January 20th, 2014
09:48 AM ET
6 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. Wake up People!

    There he goes playing the victim. I bet he hasn't missed a meal though.

    January 20, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    When Palin got in trouble with the gotcha question, "what do you read," she blamed lame stream media. With bridge gate, Fox blamed Obama while Krispy blamed MSM for reporting the e mails. Now, it will be interesting if all e mails, all cell phones, all hard drives will be made available. I think they are long gone.

    January 20, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. current state of the union

    I have a feeling the next 11 aren't going to be a picnic either. more will come out, all to be quickly dismissed as a witch hunt, hang on big guy, this is your ride Rudy g can't help you.

    January 20, 2014 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.

    January 20, 2014 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. Wake up People!

    I'll bet you haven't chubbs. I can't wait to see you shown for the overblown bully you really are.

    January 20, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. 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.

    January 20, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    hristie'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,...... .....
    --------------------
    Wrong. I didn't hear Christie apologize for any actions on his part. He offered no apologies to those incomvienced by the massive delays that the lane closures caused. He only apologized for the actions of his aides, "who lied to me." "I'm embarassed." "I am humiliated." He stopped just short of claiming that he was a victim, too.

    January 20, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. Larry in Houston

    hey Chris – hate to be a bearer of bad tidings, but you & your "bridgegate" & "sandy" has been sucking up all the air in every news channel & every news station there is, not to mention all the sunday talk shows....

    You need to ask your self the question : even though you won re-election, do you think the voters that put you IN, Trust you anymore ? In addition to the fact that they may be sorry for Voting for a republican Gov. in a very Blue State.....The next Issue is this : How long will this debacle go on ? And, one last Question : How is this going to affect your Governor ship, in the next 4 yrs ? ( as far as getting things done, for the people in your state)

    January 20, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I haven't enjoyed last 11 days; no sane person would.
    -------------------------------------------------
    It would appear by all reports that some of your mayors haven't enjoyed at least some parts of the last 4 years under your governorship.
    They might also be of the mind that "no sane person would".

    January 20, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. 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....

    January 20, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    You may want to stay down there in Florida until this whole thing blows over. That'll probably be a few months from now. You better get all the rest you can because the subpoena for your records is coming soon.

    January 20, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hoboken, Jersey City, Fort Lee and nobody has even stepped up to the witness stand mike yet...
    Agita.

    January 20, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  13. Robert McNamara

    Gov Christie needs to spend the rest of his life in Federal prison. But it won't happen. Just like Pres. Nixon major crimes no time.

    January 20, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    Every GOP rival to Christie will be playing footage of these scandals/issues in the primaries: it will make the attacks on Romney look like child's play, because these strike at the heart of Christie's whole reason for running, namely truth and integrity. If he wins the nod, all the Democrats have to do is hit rewind, and the ads get played over and over again irregardless of whether or not he " rights the ship" in NJ. The image of him being nothing more than a partisan hack who cannot control his staff will be etched in everyone's mind.

    January 20, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. tee

    Of course not. They are not meant for you to have your usual expensive, lavish meals, private jet/copter rides, and nights at the waldorf. The days just happen to be the time span of an investigation into your corruption.

    January 20, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  16. jinx9to88

    Christie is about to put all that weight he lost back on due to this stress. haha.

    January 20, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Tony

    Even if Christie was completely unaware of what members of his staff were doing, which defies belief, it still begs the question: why was Christie completely unaware of what they were doing?

    January 20, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    I'm glad to hear he's finally been able to get some rest. Or whatever. Trying to explain to the billionaire club
    why they should waste billions of dollars endorsing him has got to be exhausting. Especially for a man
    whose ego is ... well ... you get the picture.

    January 20, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. YUCK

    Remember once a lobbiest hits the sidewalks they have too obey the LAW,I'm surprise that alot of these lobbiest and politicians lie and break the law,they too should be facing time in federal prison,because nobody is above the law.

    January 20, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    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....
    ------------------–
    Yeah, that's the Fox News version. In the real world, there are inarguable facts. For example, the City of Hoboken has so far only received just over $300,000 in Sandy Relief funds. Christie says that they have "received" tens of millions, but the facts are the funds have to be distributed. Hobeken has been allocated tens of millions, but they have yet to be distributed, which is the essence of the Mayor's complaint.

    January 20, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  21. sifto

    Who are these people with all of the fat jokes? You seem to be picking on your fellow Americans...is that the same thing as hate speech as it applies to race?

    January 20, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  22. current state of the union

    A true gop, accepting full responsibilities, yet he never apologized, any has made himself to be the victim, bravo fat ass

    January 20, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. 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....
    ******************
    NJ has one of the worst job creation rates in the country, along with WI: the real scandal is how he has managed to spin himself as a manager with his job creation numbers are in the toilet, and his staff now being revealed as being wildly out of control, and the myth of his bipartisanship was nothing more than local governments being bullied if they did not join the Christie Chorus. Is this what the GOP really thinks the country need? Apparently so, judging by way the RWNJ bloggers on here are circling the wagons, when a month ago they hated his guts.

    January 20, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. spkstrth

    Your abuse of power, as I heard, may have cost a man his life when ambulances couldn't get through. If you'd abuse the small power you had, how could we possibly trust you to not abuse the power of the highest office in the land? We have already suffered someone who does that (and will continue), so why on this or any other planet would Americans want more of that ilk> You have no character, no integrity and no chance.

    January 20, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  25. current state of the union

    Its really just coincidence that everyone who doesn't do what he wants gets screwed with, mere coincidence.

    January 20, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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