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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The National Memo‘s Henry Decker has spent the last few months trying to decide who Mitt Romney’s worst campaign surrogate is. Newt Gingrich was always competitive but John Sununu seemed to have the title sewn up after claiming Colin Powell only endorsed the president because both men are black. Herman Cain and Allen West are still waiting for their endorsements from the retired general.

But I think we have a winner: Chris Christie.

As the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention, Christie was widely panned for giving a speech that was nearly half over before he started vaunting Mitt Romney. Throughout the year, he’s continually made references to a possible run for president in 2016, as if we should assume Mitt Romney won’t be running for re-election. Now, Chris Christie has committed an almost unpardonable sin in the Republican Party: he’s given some honest praise to President Obama just days before the election.

On NBC’s Today show Tuesday morning, Christie said, “The president has been outstanding in this and so have the folks at FEMA.”

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Not since President Bush told former FEMA head Michael Brown that he was doing a “heckuva job” in the disastrous aftermath of Katrina have so few words sent so many chills down Republican spines.

Christie also repeated similar praise via tweet and on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. He also added that he doesn’t “give a damn” if Mitt Romney visits New Jersey to survey the damage as a photo-op.

Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ana Navarro immediately understood the impact of such affirming words for a man many on the far right consider the closest thing to the Antichrist:

Though the president has the advantage in the swing states he needs to win, this race on the national level is historically close. Could Christie’s praise help the president cinch the popular vote, which seems to be trending to Romney? Possibly.

Political scientists have found that natural disasters can affect elections.

Mother JonesAdam Serwer spoke to Professor Larry Bartles, who studied the effect of drought on the 2000 election. Bartles said, “How a president manages a crisis matters…and how a president sells his management of a crisis can matter even more.”

What better way is there to sell your handling of a crisis than to have your opponent’s most high-profile surrogate praise you on national TV?

If Sununu and Gingrich want to catch up, they’d better start looking for a tape of Romney doing naughty things to an American flag.

  • Christie just doesn’t want New Jersey to be at the end of the line for government handouts.

    • They hate “big government” giving help to those who need it, it cuts into the tax cuts for the rich. Unless of course you become a victim yourself. Am wondering if his praise will continue after he gets the check.

  • I am not a Christie fan but I appreciated him giving serious praise to the President and FEMA. Even if the whole reason that he praised Obama is to be able to run for President himself in 2016, it was still the right thing to do. Christie has been all over the NY and national media praising the President – over and over – so it was definitely calculated. I think that Christie has handled the Sandy crisis well so far too.

    • sigrid28

      Calculated, yes. However, the effects of Christie’s shedding the Republican cocoon (which was beginning to crimp his style anyway), like the effects of Sandy, may be more far reaching than establishing his credentials for the 2016 election or securing the president’s re-election in 2012.

      Perhaps Christie’s new identity, a personal transformation meant to signal cooperation during this unprecedented natural (and yes, national) disaster, can demonstrate to other Republicans the way to leadership in bipartisan emergency measures that Republican members of congress have denied Americans for two years. Stuck in a deep recession, the country has been begging for jobs to rebuild infrastructure, job security for first responders and those who train them, fairness in providing healthcare that does not undermine the medical system of the U.S. (enactment of all provisions of the ACA), and a sane solution that does not involve jumping off the fiscal cliff. Republicans have blocked each of the president’s measures addressing these problems.

      Governor Chris Christie can go a long way for himself and the ship of state if he is willing to toss over some of the shibboleths that have been hampering forward movement in his political party–and the nation as a whole. For starters, that would include Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and their candidacy based on lies; Grover Norquist and his unproductive pledge; the stylings of Karl Rove and the Koch brothers; the nationalistic ambitions of the neocons; and his party’s crazy subservience to Trump’s birtherism, to the misogyny and xenophobia of the far right, and to the unbridled ambitions of the 2% that nearly toppled our economy. Democrats don’t have to be the only ones to “speak Truth to the face of falsehood” (Herman Melville). Governor Christie might just have the stature and bravery to do the same, as a Republican statesman showing the way to bipartisan cooperation.

      • bckrd1

        Very well stated.

      • However, at this point he could be the Billy Budd of the Republican Party.

      • solange82200

        Why would they change if no one cares that they are doing it? Half my coworkers, who are republican, won’t acknowledge that the republicans are obstructing progress. Apparently half the country is just as blind. The fact that the republicans have blocked everything is always Obama’s fault to them in some way or another. The most ridiculous statement in this regard was that idiotic lady on meet the press last week, I can’t remember her name, the one that looks like a freaking bobble head when she talks, her head is moving all over the place. Anyway, she basically stated that Republicans being able to obstruct everything simply shows how weak Obama is for not “making” them cooperate.

