February 9th, 2014
11:25 AM ET
10 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. life5678

    If anyone believes that Christy's staff took it upon themselves to shutdown the bridge without his knowledge, then they are beyond help. His staff knows what a hot head he is, they know how he operates, they know exactly what is motives and methods of operation are. It's the culture they have been part of for years with him And that's a culture America does NOT need.

    February 9, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. life5678

    no Christy

    February 9, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Shinea

    That politicians behave like politicians isn't new, what's discouraging is that the media continues to fail miserably at their jobs. They "knew" about his negatives but endorsed him anyway. How about just telling the people the negatives and the positives, if they have any, and let the voters decide who they want to "endorse".

    The media should not "endorse" anyone unless they are worthy of an endorsement! Our "choices" continue to deteriorate because the "watchdogs", the media, continue to be advocates for incompetent, sometimes criminal, politicians who may be the "lessor of two evils" but who are worse than mediocre, much less ideal candidates.

    February 9, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. brianprice1948

    People can be corrupt – 'the system' is designed to minimize the impact of that on society – not eliminate it entirely.

    February 9, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Fred Lingenfelser

    I wonder if anyone even is swayed by newspaper endorsements. I highly doubt it. Hardly anyone even reads newspapers anymore.

    February 9, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Wade

    Maybe they do but if they are not throwing up over Obama then they have no cred. Same for CNN and all the other news outlets. Obama has had 100 times more scandals and all were 100 times more bad yet never a word from the liberal media.

    February 9, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. Mike in SA

    So is the Star-Ledger remorseful of endorsing the Chicago-style politicians they liked for Washington then?

    February 9, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Albert Speer

    Would they say "we blew it" about Clinton's staining of his oath of office, not to mention sexually harassing his subordinates? Of course not. This is not about the Star Ledger admitting they made a mistake. It's about the Star Ledger being taken over by other people who are now using this as an occasion to destroy the leading Republican contender for the White House in a very Naziesque fashion.

    February 9, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. Herewe Goagain

    The paper still has its finger in the wind. It just endorses the popular.

    February 9, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. geraldine

    all show!

    February 9, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. Frank

    Whether Christe denies it or not, it will still come down to him. the GOP went CRAZY, like seriously NUTS, made this HUGE scandal a over the Obamacare website blaming Obama, but did Obama make the website? No, the people that he hired did. Obama took the blame, apologized and that's how it goes. If you are at the top, and something wrong happened under yourhis leadership, whether you were a part of it or not, he still has to say he is responsible, he has to say he takes all of the blame, and he has to say that there is no excuse, that it was his fault for not seeing this. If he keeps saying, "I didn't know", "I didn't know", he will look weak. Even though he says he did not do it, it happened under his nose, so he needs to take complete blame. 100% of it. That's what Obama did, but then again Obama is very intelligent. Because now the Democrats will be the ones going CRAZY, or going NUTS, jumping around pointing their fingers at Christie and his new scandal. He needs to say," IT HAPPENED UNDER ME, IT IS COMPLETELY 100% MY FAULT, I AM TO BLAME FOR NOT NOTICING IT, but it won't happen again, under my leadership."

    As sad as it sounds, I wish all of these politicians, since I don't know who is corrupt or who isn't, or maybe ALL are corrupt, or maybe none are, but I wish them the best. Let's hope Christie is able to go past this like Obama did. Let's hope for a successful Republican party in the future and for a successful Democrat party, that will make other countries that have democracy use us as an example. Let's show them a good example of a real democracy with real parties that really care about the country and it's citizens and not their pockets. Let's show the world how our parties will respect for whoever is sitting on the White House. Whatever party the president is in, let's really put the country forward and not their pockets.

    The first step into getting this the right way will be to elect the right people.

    February 9, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. rickapolis

    And the far right loves it. But they'll be sorry soon. The only electable republican presidential candidate in America is tanking. No one else has a snowball's chance. Meet the first female president, Hillary Clinton.

    February 9, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Smokinhot

    Did The Start Ledger also say they "blew it" with the endorsement of Barack Obama who repeatedly lied to all Americans when he stated "If you like your health insurance, you can keep it"?
    Did The Start Ledger also say they "blew it" with the endorsement of Bill Clinton who was disbarred and lied to all Americans when he stated on TV he had no relations with Ms. Monica?

