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. YoonYoungJo

    What's sad is, I wonder if Christie or anyone in his administration ever questioned what was going on. Realistically we all do wrong but the difference between decent people and indecent is the corrections one makes. Is there any remorse or conscience? Is there any attempt to correct the wrong? Christie did take a big first step and admit his errors so that was actually huge. He did seem remorseful for what occurred and that means a lot.

    February 10, 2014 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  2. rare_earth

    Another reason a newspaper outlet hasn't any business endorsing anyone.

    February 10, 2014 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  3. Seriously?

    I still say that having the word "blew" and then later "Christie" in the same sentence brings up stunningly horrific visual imagery to mind.

    Please adjust your headlines, CNN.

    February 10, 2014 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  4. Greg

    This isn't anything new to me. I've been saying this for over a year now. That he's worthless and corrupt. And he was the Republicans Presidential hopefully for 2016. The man that said! You do whatever it takes to win.

    February 10, 2014 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  5. Scott

    "But we didn’t know his crew was crazy enough to put people’s lives at risk in Fort Lee " Like Obama has? Eric Holder?

    February 10, 2014 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  6. Scott Cisney

    I never understood the fascination with this guy. He came across as a bully, and now his actions show that he is. Shame on New Jersey for electing him at putting him in a position for national office!

    February 10, 2014 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  7. Jack Spratt

    How long is this going to be on this page? Beating a dead horse or not getting the response they want.

    February 10, 2014 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  8. SchedulerLewis

    I find it troubling that a news organization/newspaper would admit that 'they blew it'. Almost as if they wish they had participated in yellow journalism, mistruths and sensationalism. Ethics is all fine and good as long as the rules are applies to others.....

    February 10, 2014 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  9. CraigM

    Chris Christi's chances of the GOP nomination are "KAPUT"!

    February 10, 2014 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  10. Mike

    @Pay, Stating that someone is unqualified for office due to obesity isn't ridiculous at all. And comparing FDR's disability to obesity is like comparing apples to doughnuts. Just because someone is in a wheelchair doesn't necessarily mean they can't do the job, but Christie is hundreds of pounds overweight. I saw how he struggled to keep up with others just walking during Superstorm Sandy. He'll eventually develop an obesity-related illness such as diabetes or heart disease. Furthermore, obesity is preventable and it shows what a poor self-discipline he has to allow himself to become this way.

    February 10, 2014 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  11. sim namore

    They blew this one? Gross.

    February 10, 2014 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  12. shoos

    There is no law to endorse a politician. So don't. Stop with the self importance.You do it to sell newspapers, it's not some heroic jesture.

    February 10, 2014 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  13. Jim

    What a shame it has become that voters really have not "choice" when it comes to a candidate. We are "allowed" to vote for whoever the "Party, PAC, etc." choose to fund and place on the ballot. We are then "fed" whatever groomed images and information on the candidate those funds can manufacture. Complicating this is that anyone, other than those "anointed and selected, choosing to run for office without a "Party, PAC, etc." are faced with a formidable challenge of defending themselves against the slander, personal slime and trash those "selected" candidates artfully manufacture to destroy the potential candidate and their families rather than focusing on the issues and debating the needs and issues crucial to the voters. Political office should be an honor; not a sewage pit of owed favors and political gamesmanship.

    February 10, 2014 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  14. rufusvondufus

    Like the lady once said, "Where's the beef?" In this case, the beef happens to be the evidence related to the two Star Ledger charges. Come on, Star Ledger, where's the beef or are you simply falling into place with the other crooked dems who have run NJ into the ground for the last many years. Does this remind anyone else of Detroit but on a grander scale? This is what Dem's do! Where's the beef!

    February 10, 2014 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  15. rufusvondufus


    Nobody cares about your newspaper, your editorial, or your city.
    February 9, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
    Or your state!

    February 10, 2014 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  16. ottokgross

    I'm not sure why this is article is here. The regret the Start Ledger feels is obviously not based on any evidence that Christie knew anything. The jury is still out. Clearly he had a loose cannon on his staff but doing a mental inventory of presidents and governors time in office it's hard to come up with someone who didn't.
    CNN is just propagating the idea that Christie must have known something with this story. Why the rush to judgement?
    As a resident of NJ I say "shame on you" Star Ledger for ignoring your journalist professionalism. CNN repeated a feeling someone had and reinforced the idea it's fact. Double shame on you.

    February 10, 2014 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    “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
    Someone needs to inform Christie of same.
    He swears that he's not a bully.
    He also swears that he didn't know anything about a bridge closing even though it was on the front page of practically every major newspaper in America, and he's Mr. Micro-manager extraordinaire.
    Let's get this indictment over with.

    February 10, 2014 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  18. PtBarnumBoy

    Now this is a real surprise for sure, a politician managed to fool the media.

    February 10, 2014 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    The REAL TRUTH...

    @KBNJ – Oh, what a bunch of B.S. The liberal press LOVED Christie...
    Ah yes, one more rwnj blaming the "liberal" media.. go do some research on right wing media.. there's ALL of AM talk radio (the buffoon feeds), that fair and balance news channel, and a host of folks who figured out that they can make a REAL GOOD living out of firing up the rabble...
    the "liberal" media is a right wing manufactured myth – and you bought it!
    When you add up all of the newspapers, radio stations, and tv stations in the country, then you will discover that 90% of them are owned by conservatives. Once you leave the big city, urban environments the media is owned almost exclusively by conservatives.

    February 10, 2014 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  20. Mkulpa

    Newark Star-Ledger=liberal rag.

    February 10, 2014 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  21. McRCN

    First they endorse Obama and then Christie. Maybe they need to replace the editorial staff?

    February 10, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  22. Kristoph

    Don't particularly care for Christie, but I'm still waiting for the actual evidence that says he is guilty of doing something untoward. Most of the attacks are ad hominem, attacks on his looks, attacks on his weight, etc. There hasn't been a single news report which cites actual evidence of wrongdoing . . . just all innuendo.

    I give credit though for the chief executive of that state actually taking action and FIRING those involved in the scandal. Our country's chief executive has not fired a single person for the fast n furious scandal, IRS scandal, Benghazi scandal, ACA rollout disaster among others. It is surreal. Regardless of one's political leanings, there is no evidence at all that the president has held even a single person accountable for ANYTHING. He says repeatedly he will, and that he will get to the bottom of things, but nothing happens.

    February 10, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. WCSallyAnn

    This is really funny. The ones now protesting so much earlier had thrown Christie under the bus because he shook Obama's hand. Wow, it shows, and people realize it, how hypocritical some people are.

    Now is Christie guilty of anything? In the average voters mind all across the US, he is guilty. He sure picked some bad people to help him run a state govt. We say what happens when Presidents do that, and we don't need another one doing it.

    No matter how much the RWNJ's try to lift Christie up off the dung heap they threw him upon, he will never be voted in as President. People will not be able to trust him, nor believe him. His presidential ambitions are TOAST..

    February 10, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. Joe Biden

    It looks like Christies birds are coming home to roost. If you lay down with the dogs you get fleas.

    February 10, 2014 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  25. AG

    Christie is the best thing to ever happen to New Jersey. Hopefully, he will be the best POTUS, also!

    February 10, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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