June 4th, 2013
04:24 PM ET
2 years ago

Christie accused of 'debilitating stupidity' after election decision

(CNN) - Gov. Chris Christie's decision to set a special election this year to fill New Jersey's vacant Senate seat wasn't met with open arms Tuesday by a fellow Republican, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead," Armey accused the governor of trying to curry favor with Democrats by not appointing a Republican to the seat until 2014. He'll name an interim senator by next week to serve until the special election.

"All Christie has to do is appoint a Republican. That's the correct move for him to make," Armey said. "Now, I put it down as debilitating stupidity. The first rule of politics is 'Don't lose the friends you already have for the friends you're never going to get.' And if he thinks the Democrats are going to love him for being the guy who plays fair rather than takes the political opportunity he's crazy."

A Democratic governor would have "seized the opportunity" and appointed a senator from his own party, Armey argued Tuesday.

"People that run for office in politics make political decisions rather than policy decisions often commit debilitating stupidity," Armey said. "Most often it's done by the left, but frequently done by Republicans as well."

Until last year, Armey served as the chairman of the conservative, tea party-aligned group FreedomWorks.


Filed under: Chris Christie • Dick Armey
soundoff (1,230 Responses)
  1. cebundy

    I love that Armey phrased it: .' And if he thinks the Democrats are going to love him for being the guy who plays fair rather than takes the political opportunity he's crazy.". So the GOP leaders know that they do not "play fair". I guess they figure Americans embraces "unfairness". But I think that Americans, on the whole, do appreciate someone that plays fair.

    June 4, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. NMACT

    Right now, Christie is the only Republican that might bring me back to the GOP. The party has become such an embarassment that I have not been able to vote for any of their candidates for years.

    June 4, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  3. wirius

    Awesome. This is the way politics should be. He may be from the other party, but I respect him highly as an office holder. I'm a dem, but an individuals integrety goes a long way toward voting for the other side.

    June 4, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Seth

    With all of the republicans President Obama has chosen to serve in his cabinet as a show of goodwill and you people have the nerve to ask these stupid questions. I would vote for Christie simply because his own has turned on him. We need more politicians like the President and him. This country would be much better off.

    June 4, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  5. Bill Lomee

    This coming from Dick Armey who first said ,"As long as Saddam Hussein is not a threat beyond his borders he poses no threat to the U.S.". Only to be a tool for Dick Cheney and change his mind about the War in Iraqi and 6600 U.S.Troops died because of "Debilitating stupidity".(Not to mention military fatigue suicides and 10's of thousands of Iraqis)

    June 4, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. Foxrepublican

    I give Christie credit for trying to be fair in this Armey is the guy that left the Tea Party with 8 million, it's all about the money for him.

    June 4, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  7. Maxx

    Funny, the democratic governor of Massachusetts didn't appoint a Senator, he held a special election – so apparently it's a republican thing to ignore the will of the people.

    June 4, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  8. ziggydoda

    Dick Armey can have a seat.

    June 4, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  9. kcrobinson

    Christie didn't really have a shot at the Republican nomination before this, and appointing a Republican to office wouldn't have saved it. What he did do, however, is make himself more loved within his own state. By putting himself above the political games, he bolstered his chances of his own reelection for NJ governor.

    June 4, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  10. Ghostwriter

    I don't agree with the Fat Mack on much, but I do give him props for standing on his own two feet. A tough Jersey guy all the way.

    There's a time for politricks and a time to play it straight. I can respect a man who knows the difference. Not quite ready to jump on the bandwagon. But if he's elected, I wouldn't feel that bad. Way better than the last two bunches and leaps and bounds better than the current crop.

    But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Being the smartest GOP'er is like winning a $1 on Powerball. Or like being the valedictorian(sp) of your GED class.

    June 4, 2013 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. Bruce Eder

    Dick Armey just doesn't get it - New Jersey voters haven't sent a Republican to the US Senate since 1972, and they would hold it against Christie if he had done what Armey proposes, and give any Democrat a potential wedge issue this November. Christie would be committing a suicidal act in terms of his governorship - as well as inviting potentially embarrassing lawsuits by the Democrats - if he did what Armey is suggesting.

    June 4, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. Buckhippo

    Christie is doing the right thing because he is gearing up for a presidential run. He needs to lay that foundation now and he knows that the Republican brand is a failure to its core. If there is one person who can turn the republicans into a modern brand, it's this guy. Armey is old school is is upset because he is getting schooled like all other republicans. Way to go Christie! I have voted Dem in the last several elections but you are one I would strongly consider switching to. Well done sir.

    June 4, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. don

    As a democrat its great to see a politition putting country ahead of partys. way to go chris.

    June 4, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. SRM in Rochester

    Of course the GOP is howling over Gov. Christie's actions – he's the only national politian who is demonstrating any integrity or intelligence. Am I a Republican? No. But I am seriously considering supporting Gov. Christie if he decides to run.

    June 4, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. Michael

    It's not about doing what the republicans want, it's about doing what the people of his STATE want. Armey just doesn't get it, and he doesn't do his party any favors by making comments like this.

    June 4, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. gopferalaff

    "All Christie has to do is appoint a Republican. That's the correct move for him to make."

    I think it's the sheer apolitical, substantive argument Armey makes, that makes it all just so persuasive. Goldwater would be just so, gosh, proud of today's GOP.

    June 4, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  17. allens

    i think armey is the one with the intelligence issues. everything for the party, nothing for the people. we all know who the repubs are and that will keep them out of office

    June 4, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  18. Bill in Florida

    Dick Armey and his fellow TPers are the epitome of stupidity.

    June 4, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  19. Carl

    Duh, does Christie love Obama? Yes, they are a perfect match. I think Obama will be play the role of man in that relationship.

    June 4, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  20. Erik

    It may not get him many Democratic votes, but the man is continually gaining my respect. Has anyone considered that he just wanted to do what felt right to him and let the people decide who should get the seat?

    June 4, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  21. Mike

    It's about time we had a grown-up in politics again.... I may not always agree with him, but I can't help but respect Gov. Christie!

    June 4, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  22. James Poster

    Dick Armey sounds as debilitatingly stupid as his name does.

    June 4, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  23. camaro guy

    Christie is NUTS!

    June 4, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  24. VEW2012

    This is why people like Christie...whether you vote for him, or not, you respect him for doing the right thing. Armey however is just a sleazy political hack.

    June 4, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  25. MaryM

    OMG, Dick Armey, really? Gov Christie, you made the correct decision

    June 4, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
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