When Sen. Rubio questioned Chris Christie’s position on key hot button issues, Chris Christie accused Sen. Rubio of lying about his record. At one point, Gov. Christie said “I stood on the stage and watched Marco look very indignantly at Gov. Bush and say ‘Someone told you that because we’re running for the same office that criticizing me will get you to that office. It appears that the same someone is whispering in old Marco’s ears, too.'” Then Gov. Christie categorically denied that he’d supported gun control, Common Core and Sonia Sotomayor’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Then Gov. Christie denied that he’d written a check to Planned Parenthood.
Sen. Rubio hasn’t backed away from this fight. As a result, Chris Christie’s credibility is taking a beating this weekend. Steve Hayes’ interview with Gov. Christie has damaged Gov. Christie’s credibility. Though it would be wrong to say that Gov. Christie’s credibility is irreparably damaged, it’s accurate to say that he’s sustained lots of damage that won’t be fixed anytime soon. When Hayes asked Gov. Christie about supporting Justice Sotomayor, Gov. Christie responded in part:
My point at the time was, if you remember, there had been significant argument about up and down votes, right? And so, as I remember the context of the conversation it was: Should she get an up or down vote? And I was frustrated by the Democrats refusal at times during the Bush administration to give people and up or down vote – judges both at the circuit court level and above. And so as I recall what I was saying there it was that she deserves an up or down vote.
Gov. Christie can’t even tell the truth there. President Obama nominated Sotomayor in May, 2009. At the time, Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. There was never a chance that she wouldn’t get confirmed because there were 60 Democratic senators, all of whom voted to confirm her. That August, Sotomayor was confirmed with a 68-31 vote.
Later in the interview, he said he wasn’t worried this would hurt his reputation as “a tell-it-like-it-is candidate.” Gov. Christie is getting beaten up pretty good over his denials. On the issue of supporting Justice Sotomayor, Sen. Rubio has incorporated pulling out a sheet of paper with Gov. Christie’s quote saying he supported Justice Sotomayor. Sen. Rubio starts that part of his stump speech by saying that he’s quoting Gov. Christie.
Charles C.W. Cooke’s article for National Review highlights the fact that Gov. Christie’s record on gun control is spotty at best:
First, Christie boasts that he is proud to have signed a bill that deprives New Jerseyans who end up on the “terror watch list” of their Second Amendment rights. And then — as casually as can be — he concedes that there are no due process protections for those who have been affected.
Worse, Christie demonstrates that he “understands” how widespread the problems with the systems are, but indicates that he doesn’t especially care. Having cited the bizarre case of Fox’s Stephen Hayes, Christie admits that “from what I understand, it is a very, very difficult thing to be able to work your way off of it.” It should, he suggests, be “easier.” And yet, when asked whether he thinks his endorsement of the bill was a “mistake,” Christie flatly says “no.” Of course there will be people who are unfairly punished, he proposes. But that that is not a good reason to limit the government’s power.
Specifically, Gov. Christie said that, rather than changing the law, citizens shouldn’t get put on the terror watch list. That’s a frightening, flippant statement. How does a private citizen prevent a bureaucrat from incorrectly putting them on the terror watch list?
Christie was making up ground in New Hampshire prior to these dust-ups. While Gov. Christie’s past support of Planned Parenthood will hurt him there, his support of drastic gun control measures and his support of Justice Sotomayor won’t play well in a state whose motto is “Live free or die.”