February 9th, 2014
11:25 AM ET
11 months ago

Star-Ledger editor on Christie endorsement: ‘We blew it’

Updated 1:56 p.m. ET, 2/9/2014

(CNN) – The Newark-based Star-Ledger, the largest newspaper in New Jersey, was already reluctant when it endorsed Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election bid. But now its editorial page editor is having a strong case of buyer’s remorse.

“We blew this one,” Tom Moran of the paper’s editorial board wrote in a column Sunday.

The column comes exactly one month after Christie denied in a nearly two-hour press conference that he had any involvement in or knowledge of an alleged plot to cause traffic problems in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

A state legislative committee and the Justice Department are investigating whether top Christie appointees orchestrated days of traffic gridlock around the George Washington Bridge last year to punish the city’s Democratic mayor for political reasons.

Christie fired two of the top aides accused of playing a role in the incident, while another one resigned before the scandal blew up in national headlines.

Report: Fort Lee mayor says Christie appointees may have courted him

In the editorial, Moran cited the tumultuous ride that Christie’s administration has taken in the past month.

“We knew Christie was a bully. But we didn’t know his crew was crazy enough to put people’s lives at risk in Fort Lee as a means to pressure the mayor,” he wrote. He also pointed to separate allegations that Christie’s administration used Superstorm Sandy funds to pressure a local mayor to back a private development deal.

Christie denies that as well.

In defense of the Star-Ledger, Moran wrote that the editorial board’s endorsement last fall was a choice between two flawed candidates - a view the paper acknowledged at the time of the nod.

“Even before this scandal train got rolling, this endorsement was a close call and a split vote among the editorial board. We regard Christie as the most overrated politician in the country, at least until now, a man who is better at talking than governing,” Moran wrote.

NJ Star-Ledger endorses Christie with ‘deep reservations’

The paper backed him, however, because of his work to improve education programs, as well as pension and health reforms. On top of that, Christie’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, was “not up to the job of being governor,” Moran wrote.

Moran wrote Sunday that the editorial board didn’t consider Christie more likable than Buono, either.

“Christie has boycotted the editorial board for years, an attempt to bully us into more loving coverage. So we’ve had a front-row view of what a creep he can be,” he wrote. “Buono is the more likable person by far.”

But “we swallowed our hesitations and endorsed Christie, complete with our long list of deep reservations,” he wrote.

Christie's office declined a request for comment about the new column.

The controversy has tarnished Christie’s potential run as a potential front-runner for the 2016 GOP presidential primary.

Even so, Moran argued, the other possible GOP front-runners are weaker, and he’d still back Christie.

“Now ask yourself this: If the Republican primary came to a choice between (Sen. Rand) Paul and Christie, which candidate would you endorse? At the risk of repeating a mistake, I’d pick Christie in that primary, even now. And if you think that makes some sense, then you understand how excruciating the endorsement process can be,” he wrote.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (311 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Joe Boxer wrote at February 9, 2014 11:59 pm:

    The biggest case of buyer's remorse in this country is OBAMA....period.....
    -------------------------
    What on Earth are you talking about? You have no buyer's remorse with Pres. Obama because it is readily apparent that you didn't vote for him. If you feel any buyer's remorse coming from the 2012 general election, it just might have more to do with Republicans picking Romney as the standard bearer than anything else. But, hey, Republicans literally had little or no choice but to align themselves behind Romney.

    PS. BTW, Liberal don't align themselves behind political candidates in the manner that conservatives do.

    February 10, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. Mark in Montana

    if it came to a choice between voting for Christie or Paul, I would, for the first time in my life, vote for the Green Party. I cannot see myself voting for a Dem as they seem to always be as dishonest as the Republicans, so it is off to the Green Party I go.....

    February 10, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. JSB

    @ Rudy

    The ownership of said stations certainly hasn't changed the liberal reporting coming out of them. Otherwise Mr Mathews couldn't 'feel a tingle down his leg' when Obama received the nomination for the Democrat party (along with all the other inane liberal commentary coming out of the TV media. Radio media has been dominated for awhile by conservatives. Print media by liberals, Internet by neither.

    February 10, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. Rick

    Anyone notice, Christie's nose is growing?

    February 10, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. Jack Dawson

    It would be easier to believe Christie if his story didn't keep changing.

    February 10, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. mannycl

    Who cares? Don't think much people bother to read the Star-Ledger anymore. It's one of the worst newspapers in the country and, yes, I'm from Jersey.

    February 10, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. Steve

    By all means newspaper, you should bring back $2 billion missing Jon as governor. He did wonders for MFS Investments. Just think what he could do for the taxpayers of NJ now. Look at the past governor's. Christie makes them all look like what they were – disgusting wastes of time.

    February 10, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  8. Wake up People!

    Anyone ever see the old Broderick Crawford movie, All the Kings Men? It was uncanny how much his character resembled Christy, and not just in stature. Good movie for those who enjoy the Classics.

    February 10, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. steve coster

    CNN editor: "We blew it on Obama".

    February 10, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. Wake up People!

    You have to love those crying about liberal rags and liberal witchhunts, when there is actual PROOF that there was some trickery afoot, but those same people were cheering from the rooftop at Issa and his investigations. Millions wasted for absolutely nothing, yet they still scream Benghazi and IRS, as if there was real evidence.

    February 10, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    JSB

    @ Rudy

    The ownership of said stations certainly hasn't changed the liberal reporting coming out of them. Otherwise Mr Mathews couldn't 'feel a tingle down his leg' when Obama received the nomination for the Democrat party (along with all the other inane liberal commentary coming out of the TV media. Radio media has been dominated for awhile by conservatives. Print media by liberals, Internet by neither.
    ---------------------
    I mentioned only radio, TV, and newspapers, not the internet. Conservatives dominate ownership of radio stations all across America. Likewise, they dominate the ownership of all of the small town newspapers and TV stations across America. As defined by the law written by Al Gore that created the legal framework for the government technology to be turned over to the public domain thereby creating it, no one "owns" the information super highway, neither in part, nor in whole.

    February 10, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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