January 20th, 2014
09:48 AM ET
9 months ago

Christie: 'I haven't enjoyed the last 11 days'

(CNN) - Chris Christie told a large group of Republican donors that he's "being tested" by a couple of controversies that have the embattled New Jersey governor fighting to regain his political momentum.

Christie's comments came Sunday night, as he met with some of the GOP's top financial backers, a meeting that could be critical for Christie as he seriously considers a run for the White House in 2016. And according to one attendee at the private get-together at the home of Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone, Christie was received warmly by the donors.

"I haven't enjoyed last 11 days; no sane person would. I'm being tested," Christie said, according to Ana Navarro, a CNN contributor and Republican strategist who attended the event. "Life presents challenges for all of us. You have to deal with them," added Christie, who brought up the controversies without prompting from his audience.

The event at the gated golf community in North Palm Beach, Florida, was Christie's last of the weekend following a series of fundraisers Saturday for GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who faces a tough re-election campaign this year in the Sunshine State. Christie was in Florida in his role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, but Sunday's meet and greet was for Christie.

Christie's travel to Florida was his first political swing since he apologized at a news conference a week and a half ago for the closure of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge for four days in September, which caused massive traffic jams on the New Jersey side of the nation's busiest bridge. Christie fired a senior aide and other associates who appear to be connected to the access lane closures have left their jobs. The lane closings appear to be political payback to the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who declined to endorse Christie's re-election last year.

Christie is also facing allegations that he improperly used some Superstorm Sandy relief funds to produce New Jersey tourism TV commercials that starred him and his family.

As Christie arrived in Florida on Saturday, another controversy broke: The Democratic Mayor of Hoboken claimed the Governor used Superstorm Sandy recovery funds as leverage over a development project stalled in the city across the Hudson River from New York. The multiple controversies are the biggest political test Christie has faced in his career.

Christie's Sunday events - a gathering of about 150 donors at Langone's home and a larger reception in front of around 750 people at a clubhouse at the development where Langone's home is located - came on friendly ground. According to Navarro, Christie made a good first impression with some of the donors, many of whom he had never met.

Navarro said that Christie pushed back on talk of 2016 and the next presidential race, with the governor saying, "My answer on 2016 is the same to everybody: Come see me next year," adding that, "This year I'm going to work on doing what's right for the people of New Jersey and I'm going to help get Republican governors get elected."

A day makes a difference

Navarro says there was a remarkable difference between Christie's appearance and demeanor between Saturday and Sunday. She said the Governor appeared rested and more upbeat on Sunday, and that he got a haircut.

"I was finally able to get some rest," Navarro said Christie told her on Sunday.

Langone, a longtime Christie friend and supporter, in 2011 led a group of establishment Republicans who urged the Governor to make a late entry into the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination. Christie declined to get into the race instead in the autumn 2011 backed Mitt Romney's bid for the White House, becoming one of the former Massachusetts' governor's most high profile surrogates on the campaign trial.

While never a favorite with many on the right, who make up much of the party's base and are very influential in the GOP presidential primaries and caucuses, some in the Republican donor class had already begun, in recent months, to strongly consider Christie as the most electable potential candidate in 2016 who could return the GOP to the White House.

But Navarro says the recent controversies are putting everything on hold, adding that "donors are pushing the pause button on Christie on 2016. Nobody's ready to get on board, but nobody's running away from Christie either. This buys time for the donors, for other potential candidates, and it gives Christie time to set the ship straight in New Jersey."


Filed under: 2016 • Chris Christie • Florida • New Jersey • RGA
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. sifto

    Rudy NYC–glad you are privy to all of the "facts" that no one else knows...right down to the dollar amount....what a genius...

    January 20, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. current state of the union

    Where there's smoke, there's fire, his office building looks like Marion Barry' s hotel room!

    January 20, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. Jesse

    If you thought the last 11 days were awful, wait until you see the next 6 months, liar. feel like the Titanic much?

