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. MommaM

    I would like to applaud Gov Christie for doing the right thing and letting the people of New Jersey decide. If only more politicians were like him. I was never a fan of the Governor until I saw how he handled Hurricane Sandy – he put his state first. Bravo to him.

    June 4, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. leah

    Seeing as how Christie is getting a whole lot more in support and donations from (D)'s as opposed to (R)'s...And all he is getting from (R)'s is insults in the media and no help for NJ....what is Christie waiting for- a surgical belt to the brain?

    He has been shun by the Republicans. The people of NJ vote (D) primarily. He can never run as an (R) national candidate. His best option is to officially become a Democrat, a la Charlie Crist.

    June 4, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. ellid

    Armey and his ilk are a big, big reason I broke with a century of family tradition and registered as a Democrat instead of a Republican. What an appalling bully.

    June 4, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. tar

    gotta respect Christie.

    would have no problem voting for him in the next pres election and im a Cali liberal.
    . hes the only/best option the Gop has. rest are a joke and not a good one.


    June 4, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. Patrick

    I don't know Armey, I'm a Democrat and I certainly respect and like Christie much more for this move. Would I vote for him for president? Not sure we'll have to see in 2016. Which is indeed saying a lot from how I felt about him two years ago.

    June 4, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. R.A. Fulcher

    Folks, Christie is a statesman not pure party politician.. thank you NJ for allowing him the chance to help the state. It has been a long time since we had a statesman around

    June 4, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. Ralph Hagen

    It's not about putting a Republician into that office. It's about letting th people have their voices heard which is becoming very hard to do anymore. REpublicians are increasingly becoming very self absorbed every thine they open their mouths. That was hard for me to say since I'm Republician. Here's just an example of what I mean. Congressman Stephen Fincher has been very out spoken about people who have to use food stamps to live. On the house foor he said WE SHOULDN'T BE SPENDING OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY LIKE THAT. WHO CARES THEY SHOULD STARVE. Congressman Fincher is also a farmer. He gets 3.5 million dollars from the Federal government in farm subsidies. That's right he gets government welfare and he really doesn't need it. Other REpublicians have a farm bill their pushing through which supports an increase of 9 billion dollars and cutting food stamps by 21 billion over the next ten years. It seems over time Republicians have grown to to live by a very old saying. DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO. These days i'm ashamed to say I'm a Republician

    June 4, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. De Odorizer

    ..." former House Majority Leader Dick Armey" and stupidity go together quite well. He wasn't exactly the brightest bulb while still in office. He is a Has Been!! Go join Sarah and Michele and Newt...

    June 4, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. Big_D

    Isn't Armey looking at charges in some Tea Party mixup? These guys like Armey are total sell outs. The people that send him to Washington should be embarrassed. Christie is looking more and more like the part of the GOP that came back from the insane asylum because he realized them people are nuts.

    June 4, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. stevensrmiller

    I was never the governor, but as a local elected official I frequently voted in favor of what I thought was good policy over what my party wanted me to do. Did it hurt my chances in a future election? I don't know. I don't care. I know I care about how well I sleep at night, and I sleep very, very well.

    June 4, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. Peter

    Mark my words, Christie is going to run as President as a moderate Democrat or an Independent.

    June 4, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. Edwin

    The guy in this article really doesn't get it. Christie's image and appeal have to do with the fact that he works for his state and NOT his party.

    The GOP motto is "Party First". Christie's motto is "New Jersey First". That is why this move is the correct one - because it says he believes in the people more than the party.

    Yes, a democratic governor might have used laws to push their own agenda... but that does not make it right or honest. Christie is trying to be a *decent* politician. Maybe that's why the GOP hates him: they believe that the GOP is more important than America.

    June 4, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. Tony in St. Louis

    Christie is probably the last shining star of hope for the republican party. He at least appears to be a stand up guy who genuinely cares about the people who have entrusted power to him. Face it, the republican party is headed down a really bad path, and if they don't learn to embrace and use a little bit of "common sense", they're toast!

    June 4, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. sly

    Christie did the right thing here, and as a moderate Republican, he is the east coast version of Arnold Schwartzenger.

    Unfortunately, moderate Republicans are pretty worthless – Arnold did NOTHING for 6 years, we have nothing to show for his term except the typically large Republican defiict (which Gov Brown turned into a surplus in 1 year!).

    Between Arnold's coke and women problem, and Christies obesity, neither is a viable national candidate, but I am glad they at least try as Governor's to help their people.

    June 4, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. khef12

    Republicans talk about how the government is taking away their freedoms, yet they want Christie to do just that by not letting the people choose..

    June 4, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. sammy750

    Who the H*LL does Republican, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey think he is. He is a lobbyist that promotes the terrorist efforts of the Republicans and big contributors to the party. Armey comments mean nothing to the voters

    June 4, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. bill

    I say the GOP should filibuster the special election, get the NRA involved, run millions of dollars of attack ads and blame ObamaCare. This seems to be their game plan for everything else.

    June 4, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  18. Laurie in Spokane

    I just love it when the republicans stick by each other............. Isn't Dick Armey about to retire? Shouldn't there be a maximum limit to the stupid things senators are allowed to say? I think he's past the limit.

    June 4, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. Citizen-Soldier

    I am a Democrat, but if Christie somehow wins his party's nomination for the presidency, I will cross the line without hesitation. Christie would give voice to those of us on both sides of the political spectrum a true voice that has not been heard in quite a while.

    June 4, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  20. longtooth

    Christie is the smartest republican I've ever seen. That makes him the biggest threat to democrats in many years, but his own "Party of Stupid" can't see it. As a follower of politics for 50 years, this is wildly entertaining. Instead of the same boring, obstructionist, bullcrap we see every day, he comes across as real. What a sinner!

    June 4, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. goo6er

    I think all of us commentators should be quiet for an hour or two and just wait for Christie's response. It's bound to be richer than anything we can come up with. Go Chris.

    June 4, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. Brian, NJ

    So by playing fair rather than exploiting political opportunity per Mr. Armey, Christie is the idiot? With everyone and mostly GOP House members playing politics rather than doint their jobs, this continues to show why Christie is a breath of fresh air and a true leader.

    June 4, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  23. ArkyDog

    Would it have been so hard to have provided some statistics as to what Governors have historically done is this situation, to put the event in some context? It would tell us a lot about whether Christie's a wild man or not.

    June 4, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  24. Mac

    Why does anyone on this planet give a $#%^ about what Dick Armey has to say. The guy is named Dick Armey for petes sake. He was a failure as a legislator and as a lobbyist.

    June 4, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  25. Billy Bob

    There is no way the right wingers who control the GOP are ever going to allow Christie to be their party's nominee in 2016. They will only allow a wing nut such as Jindal or Ryan. Being from NJ, and growing up in a republican town and in a republican county, I can tell you the NJ republican is a completely different animal than what we see with the bible thumpers and the tea party wackos. NJ republicans are fiscal conservatives, but, most of all, they are practical.

    June 4, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
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