June 4th, 2013
04:24 PM ET
8 years ago

Christie accused of 'debilitating stupidity' after election decision

(CNN) - Gov. Chris Christie's decision to set a special election this year to fill New Jersey's vacant Senate seat wasn't met with open arms Tuesday by a fellow Republican, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead," Armey accused the governor of trying to curry favor with Democrats by not appointing a Republican to the seat until 2014. He'll name an interim senator by next week to serve until the special election.

"All Christie has to do is appoint a Republican. That's the correct move for him to make," Armey said. "Now, I put it down as debilitating stupidity. The first rule of politics is 'Don't lose the friends you already have for the friends you're never going to get.' And if he thinks the Democrats are going to love him for being the guy who plays fair rather than takes the political opportunity he's crazy."

A Democratic governor would have "seized the opportunity" and appointed a senator from his own party, Armey argued Tuesday.

"People that run for office in politics make political decisions rather than policy decisions often commit debilitating stupidity," Armey said. "Most often it's done by the left, but frequently done by Republicans as well."

Until last year, Armey served as the chairman of the conservative, tea party-aligned group FreedomWorks.

Filed under: Chris Christie • Dick Armey
soundoff (1,230 Responses)
  1. Reggie from LA

    WWOD (What would Obama do?) sez
    "Armey's comment are right on. Just ask yourserf "What would Obama do?"....
    Let's see. Would "Obama" ever appoint a Republican? He was gonna appoint Judd, but he towed the party line and didn't feel a need to serve country. Then there was Secretary of Defense, Gates. How about Hagel? Don't think he's a democrat. Do You, WWOD? What about Transportation Secretary, LaHood? He also nominated Judd Gregg for a cabinet position. Was Bush as bipartisan? No? What Would Obama do? The right thing for our country. And YOU? Make mindless noise apparently.

    June 4, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein

    I have no problem with Christie allowing an election to pick the next senator. The problem is his ego didn't allow for it to be on the same ballot that has him running for re-election. There is no reason to have a seperate election to fill an open seat in Congress.

    June 4, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  3. Dr Tom

    Armey is criticizing Christie for making a political decision rather than a policy decision when it is Armey that is advocating a political decision. Actually Christie is making a political decision but he is thinking about himself not Republican national politics. Of course, then there is the matter of state law which Armey doesn't even consider.

    June 4, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  4. KR

    America NEEDS more Christie's and way fewer Armey's.

    June 4, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  5. RobJohnson

    Any time Dick Armey is against something, it's probably a good idea. At least he is honest and/or cynical enough to say that his objection has nothing to do with what is best for the people of New Jersey. Politics is just a game to Armey, and the only thing he is interested in is his side winning.

    June 4, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  6. Michael Hobart

    Armey is wrong, New Jersey law is contradictory in it's treatment of elections when a vacancy occurs in the period which is less than 70 days before a primary and also greater than 70 days before a general election. This is what happened. I give kudos to Christie for having the vote this year, but also brickbats for not doing it at the general election. His misguided attempt to try to lower turnout at the general election may well have the contradictory effect of people showing up to vote against him for spending an extra $12 million just to try to increase his expected large margin of victory.

    June 4, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  7. Nick

    I don't care who is in charge when something like this happens, the replacement needs to be from the same party as the person who died. That is the party who won the election and they should be able to finish the term. The law should require this or it undermines the original election. Cue the idiots who assume I'm a Democrat who wouldn't say the same thing if it were a Republican who died in 3...2...1...

    June 4, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  8. Chuckles

    If Christie has any presidential aspirations, he'd better start thinking about switching party soon. Never going to make it out of the GOP primary.

    June 4, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  9. Chitown Mark

    Dick Armey shows us what is wrong with politics in this country. Chris Christie shows us
    what's right with politics in this country. It's no wonder people are disgusted with their politicians.
    Yes DICK, you really ARE....

    June 4, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  10. Random American

    Does anyone else see that Christie is doing the right thing? That he's leaving it up to THE PEOPLE OF HIS STATE?

    June 4, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  11. Chris

    Christie ticked off the Republican and the Democratic establishments, which seems to imply that he made the right move. As for the comments regarding who will elect him, the Republicans or the Democrats, he knows the answer. Like most elections, it will be my group – the Independents – who will decide it.

    June 4, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  12. BigSir

    Christie will gain friends from the small minded politicians who turn against him.

    June 4, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  13. Howard

    Hmmm...StaPuft doing what will get him reelected. What courage.