  • old_blu

    Wow! I never liked this guy, but good job to him for growing a pair in this time of need.

    • neece00

      Simply amazing

  • I’m no fan of Christie and the well deserved praise of this President and FEMA could simply be that he is going to need Federal aid for his state and he’s not going to get it from Romney. It could be seen as self serving or it could be seen as enlightenment on what just one of the agencies R$R want to get rid of would mean in this and the unforseen crisis we are bound to see with global warming. It’ll take a lot more than buttering his own bread to get the aid he’s going to need to convince me Christie is a nice guy. He’s already supposedly sitting on 3 billion dollars that was to go to help the foreclosure victims in his state.

  • Don’t fall for his “praise”, he’s a Romney surrogate, his praise is to try and deflect from the fact that Romney believes Disaster Relief is immoral. He’s trying to make it look like the party Romney stands for and their ideology are on the same page as President Obama’s, when Romney himself has clearly stated otherwise in the primaries.

    • neece00

      You have a good point!

    • sigrid28

      However, it doesn’t have to work out this way. What if Christie’s repositioning is self-protective and a move away from Romney, whose self-serving shape shifting is the polar opposite of Governor Christie’s hard-edged, confrontational style? People like us are paying close attention to who is a surrogate and who is not.

      I don’t think the general public will see Christie as acting on behalf of Romney, even if that is what the RNC hopes for. First, most people will hear a national leader loudly affirming the job the U.S. government and President Obama have done in response to a national disaster; and only second, or third, or fourth will they hear a Republican. In terms of the election next week, that might be a good thing.

    • I don’t think he is trying to deflect from Romney’s FEMA stance – Christie’s praise for FEMA is drawing more attention to Romney’s desire to abolish the agency. Moreover, the whackos on the right are going nuts over Christie’s praise for Obama. Obama is going to tour NJ with Christie later today. The pictures of the two standing side by side are going to drive Repugs nuts because it will drive home the thought that bipartisan cooperation is indeed possible if one of the parties is not an ideological fanatic.

  • Kudos to Christie for having the balls to compliment Obama. At least SOMEONE in the Republican party isn’t blinded by hatred and dogma.

  • LiberalBigTex

    He is trying to position himself to run in 2016. He understands Romney isn’t a good fit for the country. We’ll see if he moves to the right after the election

  • THS_Warrior

    Everyone who has friends inside the GOP (at levels higher than Sarah palin ever achieved) knows how much distrust and bad blood exists between the Morman who beat that huge pack of wannabes and New Jersey Governor Chris Cristie. Watch out GOP.

  • SPEND AND REVENUE CHANGES
    2000 TO 2008 (% OF GDP)
    Spending=+33% =2 wars + Part D Medicare
    Revenue= –29% = 2 tax cuts
    This is why in 8 of Bush we increased Spending 90% and Debt 112%
    The rich got richer as they were not hit with needed taxes to pay for added spending.
    They are reasons we now rank #4 on Inequality in OECD nations and #3 as Least Taxed
    less than all but Chile and Mexico

  • Sierra111

    Thank you, Governor Christie, for all your work. However, you should never get information third-hand on what the mayor of Atlantic City said.

  • daniel bostdorf

    Christie’s “october Surprise’ has past…he just stated that Obama handled the hurricane perfectly…

    Christies November surprise is that he will lose 100 pounds!

  • Margaret Ryan

    He put SteveDoocey away on Fox.
    I wonder what AnnCoulter thinks of her wonderboy today…

  • I live in NJ (near Atlantic city in fact) and while I don’t like what Christie has done to our teachers and for gay rights, I do like the way he is handing this disaster.

  • ITS UNFORTUNATE THAT IT WOULD TAKE A NATURAL DISASTER TO MAKE SOMEONE SEE THE REALITY WHEN IT IS THERE ALL BUT SMACKING HIM IN THE FACE ! I WISH THAT BOTH SIDES WOULD STOP ALL THE NEGATIVITY AND FOCUS ON WHATS IMPORTANT TO AMERICANS AND THE WORLD FOR THAT MATTER , FOCUSING ON GETTING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BACK STRONGER AND BETTER THAN EVER , DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS , IN THE END WE ARE ALL A M E R I C A N S ! I PERSONALLY AM PROUD THAT OBAMA TOOK A QUICK DECISION AND IS DOING WHAT HE CAN FOR THE PEOPLE WHO WERE HIT BY SANDY IN ANY WAY , GOD , THIS MAN IS DAMNED IF HE DOES ND DAMNED IF HE DOESN’T , SO PLEASE LAY OFF THE PRESIDENT AND LET THE MAN DO WHAT HE WAS ELECTED TO DO !