Chris Christie Raises Debate Expectations As Team Romney Tries To Lower Them

Chris Christie appeared on three Sunday morning shows today and, on each of them, he appeared to raise debate expectations for Mitt Romney:

If Mitt Romney campaign’s is worried about measuring debate expectations for Wednesday night, Chris Christie hasn’t gotten the message.

“This whole race is going to be turned upside down come Thursday morning,” the Republican governor from New Jersey told CBS “Face The Nation” host Bob Schieffer Sunday. Christie pointed to the Republican presidential nominee’s performance in the primary debates, saying the debates will be an opportunity to speak with out being “filtered” or “spun” by Romney’s critics.

Interestingly, Christie’s comments were markedly different from other Romney surrogates who spoke about the debates today, such as Senator John McCain:

Arizona Sen. John McCain sought to lower debate expectations for Mitt Romney on Sunday, arguing that most presidential forums did not offer a breakthrough opportunity for either candidate.

“Sometimes we expect a major breakthrough, but that doesn’t happen very often,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

And Paul Ryan was similarly trying to lower expectations: 

Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan is doing his part to keep measured expectations for Mitt Romney ahead of Wednesday night’s debate.

“Well, we’re running against an incumbent president. We’re running against an incumbent president with incredible resources. But more importantly, I don’t think one event is going to make or break this campaign,” said Paul Ryan said in an interview aired on ”Fox News Sunday”. “Look, President Obama is a very — he’s a very gifted speaker. The man’s been on the national stage for many years, he’s an experienced debater, he’s done these kinds of debates before. This is Mitt’s first time on this kind of a stage.”

Something tells me Christie wasn’t sticking to the script.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    Expectations have been raised so high that at this point if Mr. Romney doesn’t shoot fireworks out of his ass and fly around the room chanting, “The power of Christ compels you!” until Mr. Obama pukes pea soup, it’s going to be a disappointment.

    And if that does happen I will happily switch to Romney. I do love entertainment.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    Ryan says that it would simply take too long to explain the math behind the Romney/Ryan Budget plan, which economists call mathematically impossible.
    Well, the debates are 90 minutes long….so I’ll make some popcorn.

  3. Christopher says:

    One subject you won’t hear discussed in the debates: United Nations protocols and how they will change life in this country for everyone after the election. The US Constitution will become a thing of the past. UN Agenda 21 and the UN Small Arms treaty. This will give the UN the power to control private property ownership and the freedom to travel freely (car ownership).
    Democrats against UN 21:

  4. michael reynolds says:


    Yes! This is so realistic! Ban ki-Moon will be our new Emperor. Flee! Flee, you Republican dogs, or be trampled under the heels of people with brown skin and catchy music!

  5. Markey says:

    Obama could just open up the debate by thanking Romney for creating a govt health care plan in his state that impressed Obama so much that he had to make it national.


  6. PJ says:

    You know you can buy a special tinfoil hat that will protect you from UN Agenda 21 and the UN Small Arms treaty?
    Obviously it means that you will have to stop wearing your regular tinfoil hat, but mind control is so yesterday anyway…

  7. Stonetools says:

    Maybe Christie is just not very smart. Always a possibility.

    I’ve seen one person even argue that he is sabotaging the Romney campaign in order to clear the way for a 2016 run, but I think incompetence is a sufficient explanation

  8. Scott O says:

    I’d bet $10,000 that the debates won’t help Mr. Romney much.

  9. Ed in NJ says:

    Apparently Christie forgets that in about 20 debates Romney got his ass kicked in 19 of them by the collective clown car posse of Republican “contenders”. And then when he actually won one of them, he fired his debate advisor for taking too much credit for it.

    After the first debate, the only question left will be whether the Dems also take back the House.

  10. T-Steel says:

    @michael reynolds: Here’s to seeing ass fireworks and executive pea soup puking. Salute!

    What an awesome scene that would be…

  11. Herb says:

    “Christie pointed to the Republican presidential nominee’s performance in the primary debates, saying the debates will be an opportunity to speak with out being “filtered” or “spun” by Romney’s critics.”

    Said Chris Christie as he spins his way through the Sunday talk show filter…..

  12. john personna says:


    Sssh. Text via our Obama Phones tells us not to reveal that until tomorrow.

  13. john personna says:

    I agree that the expectations game is pretty thin in this instance. After a solid month of both Republican partisans and pundits saying that the first debate is Romney’s last chance, it’s kind of hard to simply “lower” expectations.

    The only way it would work would be if he dropped something bigger, either before or shortly after, like a detailed plan for his first 100 days. THAT would take eyes off trivial scoring of performance. Nothing else will.

  14. Tano says:

    After spending most of his convention keynote address touting himself, is this really a surprise?

    If Romney wins this November, then Romney will be the nominee in 2016. The odds might favor his winning a second term. In that case, after 8 years of Romneyism, the 2020 race will probably favor the Dems. So any ambitious Republican has got to figure that their time might not come till 2024, and even then only if the Dem elected in 2020 is weak.

    Of course, in Romney loses, then 2016 is wide open, with at least some advantage to the GOP, given it will be 8 years of the Dems.

    Plus, if Romney does become President, having defeated the Dem superstar, he will gather up all the best and brightest in the movement and the party – like Ryan – and under Romney’s supervision, modern American conservatism will be redefined. That is probably the biggest fear of those on the right.

    I don’t think there is much real enthusiasm for a Romney win, even on the right.

  15. jukeboxgrad says:


    if Mr. Romney doesn’t shoot fireworks out of his ass

    Let’s not assume he won’t. John Hinderaker used to call himself “Hindrocket” (and was also known as “Assrocket”). Link. Mitt and Assrocket are like peas in a pod, so they might share a similar fascination with this concept.

    So what strikes you as far-fetched might be getting some serious consideration in Boston right now, since everyone knows they need a game-changer, and all options should be on the table.

  16. grumpy realist says:

    @Christopher: Are you nuts?