February 9th, 2014
11:25 AM ET
6 years 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. mike

    Thanks for the laughs all you Obama hater trolls. Your comments are comical.

    February 9, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  2. 66Biker

    "...who is better at talking than governing,” Moran wrote.

    A statement that could be said for nearly every politician in the country. (Without making any party references at all.)

    February 9, 2014 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  3. muffintop

    Sooner or later bully Christie would get his commuppance. Is this sooner or later? Stay tuned, more to come!

    February 9, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  4. S. B. Stein

    They should have not endorsed someone who is a bully. Buono was a better choice solely because she was not a bully who was willing to listen to get things done. Since they didn't like Buono, they should have kept their mouths shut and endorsed no one.

    February 9, 2014 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  5. Name Charlene Leonardi

    leave Governor Christie alone he's a good governor for the state of New Jersey he's doing the right thing is very strong minded leave the guy alone already..I own a home in Brooklyn and I have another home in New Jersey and he's a good governor for the state of New Jersey leave the poor guy alone let's all move on and lets get rid of the bad things that are going on in this world amen!!!:-)

    February 9, 2014 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  6. ChrisM

    Christie is done, next

    February 9, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  7. Susan

    I don't fear Chris Christie losing his job as governor IF the evidence shows he messed up and this was on him. What I fear more is another Democratic governor who will fawn all over the unions again and give away the farm. People, there's a reason why we have the highest property taxes in the nation, and it's not because we have a lot of parks to maintain. It's because of the teachers, municipal workers, local corrupt politicians and their nonsensical "home rule," and all of the other pigs at the trough getting fat and happy with their sweet payouts. He was the only one in two decades to stand up to these fools and now the whole thing is going to go back to business as usual. At least now that we'll have another Democratic governor it will give me a good reason to get the heck out.

    February 9, 2014 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  8. Horacio Horace

    Buono would have been a disaster. Christie gets things done.

    February 9, 2014 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  9. Solitairedog

    Whoa, that's a sour choice; Rand Paul or Christie. I choose... oh god I'm not voting Republican anyway. Hillary!

    February 9, 2014 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  10. Crampon

    They must really be bummed about endorsing Obama then, as he messes up the whole country, not just one bridge in one state.

    February 9, 2014 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  11. Jim

    Newspapers shouldn't endorse Republicans, no matter what. It's not how the media operates. It implies fairness and an open mind, rather than an agenda.

    February 9, 2014 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  12. Grampa

    Madam President, huh. Yep, sounding better all the time.

    February 9, 2014 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  13. Raiders Of The Lost Dark

    President Hillary Clinton.
    I like the sound of that.

    February 9, 2014 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  14. Badda

    No different than any other politician

    February 9, 2014 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  15. Raiders Of The Lost Dark


    I wonder "if" the papers will say the same thing about Obama??
    Oh that's right....we are required to treat him different so it doesn't look politically incorrect.

    Sorry, Obama doesn't direct traffic,
    he is too busy running the country.

    February 9, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  16. allenwoll

    Oh, well - It's New Jersey, after all !

    February 9, 2014 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  17. Rabies

    What happened to newspapers simply printing the facts? Stop endorsing candidates and report the news.

    February 9, 2014 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  18. JJ

    Has anyone explained to these nimrods that it is possible for them to endorse NO ONE??? There is no such thing as choosing between two bad candidates in an endorsement process. The third option, no endorsement, is completely valid. This excuse on their part is pathetic.

    February 9, 2014 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  19. btldriver

    For all of the criticism and finger pointing and bad media, no one has found any proof that Christie did anything wrong. While Christie may catch some of the blame, either his people are really loyal and not saying anything or he did nothing wrong because it seems like people are trying to blame Christie but nothing is sticking.

    February 9, 2014 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  20. Smokey

    Really, they would rather have a President Chris Christie than a President Rand Paul? Frankly that is just insane.

    February 9, 2014 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  21. Scott

    Rand Paul is a bit deranged and desperate for attention. Chris Christie has turned out to also be a thin skinned buffoon. Hillary Clinton is looking very good to me at the moment. Hopefully we can get either Nikki Haley or Haley Barbour to run. I am not going to vote for a Republican with significant character flaws. It is sad that there are so many emotionally unbalanced people in the Republican party running for office. The party is stuck in a rut because it is unable to think on its own. It has been defining itself in a reactionary fashion to the Democrats instead of offering goals for the future and then figuring out how to meet them.

    February 9, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  22. steven harnack

    @Pay, that's one of the biggest problems that you wingnuts have. You're always "I seem to recall" ing things that never happened, hearing things that were never said and just generally ignoring the real world in favor of the one in your imagination, as told back to you by Fox Gnus.

    February 9, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  23. FT

    How about not endorsing anyone? The editorial board would have been more credible had it taken a position that NJ needed a governor, and not a choice between two bafoons..

    February 9, 2014 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  24. neal

    " a man who is better at talking than governing".... sound's like Obama too... btw.. I am an Independent.

    February 9, 2014 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  25. Joe Boxer

    The biggest case of buyer's remorse in this country is OBAMA....period.....

    February 9, 2014 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
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