December 7th, 2012
08:47 AM ET
5 years ago

Christie defends Obama praise on 'Daily Show'

(CNN) – Chris Christie's praise of President Barack Obama following this fall's devastating storm doesn't mean the acerbic New Jerseyite has changed his ways – it just means Obama got it right.

So said Christie in an interview on "The Daily Show" Thursday, in which the Garden State governor said his past criticism of the president wasn't necessarily at odds with his newfound appreciation for Obama's leadership.

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Jon Stewart questioned Christie on the sudden shift, joking that before the storm the governor was claiming Obama "couldn't lead his way out of a paper bag with a fistful of 20s."

"And then right after the storm was over you were like, 'This man is a leader,'" the comedian continued. "Doesn't that tell you something about the game?"

Christie countered: "What it tells me is that people have different skill sets at different times."

"I see. So he wasn't a leader until you needed leadership," Stewart probed.

Christie, in a signature retort, shot back: "Maybe until he was presented with a stark opportunity to lead."

While the storm may have given Obama a "stark opportunity to lead," it also presented Christie with a chance to display both bipartisanship and effectiveness as governor. He said his skyrocketing approval ratings – which stood above 70% in some polls taken after the storm – were likely due to his storm response, but that they'd come back down to Earth in the coming weeks.

"Some people believe, or a lot of people believe, that I reacted in a way that they found pleasing in the storm, that I showed leadership. But I also know that all that's temporary. You go way up and then you go back down," Christie said.

And while the Republican governor admitted the storm had "humbled" him in certain ways, he said his sharp tongue wasn't going anywhere.

"I'll be very harsh of people who I think are out of line or stupid," he said by way of defense against Stewart, who questioned whether Christie's confrontational tone hurt his chances of accomplishing important compromises.

"I don't mince words," Christie said, adding that trait didn't make him "non-humble, it makes me honest."

That forthright attitude had Stewart looking ahead: "You and Hillary are going to have a hell of a battle in 2016," he said. "People are so starved. The beautiful thing about the Republican Party now is it's so starved for leadership like that."

Christie glossed right over the mention of a presidential bid – something he considered in the 2012 cycle but ultimately bypassed. He did get one last jab in, however, aimed both at his host and at himself.

"I think it's really unfair that you look at me and say starved at the same time," Christie said.

Filed under: Chris Christie
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Squigman

    It's a shame that this is an issue. Why can't someone by respectful and praise another person, without someone in this nation getting their nose out of joint about it. What a childish way to view the world. Shows no dignity at all.

    December 7, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. Debby

    I would never vote for this man. They are still in a big mess in NJ and its moving as slow as mollasses. He got his photo opp with Obama and nixed any help from Romney. A turncoat at best thats all this man is.

    December 7, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |

    Christie criticizes Obama when he feels the President is wrong and praises him when he feels the President is right. What in the hell do you Republicans want from him, the same kind of dishonesty rampant in the GOP these days? I hope he does become a Democrat because we admire his genuine passion for truth and his compassion for the people who are suffering in New Jersey and the rest of the NorthEast. Americans who fault Christie for this needs to examine their priorities.

    December 7, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Observer

    Except for those Republicans who don't want our nation to come together to fix problems, Christie has likely shot up in popularity with independents and even Democrats.

    December 7, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Bill

    I can assure you that the democrats do not want Mr. Christie to become a democrat. Overall, he will not support your ideals. Unfortunately for Mr. Christie, he provided support to Obama at the worst possible time and it will cost him. If he has aspirations for a higher office in politics, he'll need to become a democrat as he burned his bridge in the republican arena.

    December 7, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Woman In California

    "I see. So he wasn't a leader until you needed leadership," Stewart probed.

    Christie, in a signature retort, shot back: "Maybe until he was presented with a stark opportunity to lead."

    The same can and was said about you fatso. You weren't considered a good leader until your bipartisianship with the president during the storm or did you not know that?

    December 7, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Expat American

    Classy move by Christie. It was refreshing to see the Governor and the President coming together to work for the people of NJ.

    December 7, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    @ Lynda/Minnesota:

    don't know ... it might just be me ... I just don't see Chris Christie as a party leader.

