Chris Christie Has No Regrets
It was six months ago today that Hurricane Sandy plowed into the Jersey shore and the coastal areas of New York City causing a level of destruction unlike anything that part of the country had seen in recorded memory. In the wake of that storm, which of course occurred just over a week before the 2012 election, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was criticized by his fellow conservatives for his open embrace of President Obama and the praise that he directed toward him regarding the assistance that the Federal Government gave to the state in the days after the storm hit. Later, Christie unloaded some of his famous rhetoric on Republicans in the House who had refused to vote for the Hurricane Sandy relief bill that had been pending since Congress returned for the lame duck session in mid-November. Not surprisingly, Christie said today that he has no regrets about either event:
Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he didn’t regret his actions in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, even though they caused intra-party strife at a critical juncture in the 2012 presidential election.
“I say the same thing to all my critics, no matter where they are in the spectrum, and that is that I’ve got a job to do,” Christie told MSNBC on Monday. “There was nothing else that ever crossed my mind in the days after.”
“You’ve got people suffering and you say to yourself, I’ve got to do my job,” Christie continued. “I say the same thing to all of them – put yourself in my shoes, and if you’re a responsible elected official, you would do nothing different.”
Obama and Romney were neck and neck in the polls when the storm hit just a week before Election Day. Both campaigns canceled events and Obama returned to Washington to direct the federal disaster response.
Christie strongly praised Obama’s efforts and later toured storm-ravaged areas with the president.
“Listen, I supported Mitt Romney, and I was very vocal about it,” Christie continued. “But the fact is, presidential politics was not on my mind that day. It was getting my state recovered and restored.”
Those actions appeared to bolster Christie among New Jersey voters, who give him a 67 percent approval rating, making him one of the most popular elected officials in the country.
But the moves may have hurt his national political prospects. He is widely viewed as a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, but his willingness to speak his mind, especially when it comes with a political cost to his own party, has infuriated many on the right.
Christie, a prominent surrogate for GOP nominee Mitt Romney, praised President Obama’s response to the super storm that battered the East Coast in late October. Some Republicans said Christie’s praise lifted Obama in the eyes of voters and may have put the president over the top in what was then a close race.
As I noted back in November, the idea that Christie cost Romney the election is really quite absurd. However, it’s one that is likely to dog Christie for awhile, and especially if he decides to run for President. What’s refreshing about Christie is that it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t care what the conservative pundits think, he just went ahead and did his job. We don’t get a lot of that in this country anymore.
Here’s video of the Christie interview:
And, to give you an idea of the post-Sandy work that still needs to be done, here’s a report from Seaside Heights, New Jersey, one of the most popular destinations on the Jersey shore: