Chris Christie Turned Down Request To Appear With Romney Last Night

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Chris Christie said that he didn’t ”give a damn about Election Day,” in the light of the disaster that was inflicted upon his state. In case anyone doubted it, we now know that the Romney campaign asked Christie to appear at a rally in Pennsylvania last night and Christie turned them down:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was effusive in his praise of President Barack Obama when the two leaders toured damage from Hurricane Sandy last week, turned down a request by Mitt Romney to appear with him at a rally on Sunday night in Pennsylvania, The Huffington Post has learned.

Christie’s decision will only add to questions among Republicans about what the governor — who is up for reelection a year from now — is thinking, and why he went out of his way to heap praise on the president, and then refused to appear with Romney.

The Romney rally was held at a farm in Morrisville, Pa., not more than 20 minutes from Trenton, the New Jersey capital. The physical proximity of the event to New Jersey only added to questions in the Romney campaign about why Christie chose not to come.

“You can’t tell me he couldn’t have gone over there for a night rally,” a Romney campaign source told HuffPost.

Well, anonymous Romney source, perhaps this is why:

An aide to Christie, who agreed to speak to HuffPost about the governor’s decision in exchange for anonymity, noted that New Jersey still has 700,000 people without power, the state is on an odd-and-even day gasoline rationing system, there is still massive flooding in parts of the state, and many residents remain displaced.

“The entire shore is devastated,” the Christie aide said. “And if you’re here on the ground, you have an appreciation of how tough it is.”

“All in all, it’s a lot of things that require focus. We’re moving toward sort of a new normal here in New Jersey,” the aide said. “The governor’s been pretty clear that his number one priority is the safety and security of New Jerseyans and all his efforts are focused on Hurricane Sandy recovery right now.”

Indeed, although my Dad recovered power Saturday monring, there are still several thousand people in my former hometown without power and several small towns around it where as many as 75-99% of the customers serviced were without power as of that last status update, and this is in an area that is relatively safe distance from the shore and about a hundred miles from where the storm made landfall. That story is repeated in many locations up and down the Jersey coast.

I really don’t know what it is about Christie that these people don’t understand. When the storm hit and it’s full impact became known, he made a commitment to the people of his state. Showing up at a rally in Pennsylvania while 700,000 of them still don’t have power and may of those are still trying to find a way to stay warm as temperatures plunge below freezing would have been breaking his word.

Update: Another Christie adviser, speaking on the record, says that the Romney campaign never contacted the Governor:

Boston (CNN) - An adviser to Chris Christie is flatly denying a report that the New Jersey governor turned down an offer from the Romney campaign to appear at a Sunday night campaign rally in Pennsylvania.

Asked if the Romney campaign extended the invitation, longtime Christie confidante Bill Palatucci answered with a simple “No.”

(…)

Palatucci said no one from the Romney campaign reached out.

“They knew better than to ask given the situation here,” Palatucci told CNN.

Interesting.

Update #2: Christie is denying the report in a Tuesday press conference, and blasting the Romney staffers who made the false claim.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Natural Disasters, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Andrew A says:

    The unattributed Romney aide needs to grow up. Christie has an election to win in 2013 and even discounting that this is one of those rare occasions when the policy and the politics are in perfect alignment. He should be at home governing right now.

    I can just picture the ad: “When New Jersey was underwater Chris Christie was out campaigning for Mitt Romney… Chris Christie: wrong for New Jersey”.

    At this late hour and in these circumstances it just isn’t his job to bail out Romney’s campaign.

  2. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    In case anyone doubted it, we now know that the Romney campaign asked Christie to appear at a rally in Pennsylvania last night and Christie turned them down

    That’s because Obama promised him a phone call with the Boss.
    Romney tried to counter with Ted Nugent…

    Is Christie going the be Huntsman in 2016?

  3. Geek, Esq. says:

    This is the real Mitt Romney. A man who just can’t understand why a governor would foresake electioneering to serve the people of his state.

  4. Phillip says:

    I really don’t know what it is about Christie that these people don’t understand

    Integrity.

  5. Fiona says:

    Christie is doing right by his state.

  6. Ed in NJ says:

    C’mon, Romney has an election tomorrow. The hurricane is so last week. Are those people in NJ still complaining about power? And gasoline?

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @Ed in NJ:

    If you explained to Romney that in some cases these people have lost the use of their car elevators and their show horses are forced to eat generic brand oats, I think he might understand.

  8. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Here’s the revealing quote from the second article:

    “They knew better than to ask given the situation here.”

    In other words: do you really want to go down this road, punk? Dollars to donuts, the Romney asked, got rebuffed, and is too stupid to understand why they don’t want to make that public.

  9. Anderson says:

    “Certifiably insane,” is what Josh Marshall called the campaign’s request.

  10. Buffalo Rude says:

    @PJ:

    That’s because Obama promised him a phone call with the Boss.
    Romney tried to counter with Ted Nugent…

    Haha.

    I don’t much like Christie, his politics and, especially, his past decorum or lack thereof when engaging with some of his constituents. But I will give him credit for realizing the enormity of Superfreak Sandy and that his time is more useful elsewhere. However, if it’s true that Mittens never reached out to Christie and this was just a return “fuck you!” for acknowledging a good working relationship with the President of the Untied States in the midst of a multi-state disaster. . . well, he finally got to meet The Boss. Courtesy of Bammerz, natch. One thing off the bucket list, I guess. He probably should physically remove “compete for GOP POTUS ticket” because now that’s never gonna happen.

  11. Hal 10000 says:

    They note that the rally was “only 20 minutes away from Trenton”. Given security concerns and everything else, you’re still talking *hours* out of the schedule of a man who, as far as I can tell, isn’t sleeping. Weren’t we just hearing how bad it was to go campaigning during a crisis?

  12. mike says:

    Has nothing to do with Chris showering Obama with praise, for doing his damn job! The next day Obama was in Vegas campaigning! Yeah he really cared!@Geek, Esq.:

  13. Anderson says:

    @mike: Oh yes, Obama should’ve just conceded the campaign once the hurricane hit.

    Try to get this into your thick head: Christie isn’t up for reelection tomorrow; Obama is. Makes a difference for their schedules.

  14. Nikki says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    This is the real Mitt Romney. A man who just can’t understand why a governor would foresake electioneering to serve the people of his state.

    Or why a president would do it.

  15. Franklin says:

    Why do I have a feeling that this Christie’s actions over the last week or so will be brought up during the Republican primary in 2016? Hopefully sanity will prevail and the GOP will realize he’s actually doing the right thing right now, but sanity and the GOP mix like a Black & Tan.

  16. jbee123 says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: You did read the part where the Christie advisor went ON the record to say that Romney’s people never invited him right?