September 1st, 2009
01:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Kean comes to Christie's defense in New Jersey race

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Former New Jersey governor Tom Kean accused Corzine of sullying the race with character attacks."]

(CNN) - Republican Chris Christie enlisted popular former New Jersey governor Tom Kean on Tuesday to help shift the dialogue of the race back to the subject Jon Corzine's record as governor and away from questions about Christie's private behavior.

Kean, honorary chairman of the Christie campaign, accused Corzine of sullying the race by launching a salvo of character attacks against the Republican candidate, who still leads in the polls.

"The public doesn't like it, I don't like it," Kean said on a conference call with reporters. "The poll numbers haven't moved."

He may be right: According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday, of the people who have seen Corzine ads criticizing Christie for giving contracts to people with ties to former President George W. Bush, 56 percent say the ads are an unfair attack, while 36 percent say they are a legitimate campaign issue.

Corzine's campaign launched a new ad Tuesday charging that Christie has "one set of rules for himself, another for everyone else."

Christie, a former U.S. attorney, is facing questions about an undisclosed $46,000 loan to a former aide, and revelations about a spotty driving history.

Last week, a Corzine spokeswoman called Christie "a complete menace to society on the highways of New Jersey" after the state's Motor Vehicle Commission released documents revealing he had racked up 13 moving violations over the last two and a half decades.

Kean dismissed the traffic tickets as an issue, saying that "both candidates have speeded from time to time, that's something both of them regret."

Christie earned seven speeding tickets and six more for traffic accidents going back to 1985. Corzine only received three going back to 1992, two for speeding and a third ticket for failing to wear a seat belt in the car accident that nearly killed him in 2007.

Kean said "voters are not going to be served well" by a campaign featuring "millions on negative advertising." Although Kean said he didn't believe the Christie campaign had been negative so far, he left the door open for Christie to retaliate against Corzine as needed.

Still, Kean - who served as governor from 1982 to 1990 and later co-chaired the 9/11 Commission - set a high bar for the remainder of the campaign.

"I don't think I ever ran a negative ad when I was running for office," he said.

Filed under: Chris Christie • Jon Corzine
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Vigla

    This is all ridiculous. I want to know why people think this economic climate in NJ is Corzine's fault. This has everything to do with the disaster that was Bush 43's presidency. I shudder to think where we would be if Doug Forrester or some other mope was governor these last 4 years.

    I've met Jon Corzine. The man is a down to earth guy who is desperately trying to salvage anything he can from the mess brought upon us by the incompetence of the prior administration. People accuse him of raising their property taxes... I laugh because property taxes are levied by local governments, not the state. They cry corruption, but the corrupt politicians were local, not state.

    Chris Christie is a Bush Republican folks... He will do to NJ what Bush did for the entire US. RUIN IT! Please, don't make the same mistake we made in 2000...

    September 1, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. Hugo

    Wait a minute, a $46,000 loan to a former aide? Is that like a special sweetheart deal on a mortgage for one of your numerous homes when you are on an oversight committee? A spotty driving record? Is that like crashing your car without wearing a seatbelt doing 90 MPH in a 55 MPH zone? The liberal democrat smear machine grinds on....although it is New Joisey so who gives a rats patootie?

    September 1, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. mr2percent

    Wake up NJ! both Corzine and Christie obviously think they're above the law, this november strike a blow to the two party system...

    vote for Chris Daggett, Independent.

    September 1, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Goodman Fredrick

    It is fair game to me. Repulicans mudsling all the time!

    September 1, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. Lee

    Kean and Christie Whitman ruined New Jersey's finances by using clever accounting tricks to circumvent the state constitution and defer balloning debt until later.

    Being republicans trapped by their own stupid ideology, they did not have the political courage to pay for their state expenditures, and so they balloon the debts, just like Ronnoe Reagan and George Bush did, and leave the big stinkin' mess for more responsible people to clean up thereafter.

    It's an old story but it repeats itself on both the state and national level. Republicans say that government doesn't work and when they get elected, they prove just that.

    September 1, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Reggie

    Corzine has always been a dirty, ruthless politician. We can't expect him to stop now. Glad his days in elected office are coming to an END.

    September 1, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. GOPer

    Why doesn't Christie enlist Karl Rove (again) for more gubernatorial advice?! Is Chris trying to cover-up his corrupt associations with Rove?

    CREW just filed an investigation into Christie violating the Hatch Act by seeking counsel from Karl Rove (of all people) for this governorship run.

    Chris Christie's so-called "ethics" = Karl Rove
    No thank you.

    September 1, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    PLEASE STAY "BLUE" New Jersey – you are NOT located in the most southern part of the country – you are NOT a far right state – you are on the EAST SIDE!!! – You're right next door to New York, come on NOW! – and I say this from another state who have SOME people thinking they're gonna turn our state RED too – But little do they know, they are also in for a RUDE AWAKENING.

    so ON ELECTION day you know what to DO!
    vote DEMOCRAT and keep your state BLUE!!!

    (WOW, I'm a poet and don't know it!!!!...LOL)

    September 1, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. stormerF

    Corzine is as corrupt as can be,he needs to move to Chicago.

    September 1, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  10. Ensign is Mr. Family Values

    Tom Kean is Christie's attack dog? It seems Christie would rather attack Corzine for running comparison ads instead of present a real plan to turn the economy around.

    September 1, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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