

          • angelsinca

            Don’t care what you do really, but your STEREOtyping skills are well hones. If you are going to spout off lies about the work habits/ethics of people you don’t know, prepare for reciprocation.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Wrong again. You spend an awful lot of time online for a man who works…what was it?…69 hours a week?

            So..logically, you are posting either on your lunch hour or you are posting on company time or both. So..which is it?

            I don’t prepare for reciprocation…I don’t need to. Most guys like you are ill prepared to deal with women who are MORE intelligent than you can EVER be. Try that one on for size before you post again on company time.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    I’ve lived in NJ all my life. Christie is a pushy, arrogant, dictatorial tyrant. He bases everything he does on what HE wants. Not what the people of NJ want. We voted out Corzine who was ineffective and too too too Goldman Sachs for NJ Blue Collar people. So the choice then was Corzine or Christie. I didn’t vote. I knew Christie’s record as a Bush appointed US attorney under the forced to resign Alberto Gonzalez.

    The Bush Administration aka President Cheney, had this master plan to infuse the Justice Dept. ONLY with GOP US attorneys. Until Gonzalez got booted when he was outed.

    • angelsinca

      It isn’t just Christie, Eleanore. You have made it abundantly clear you hate ALL men. Especially white conservative ones. On the surface, this makes you a racist and biased misandrist. Don’t fret. Deep down inside you are probably just a bitter bigot