    February 9, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. BeverlyNC

    Christie fooled everybody. He was just another Republican willing to do anything to win and have total and complete power to push his "values" on the People.
    Just shows again how Republicans are bought and controlled by corporations. They care more about corporate welfare than that of the People they swore an oath to serve. They have betrayed us and it is time to remove ALL Republicans from every local, state, and national seat so the People get back our rights, our voice, and leaders who can be trusted to work for us. As we have seen over and over – Republicans lie, will cheat to win, can be bought by corporate money like the Koch brothers, and work to destroy every program for the People from healthcare to Social Security, to Medicare, and even their "Christian" values of destroying the poor and helpless in direct opposition to the teachings of Jesus who was poor himself and instructed us very specifically to take care of the poor, the sick, and the homeless as we would Him. The Republican Party is not for the People and therefore are not qualified or deserving of our vote or anymore damage to our states and our nation.

    February 9, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. The Ole Skool Fool

    WHO KNEW !!!!!!!!!!! Republicans are so far out of touch with the realities of the common man, they will never recover

    February 9, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Big_D

    I wish the GOP would realize they blew it worse with the policies they supported. When you back a Grover Norquist with his palestinian ties over Bush Sr. you have a problem at the roots. The GOP has failed as a major political party and I am sorry they were seduced by greed so bad they lost all decency. Trickle down is the worst policy in USA history and the stanch attempt to keep it in place by blocking changes has hurt our country deeply.

    February 9, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. Owl Creek Observer

    It's sort of fun to watch all the lefties doing all they can to destroy Christie as though he were the only impediment to the coronation of Slick Willie's old lady. The fact is that most Republicans don't even like the guy.

    February 9, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  18. Steve

    Nobody cares about your newspaper, your editorial, or your city.

    February 9, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. lean6

    I don't know how a paper can acknowledge having political preferences and biases in the first place and still maintain credibility. I don't care if it supports your political views or not, once they've come out of the closet as biased, how can you not take everything they write with a grain of salt?

    February 9, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. KBNJ

    Oh, what a bunch of B.S. The liberal press LOVED Christie because he helped get their messiah elected and now they have buyer's remorse. Cry me a river.

    February 9, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Mike

    Christie was never qualified for public office. Anyone that morbidly obese isn't fit to serve just like many of our men and women in uniform aren't fit for military service.

    February 9, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. airjackie

    1994 the Newark Star-Ledger ran a front page ad by Christie to apologize for lying on other candidates as the court ordered. Christie won the election in 1994 but was found guilty of libel and paid a large fine never to be elected again. Christie with his mentor Karl Rove decided to run for Governor and yes newspapers were paid to report a positive image of the candidate Chris Christie. Christie used his Mafia Soprano system of bribes, retaliation and blaming staff if caught.

    February 9, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. Trilobiteme

    liberal news organization supporting a liberal candidate this is big news lol

    February 9, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. The REAL TRUTH...

    @KBNJ – Oh, what a bunch of B.S. The liberal press LOVED Christie...
    ------------------------------
    Ah yes, one more rwnj blaming the "liberal" media.. go do some research on right wing media.. there's ALL of AM talk radio (the buffoon feeds), that fair and balance news channel, and a host of folks who figured out that they can make a REAL GOOD living out of firing up the rabble...
    the "liberal" media is a right wing manufactured myth – and you bought it!

    February 9, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. The Rational, Moderate One

    Most, if not all, politicians in position of authority do stuff like this pretty much all the time. Christie got caught in the act. Besides the incredibly huge blitz made by the left, he is STILL by far the best leader NJ has had in DECADES. The left in NJ has, time after time, put forth politicians who were corrupt to much higher degrees. The only reason this got the coverage it did in NJ, besides the continuing liberal bias of NJ, NY as a wholem is that this is the ONLY time they can credit less than perfect political behavior to him.

    I don't make excuses the for the dude. He's a scumbag politician like everyone else with any political power, but he's still the best NJ (and most of the country included, actually) has to offer as a more rational and less status quo, broken politicks politician.

    I guess the point I'm trying to make, this is like pot calling the off-white kettle black.

    February 9, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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