    Neither do I.

    Many are called but FEW are chosen.

    December 7, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  9. Kweso

    Let's just say that Christie learned how to lead by shadowing Obama during the storm.

    December 7, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. sss

    Rednecks = Repuplicans

    December 7, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. ritmocojo

    " He got his photo opp with Obama and nixed any help from Romney."

    And in what form would that "help" from Romney been, in your mind? Do you think he would've dug into his accounts in the Cayman Islands or Luxembourg and showered the people of N.J. with money?
    Or do you think Romney could've mobilized the National Guard and Red Cross and sent them into the disaster areas?
    Romney was not the prez then, nor is he now, nor will he ever be. Period.

    December 7, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. CBR

    When a members of one political party cannot praise a member of another political party we have all gotten way too partisan. Governor Christie did what he thought was correct and was correct. The President went to NJ and offered help to those whose lives were effected by Hurricane Sandy. Both men thanked one another as it should be.

    Funny when Mr. Romney went to LA directly after the Republican national convention no one said anything. Could that be because the governor of LA is a Republican? It was a gesture on the part of Mr. Romney who had just received the Republican nomination.

    It would be lovely to have one story appear without all this rancor.

    December 7, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. StoptheBS

    I must say his praise does make me view him in a slightly different light. Giving credit where it's due and not complaining or choosing the opposite view of anything & everything that Obama does (I guess just because) reveals a mind that's thinking rationally.

    December 7, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Christie's popularity in NJ is also due in part to the fact that the bar was set so low. Christie was preceded by some rank rotten Democratic governers. Both were tied up in scandals. Corzi has had multi-billion dollar financial troubles. Forgot the guy's name before Corzi, but he had some serious marital problems.

    In other words, a Republican got elected because NJ was sick of Democrats. And as long as Christie stays out of trouble and scandals, which isn't hard, he should remain popular because the bar has been set so low.

    December 7, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. Big_D

    They immediately called Christie gay. How mature of Rush Lameboydrugaddict.

    December 7, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Funk

    As an (I) NPA voter...he has EARNED my respect, despite my lack of approval for his obvious personal health issues.

    December 7, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  17. Blue Dog

    Well, before deciding to vote for Christie, Garden State folks should wait and see if this bi-partisanship lasts or its just puppy-love on actually getting to know Obama as a person.

    December 7, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. me

    Repubs would be better off doing the opposite of what they do. ALL THE TIME

    December 7, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. avalanche

    Bush and the Democrat Governor and Mayor got into a finger pointing match during Katrina and they all lost. It always hurts to be in a car wreck regardless of whose fault it is.

    Christie and Obama were smart enough to know that it was better to pretend everything was great. The media fell in line and they both have come out unscathed. Its only the people who got hurt.

    December 7, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. Jim McDonald

    Sorry Christie; I would have gone to war on your behalf at one time – but now your dead to me.

    December 7, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. Facts don't Lie

    @ Rick McDaniel about Christie NIOT being a conservative

    if YOU are an example of what a conservative is supposed to be then thank GOD I am not one also. Now back to your world of doom and paranoia where the only station is FoxNews.

    December 7, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. CARLOS

    You POS you're done, you might as well become a demorat.

    December 7, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  23. Pete

    It's funny how someone on the right says something positive about our first black president and he's admonished,critized because he spoke the truth,just pathedic..Pres.Obama never said anything bad about anyone even republicans,he's not that type of person,not vandictive,not negetive even when all these obstructionists ,you know the angry white racist ones couldn't wait to see him defeated by the Mormon moron.But it didn't happen did it and now most republicans have to eat crow and work with the same person they tried to send home past November,isn't politics fun especially when you've won ,right!!

    December 7, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. Lairds

    Good for Christie. He has done a heck of lot better than NY. Its hardly pertinent what anyone says on the Daily Show. Its good for a laugh like leno and letterman.

    December 7, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald dump ??????

    What ? If your in the gop you can't praise
    Your president ,the president of the USA ???? That one reason you lost the. Elections and rover norquest didn't help !!!!!

    December 7, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
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