June 4th, 2013
04:24 PM ET
1 year 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. willy

    I think Obama did the Jedi mind meld on him.

    June 5, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. HMB

    What an example they set for our children, talking that way. We should expect our public servants to behave in a more dignified way.

    June 5, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Peggy

    Gov. Christie is in a no-win situation. If he appoints a Republican, the Democrats will accuse him of party politics. Since he is letting the voters decide, member of his own party accuse him of being a traitor because he didn't appoint a Republican. I am not a citizen of New Jersey, but if I was I would say he did the right thing for his state.

    June 5, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. Virginia

    the liberals knew Christie wouldn't want to take sides, and the Republicans would turn against him for it...there for a democrat will be elected and they will say a Republican place him there...simple as that...Governor Christie was set up...on this one...

    June 5, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. sam

    And even more. Ted Cruz, of Tx is asking to abolish the IRS. How insane the Republicans are. They continue their Terrorist efforts against Obama.

    June 5, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    nomoretraitors

    My question is why appoint someone until October? Why not just appoint someone and have that person serve out the remainder of Lautenberg's term, or have the election right now?
    -----------------
    There things known as state laws, which define the procedures to be followed. That way, someone cannot simply do anything they feel like. To change the October date, Christie would have to change the statute.

    June 5, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. josebear5

    Yes the dems are up front about the storm in nj they add so much pork to the storm relief > The only reason Obama came there was because it was election year.

    June 5, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. rayray

    He's going to run for president. He'll point to this as an example of him rising above party politics. He is making the calculation that he can survive the primaries running as a centrist conservative rather than a full on right winter, and that will make him more appealing as a general election candidate. I think his reaction to Obama during Sandy was a part of that calculus (although i don't doubt that he was genuinely thankful).

    Overall i think this will play well with independents and conservative dems, which is where republicans need to make progress.

    June 5, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. Lou

    ART – that is the biggest problem; voters wait for our elected officials to crawl back to where they came from...all we have to do is vote them out. The majority of voters don't have a clue, unfortunately!

    June 5, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. ChristieforPOTUS

    Good for your Chris. I'd vote for you.

    June 5, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. dre

    Two republicans for which I had high hopes...down the drain. Christie for this and for kissing Obama's derriere after the storm, and Rubio for believing in the tooth fairy (aka thinking perhaps the earth was created in 7 days). Unreal.

    June 5, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Dinka

    I HATE the political party game – I have already said that it's a big part of what is ruining our government.

    PROPS to Christie for handing the decision to the people. Surprise, surprise: that's how it's SUPPOSED to be done.

    June 5, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Dan

    Doesn't matter, He's a chicken and money-waster. He called a special election for 3 weeks before an already scheduled election that he will appear on for reelection. He's scared that people will be voting for a popular democrat for senate at the same time he hopes they'll vote for him. The result, a separate Wednesday election for just the senate rather than combining them costing taxpayers millions.

    June 5, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Rev

    ".' 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."

    This is exactly what is wrong with politics these days. Most politicians will cheat their way into office or to gain favor. Christie is doing exactly what is right towards the people. That settles it, Christie for president 2016.

    June 5, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Pete

    Jake Tapper should ask POTUS if he gave the order to "Stand Down" to the assets that were ready to go help those at the embassy in Bengazi.. Instead it took 8 days to get US CIA there leaving plenty of time for the enemy to take all the computers and secret docs. CNN got there quicker. All part of the plan to weaken America. THe assets may have been able to rescue the SEALS or secure the compound.

    June 5, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. Straight Ahead Indie

    It's great to see a politician of any party show some respect for the democratic process and the wishes of the voters. Dick Armey should slink back to his toxic waste dump after making this shameful anti-American comment.

    June 5, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Gordon

    The senator who passed away, Frank Lautenberg, was a Democrat who was elected by the citizens of New Jersey. If he passed away, why shouldn't the voters be allowed to elected a replacement as soon as possible?

    The Republicans are the ones who are suffering from debilitating stupidity for continuing down this road of party politics by openly advocating abusing an political opportunity as opposed to interest of the people. The day of reckoning for these neo-con Republicans has already begun. Sure they will continue to be elected as there will always be rural areas where ultra-social conservatives dominate but as a whole, they will be pushed further to the fringe with each passing election cycle. The shifting demography certainly doesn't help them. All I can say is good riddence and not soon enough.

    June 5, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. cliffintex

    As a republican, I can agree that we'd like to have the majority in the senate. However, for Gov. Christie to do what is clearly the right thing and have republicans jump all over him for it is very sad. Note that even Armey says that Christie shouldn't "play fair". I may not agree with everything the Gov does but I sure applaud his move here. We need more folks that "play fair".

    June 5, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. Elwood

    Interesting ... so other Republicans characterize trying to do the right thing with "debilitating stupidity". I guess I was right about them. Their standards really ARE "whatever gets us more power is good, regardless of what's right". (Yeah, Democrats, I know he picked the date to help bolster his own re-election chances, but at least he did give you a choice rather than just doing the "smart" thing and appointing a Republican)

    June 5, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. TomInRochNY

    Your statements show why you are no longer in the halls of power, Dick.

    June 5, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. VoteYes

    He should have picked a fellow Republican to serve out the term. He could have picked a middle of the road type.

    June 5, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. Elwood

    Interesting ... so other Republicans characterize trying to do the right thing with "stupidity". I guess I was right about them. Their standards really ARE "whatever gets us more power is good, regardless of what's right". (Yeah, Democrats, I know he picked the date to help bolster his own re-election chances, but at least he did give you a choice rather than just doing the "smart" thing and appointing a Republican)

    June 5, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. Elwood

    Interesting ... so other Republicans consider trying to do the right thing as showing a lack of intelligence. I guess I was right about them. Their standards really ARE "whatever gets us more power is good, regardless of what's right". (Yeah, Democrats, I know he picked the date to help bolster his own re-election chances, but at least he did give you a choice rather than just doing the "smart" thing and appointing a Republican)

    June 5, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. nurse

    As an indepedent, I support his move for people over party. Much respect for him.

    June 5, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. John

    Why would anyone, in any party, care about a temporary replacement for a few months? This statement is a total diversion from the real issue- the special election. A special election Christie has set up for a reason, a political reason. He does not want Democrat voters showing up in volume on Nov. 4th because that is when he is up for election, so he has them voting 3 weeks earlier on Oct. 14. Everyone knows a Democrat will win that Senate spot. He doesn't want to compete with that. And by the way- that special election to save 3 stupid weeks will cost $24 million dollars. If we just waited until Nov. 4th it wouldn't cost anything extra. But, yeah...no one wants to report that part.

    June 5, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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