Christie weighs in on top Republicans, defends post-Sandy Obama praise
March 31st, 2014
05:02 PM ET
4 months ago

Christie weighs in on top Republicans, defends post-Sandy Obama praise

(CNN) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who's considering a 2016 White House run, listed some names for "good" potential Republican presidential candidates, including two non-governors.

In an interview to air Monday night on Fox News Channel, Christie also hit back at critics who blasted him for appearing too close with President Barack Obama after Superstorm Sandy, which came just days before the 2012 presidential election.

The segment is the second part of an interview taped last week with Fox's Megyn Kelly for her program "The Kelly File," and part of a media blitz Christie launched after an internal review cleared him of any wrongdoing in the George Washington Bridge controversy.

Christie's picks

Asked to name who he considers the top three potential Republican candidates for president, Christie said it would be difficult to narrow the list down to three, "but I'll give you the ones I think I are really good."

"I think (former Florida Gov.) Jeb Bush would be an outstanding candidate for president. I think (Wisconsin Gov.) Scott Walker would be a good candidate for president. I think (2012 vice presidential nominee) Paul Ryan would be a good candidate for president."

As for Sen. Rand Paul, Christie said the Kentucky Republican, who also happens to be one of Christie's biggest policy rivals, would simply be "credible" and went on to name another potential contender.

"I think (Florida Sen.) Marco Rubio would be a good candidate for president," Christie continued.

Paul, who finds himself at the top of some recent 2016 GOP nomination polls, and Christie have publicly feuded in the past year on issues related to federal spending and national security. Their sparring represents a wider debate that pits the more pragmatic, moderate part of the GOP against the libertarian-leaning and tea party friendly end of the political spectrum.

Regardless of who the nominee is, Christie added, he'd still support that person.

"I'm a Republican, and whatever differences I may have with any one of those people I just named...it would be minor compared to the difference I would have with whoever the Democratic nominee is," he said.

Christie considered running for president in 2012 but decided not to launch a bid and endorsed Mitt Romney instead in October 2011.

As he mulls the decision again, the governor said he's now "older and more experienced."

"It's certainly something I've said to everybody that I'll consider," he added.

'I would say the exact same thing'

One reason why some Republicans are hesitant to back Christie stems from his open embrace of Obama right after Superstorm Sandy demolished parts of the Jersey Shore in late October 2012. Christie's praise of the President–about a week before Election Day–infuriated many Romney loyalists who argue Christie helped bolster Obama's appearance before voters went to the polls.

Romney has repeatedly said he holds no ill will toward Christie over the episode and doesn't believe it affected the outcome of the election.

"Romney said to me at the time...you're doing your job. Go do your job as best you can," Christie said.

The governor pointed to his own support for Romney in the year leading up to the election.

"First of all there was not one person with possible exception of Paul Ryan in American who worked harder for Mitt Romney," Christie said. "I was the first governor to come out and endorse him in fall of 2011, I traveled to 26 states for him."

"So some people have...a very short memory. Fortunately, Mitt Romney doesn't," Christie continued. "And the fair people don't. When that crisis hit, I was asked, has the President been responsive? Has the President been there to help your people? And my answer was yes. And Megyn if I had to do it again I would say the exact same thing because it was the honest answer."

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2016 • Chris Christie
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "So some people have...a very short memory. ..." Christie continued. "And the fair people don't. When that crisis hit, I was asked, has the President been responsive? Has the President been there to help your people? And my answer was yes. And Megyn if I had to do it again I would say the exact same thing because it was the honest answer."
    -------------------------------------------------
    It was an honest answer.
    Which is why he remembers it so clearly, versus his current lack of recall on other issues.
    But may it never be said that the good Gov did not, if only that one time, give the President his due.
    I and the other fair people in America appreciated it.

    March 31, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    --sure, other than Bridge scandal, this guy is very right. He is telling honestly. It might take him some time to recuperate from scandal. But, I like this dude. I advised him to join the Democratic Party–so only.

    March 31, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. The REAL Truth...

    "Has the President been there to help your people? And my answer was yes"
    -------------–
    Too bad the same can't be said of the last POTUS when NO was under water..

    March 31, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. Ejay

    So...Even Chris Christie does NOT think that he would be "a good candidate for President"...since, when asked to name those he thought would be good, he did NOT list himself. How insightful he is becoming. Hahahahahahaha!!!!!

    March 31, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. 2_indy1600

    Regardless of your party, you've got to have faith. Why did Mother Nature send Sandy on the eve of a national election, giving the president a last chance to look presidential before the vote? Just meant to be, and Christy was honest enough to acknowledge it and thank him. He did his job; they both did.

    March 31, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. Bubba

    If you like a President that talks Christian; vote for a Republican.
    If you like a President who BEHAVES Christian, vote for a Democrat.
    Because, while the Democrat may bend over an occasional intern, the Republican will bend over everyone making less than $250,000 per year every minute he is in office.

    March 31, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  7. DarqueSide

    "Christie weighs in"... really CNN? Stop with the 'weight' jokes. No one thinks you're clever.

    March 31, 2014 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  8. Thomas

    We will never forget how Chris Christie let the people of Hoboken down , Sad !

    Corruption starts at the top !

    March 31, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  9. Name

    The smartest thing Christie did was look like he could be in the same room with Obama.Christie is a bully who'll scratch claw and fight to get money and power.he couldn't care less about average Americans.

    March 31, 2014 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  10. Steve851

    People who obsess over the hug are mindless tribal voters. I had no problem with the hug in the context of what happened. I do have two huge problems with Christie so that, as a conservative, I would never vote for him. First, even if he is held personally blameless in Bridgegate, he does not believe in the "buck stops here," that is, on his desk. A fundamental lack of personal responsibility. Second, he thinks any debate over the Bill of Rights is "esoteric." Typical of a former prosecutor. He is simply not suited to be president. I'm more than willing to sit the presidential election out in 2016. Have done so several times before when both parties refuse to nominate anyone marginally acceptable.

    March 31, 2014 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  11. Getoverit

    @ The REAL Truth
    “Has the President been there to help your people? And my answer was yes”
    —————————————–
    Too bad the same can’t be said of the last POTUS when NO was under water..
    ---–
    You can blame your democrat mayor for that one. Oh, he's in prison. Sorry.....

    April 1, 2014 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  12. Lily

    Christie is not smart at all. Why did he mention the names one by one who he thinks will be good GOP candidates. Why didn't he answer any contender. He went on to say he is a republican and supported Romney by endorsing him and campaigning with him in 26 states. Was that enough to send Romney to the White House? Does he think people have forgotten how he treated him in the end? Christie, people have no very short memories as you think they are.

    April 1, 2014 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  13. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Can't wait to see Shedon Adelson,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats 2012 Mitt Romney style.

    April 1, 2014 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  14. J Anthony

    Let's wise up people. Voting for either wing of the plutocracy is a vote for things to either stay the same or get worse for the majority of Americans. We must disengage from the status quo in order to change it.

    April 1, 2014 07:46 am at 7:46 am |