    June 4, 2013 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  14. NJ Voter

    Dick Armey can stay Dow in TX and keep his lid quiet. Christie did the right thing- he hi red the wishes of the voter of NJ who have not elected a republican senator in 40 years. He did what is the right thing to do- Christie needs to get out of politics before people start to think that pols actually care about their constituents. Naaaah- just look at Armey and our thoughts are well reinforced- all is right in the world again- pols are dirtbags.

    June 4, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  15. john

    I think this quote says it all "And if he thinks the Democrats are going to love him for being the guy who plays fair rather than takes the political opportunity he's crazy."

    Why be fair, when you can be a scum bag like Dick Armey. lol

    June 4, 2013 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  16. palusko996769

    "'Don't lose the friends you already have for the friends you're never going to get.'" – and I thought the first rule of politics was to serve the people. At least that's what they all seem to be stating...before election.

    June 4, 2013 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  17. algalliani

    I salute Christie's decision. I lived in New Jersey for almost 30 years and love the state. Letting the people decide who will represent them as soon as possible is the right way to do this. Regarding a comment I saw, I certainly hope Obama would have made the same decision in this kind of situation. I am a registered Democrat, but I will always vote for someone that has the interest of the people in mind. Dick Armey might be right, Christie may not be making a lot of friends in either party with this decision but in the eyes of the people of the middle I think he just scored, making him the republican candidate with the best chances to win any office... but the debilitating stupidity shown by a number of republicans may not allow Christie to win his party nomination... and that's sad... for republicans

    June 4, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  18. Rugby

    "People that run for office in politics make political decisions rather than policy decisions often commit debilitating stupidity,” Armey said.

    Well what do you know. Armey practcally explains the nonsense of his own statement. If Christie simply appointed his friends, that would be more like playing politics than holding an election, which would be closer to democracy, closer to policy.

    June 4, 2013 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  19. MaryAnn

    As a independent voter, I would vote for Christie. I am sick of politicians who only think of the party and not the voters. Right on Chris Christie!

    June 4, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  20. Derek

    So essentially, Armey is insulting Christie for having integrity? Right...and politicians wonder why we want to throw them all out of office.

    June 4, 2013 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  21. SunshineLizard

    Christie actually wants the citizens to vote for their representative? Shocking.

    June 4, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  22. Hilary Cathcart

    Wow, someone who actually wants to get things done, instead of being obstructionist. No wonder Dems and Reps are up in arms. The republicans can't stand that Christie gets along with Obama and the democrats can't stand that they have to fight for a seat in New Jersey. Boy, is this fun to watch!

    June 4, 2013 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  23. Bill FFX

    Mr Armey is not just guilty of debilitating stupidity, but he is delusional as well. What a moron to attack someone who seeks to do the right thing and put party association aside. Maybe that party affiliation is what has put the Reps on the ropes. Maybe, they should quit asking themselves – What would Rush do?

    June 4, 2013 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  24. Draeggo

    Tough talk from someone that blew it and had to leave with his tail between his legs. What a sorry excuse for a human being. Armey is no one to look up to or listen too.

    June 4, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  25. Speak for yourself Dick

    You really need to get a grip Dick Armey, As a voter in NJ (where you are not), I appreciate the fact that Gov. Christie respects that the people get to elect our representative officials in NJ...He may appoint a temporary republican to the vacancy. You are the definition of why we voters hate all politicians – you are in it for you, not us. Christie is a game changer, get real. He did the right thing and welcomed the president ot our state after Sandy. He fights to shrink the state government.
    I used to be a Dem until moving to NJ, living through Gov's McGreevy and Corzine. Christie is the first realistic person to tackle real issues I've seen in NJ....I came from PA and couldn't believe the corruption and overwhelming self serving interests of the NJ political spectrum. We see constant diversion from the important issue by the Dems here...lets vote to spend 2 million on a stray cat program when they couldn't even fund the already raided unemployment fund. At least Christie has the gumption to tackle the tough issues even though he is not likely to win many in the Democratically controlled legislature. Go research why his appointees to the NJ supreme court are still not wearing black robes...
    Where did CNN dig you up anyway? Haven't heard your name in years. Your party is changing to fit modern society, deal with it and help make the party of smaller government stronger. You just can't represent your small core anymore, there are lots of us that want smaller government and no more 1200 page bills, but aren't hard core religious. I can see how desperate CNN must be to get someone to say something negative against a fellow GOP'er to drag you out of the crypt.

    June 4, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
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