    January 20, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. Thomas

    Rick McDaniel
    Christie should have known the Dems would attack, when he started to beat Hillary in the polls. There is NOTHING honorable about Democrats /

    Benghazi , Benghazi , Benghazi ,

    Rick , your slipping

    January 20, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    -sifto

    "As the plot thickens" is my daily soap for the day..many tales..no evidence or conclusions..Meanwhile, New Jersey is one of the best run states in the union thanks to Gov Christie...he got relief funds by being bipartisan for his state at the risk of alienating his party..too bad people are biting the hand that fed them....tune in later for the next episode...meanwhile, MSM are busy talking about MO's latest expensive party...and ignoring the many federal scandals....
    ***************
    " No evidence or conclusions"? The evidence are the emails that were released indicating a coordinated repsonse between Christie's cronys for political payback on anyone who did not go along with his adminstration. How could they be interpreted any other way? These are not shadowy figures, these are public officials who abused their positions

    January 20, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    sifto

    Rudy NYC–glad you are privy to all of the "facts" that no one else knows...right down to the dollar amount....what a genius...
    ------------------
    Mayor Zimmer cited a dollar amount in her interview that broadcast on Saturday. Any more genius questions?

    January 20, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. rs

    Rick McDaniel
    Christie should have known the Dems would attack, when he started to beat Hillary in the polls. There is NOTHING honorable about Democrats.
    __________________
    Oh, I wouldn't worry Rick. All of the GOP's old lies about the Clintons: Whitewater, murders, suicides, selling secrets to the Chinese, Vince Foster and all the other stupidity will get trotted out again, and there will be plenty for you to bloviate upon. Besides, Christie wasn't going to be the GOP's choice- never was he is too pragmatic.

    January 20, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. rs

    sifto
    "As the plot thickens" is my daily soap for the day..many tales..no evidence or conclusions..Meanwhile, New Jersey is one of the best run states in the union thanks to Gov Christie.."
    ____________
    Ahhh, the delusion of the Right on display. Well, there is plenty of evidence, as well as criminality (go block a lane of your favorite local Interstate highway and let us know how that works), not to mention a death. Yup, NJ is so well run, that even without the Governor's permission (right!), his minions can cause a city to become a parking lot for 4 days for kicks and giggles.
    Your problem is that you live in that Right-wing echo chamber where you make stuff up as you go, and repeat until you all believe it.

    January 20, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. sifto

    Rudy NYC..I will wait for facts..not something the accuser said to a TV station while under stress from her Party...thanks for the unproven information, anyway...

    January 20, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. king

    now you feel a little of what obama have been going through for the past 5 years, with your rabid right winged party, who doesn't seem to ease up of their constant campaign to undermined everything this president does, with their irrational obstructions, and constant fake scandals to kick him out of office, for no logical reasons, other than hes the first black president. maybe they will ease up a little and allow this president to do his job for the american people,.

    January 20, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. just me

    Sifto, Rudys' facts are correct. He got them by reading about rhe sybject. With a little work, you can own these facts too! It's the American way. So get busy, loafer.

    January 20, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    sifto

    Rudy NYC..I will wait for facts..not something the accuser said to a TV station while under stress from her Party...thanks for the unproven information, anyway...
    --------------------------–
    Zimmer's not a Republican. Why would she lie about something as easily proven, or disproven, as that? Why did the Governor's office claim that Hoboken has been given $70 million and cannot prove it? Money has been allocated, but has yet to be distributed. Something is holding it all up. Zimmer has an explanation, while the Governor's office doesn't.

    January 20, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  13. Wake up People!

    I love the GOP. They can manufacture faux scandals for years but the moment they are implicated in a real one, it's a witch hunt.

    I can't believe Fox-lite is covering this real scandal so well.

    January 20, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. g

    reagan got 300 plus killed in lebanon and cut and ran

    January 20, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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