June 4th, 2013
04:24 PM ET
11 months 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. Lynda/Minnesota

    Just thought I'd point out that no matter what Christie thinks he's accomplishing with this special election of his - whether he is doing it because he hopes the voters don't see through his shenanigans of calling for a 24 million dollar special election in hopes of keeping Democrats away from the NOVEMBER polling booths by giving them an early OCTOBER election to replace the vacated NJ Senate seat, thereby helping himself by keeping the vote for a DEMOCRATIC Senator vote OFF the November ballot - I would never vote for him. He is not presidential material. A functioning Governor of New Jersey ... perhaps. President of the United States ... no.

    He is not - and never will be - a Statesman. A laugh a minute? Yes, Chris Christie is that. A Statesman, though? I think not.

    June 5, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. Linda

    There is only one person suffering from debilitating stupidity, Dick Armey. I am a proud democrat, but I would consider voting for Chris Christie. Honesty Man, Honesty Politician. Way to go!

    June 5, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. JakeF

    If Christie wants to be president, he's making the right decisions to make sure that he is. IF the GOP is smart enough to make him the nominee, he will be our next president. IF they continue to allow their party to be hijacked by the fringe, it's going to be a very long decade.

    /this independent applauds his bipartisanship

    June 5, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. jw

    why are GOP leaders like this one, SO MEAN and SOUR. NO ONE wants the party of SOUR GRAPES anymore.. you guys are just no fun, and mean and bigoted. SEE YA.

    June 5, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. pat carr

    Dick Armey is indeed deserving of his own first name. Whining that Christie is doing what's fair as opposed to what the repukelicans want just shows his character. He shows what the GOP really has become

    June 5, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  6. Jeff Cox

    It's hardly a stupid move ... and I'm not even talking about Christie personally.

    He's looking out for the Republican party within the state of NJ. Cory Booker is a sure bet to run for the Senate seat vacated by Lautenberg's death. That means more Democrats ... and a better chance the Democrats running for state-wide seats will be able to ride his coattails into Trenton.

    By calling for a special election that'll be independent of the regular election, Christie eliminates any ancillary benefit the Democrats might have received from a strong Booker presence.

    Best move in the long term for the Republican party ... and more in line with the overall approach they've taken in recent years – gain at the state level and the national level will follow.

    And why the conservative Republicans decrying this move can't see that is totally beyond me – talk about "debilitating stupidity"! If anyone's exhibiting that, it's those people!

    My opinion.

    June 5, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. Bassmaster22

    Heaven forbid that the people get to make a decision that affects government. He did the right thing. This is either a deomocracy or it is not.
    Stripping democracy away because the "bill" is to high defeats the purpose of being a democracy.

    June 5, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. thelightofday

    this is a perfect example of how out-of-touch the gop leadership is with mainstream americans....the TRUTH is that mainstream americans ADMIRE AND RESPECT christies decision, because it is the ETHICALLY CORRECT thing to do......i will vote for christie precisely because of decions like this one...

    June 5, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  9. Bob

    I disagree with Arney's opinion. He running soon and the people of both parties will vote. Him letting the people decide will bring the left wing to his side. He will appoint a republican to full the time before the election to show party line partisanship. He won votes by be being buddy buddy with the President, which I'm sure he loves dearly. He also won votes when he explained the reason for knocking down a rail project that was not fair to New Jersey. I wish he was the Governor in Minnesota.

    June 5, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  10. mags

    Ohhhh, that's cute!!! The man who could not learn to do a 30 second sound bite even with a gun in his ear is calling out Christie??? Shucks! That's what I call jealousy.

    June 5, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. md22mdrx

    If Christie's action was "all roses" ... then he'd have the special election ON THEIR ELECTION DAY. There's ZERO reason to have it 3 weeks before outside of trying to avoid more dems at the polls. It's a waste of about 12 million dollars this way. Why is he doing it if it weren't for political reasons?
    Now I commend him for not just appointing a republican to replace a democrat that the PEOPLE voted for .... but he's still playing politics here.

    June 5, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  12. md22mdrx

    Christie is STILL playing politics here ...

    Why isn't the special election on their actual election day ... which is only about 3 weeks later? Why spend the extra ~12 million dollars to have it by itself? While I commend him for not just appointing a republican to a democrat seat (the people obviously wanted a dem in there) ... it still smells fishy in New Jersey.

    June 5, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. mikeinthevine

    That's right Dick, why follow the wishes of the electorate that had elected a Democrat in the first place. You were a sleezeball when you were in congress. You're still a sleezeball.

    June 5, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. jenniferm004

    "Debilitating stupidity" is a great phrase to describe Dick Armey, if he can't see that ALL voters now perceive Christie as fair, impartial and statesmanlike.

    June 5, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  15. anchorite

    If Christie played politics for his party more than he thought about his people NJ would still be flattened by the storms. He's his own man, and although he's GOP, I think there's a lot about him for Democrats to emulate.

    June 5, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. Politics Above The Law - BAD

    Armey, like many politiicans, puts PARTY over COUNTRY – it is high time those people left the scene! Vote for the best person – not a party. Party politics is OVER.

    June 5, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  17. DoubleW

    So in the modern Republican party, deferring to the will of the people equates to "stupidity."
    OK, got it.

    June 5, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  18. Galileo Galileo

    This statement alone tells everyone that the Republicans don't even see themselves as "The Good Guys".

    "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."

    June 5, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. SkepticalOne

    And everybody in the GOP except Christie remains clueless.

    June 5, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. MakeABuck

    I support Christie. He is a TRUE republican and willing to play fair for the people. What a GREAT leader and an inspiring human being. NJ has rebuilt so fast under hist watch. Can't wait to see what he does next.

    June 5, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. Gary

    Great logic. Be partisan because the other party would have done it if they had the chance then accuse the other party of being wrong. Mandatory Term Limits.

    June 5, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. Kevin Carroll

    "Friends he is not going to get"? Are you nuts Armey? Christie is the only Republican that has shown both enough sense and intelligence that I'd vote for him. Go Christie! . . . and yeah God Bless you.

    June 5, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. laughing

    It's laughable that Dick Armey is calling anyone debilitatingly stupid. Although the "special" election may be a waste of money, I'm glad to see that Christie doesn't forsake his people for the sake of his party. Cleary the people of New Jersey favor the democratic ideology over that of the conservative, and to insert a fellow party member for the entire remainder of the term would have been a backstab to his state. He was put in a terrible position here, and made the best of it. bravo Christie

    June 5, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  24. Pat in il

    Ramey is definitely the one with "debilitating stupidity" and severe lack of leadership ability. Christie made the right decision for his constituents. He is smart enough to know that the government is of and for all people, not just a few with narrow, hateful, and not very well thought out agendas.

    June 5, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. Grumpster

    It's the GOP with the debilitating stupidity. After all, now they want to cut DC judges because Obama presented 3 of them...and they don't want any, so rather than fight it, they will just work to cut the positions out. Makes me furious.

    June 5, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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