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. Joe

    The Emperor has no clothes. What kind of a leader makes the state spend about $12 million dollars for another election (Senatorial) 20 DAYS BEFORE ELECTION DAY so that he can increase his margin of victory??? Self. Serving. Jerk.

    February 9, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. Deathstalker74

    The GOP is so corrupt. I'd rather take my chances with Obama. he's been so transparent. I know that he's used the NSA and IRS to target civilians but hey, they're Republicans so who cares. It really comes down to who's team is winning, not about ethics.

    February 9, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. James in Canada

    I guess everyone is missing the elephant in the room . The where did these emails come from where did the proof come from . There was no aparant hack , no aide coming out and saying they made a mistake leaving a cell phone with access to it. No one claiming they have a source. It all smells to high heaven to me . Smells like Chicago style thug policies . Smells like NSA data mining and opposition being come after by the presidents secrete police . Does anyone else have a problem with this of just the fact that Christie made a traffic jam ? Which is scarier .

    February 9, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. YoonYoungJo

    Maybe Christie can say it was an accident. Or maybe Christie can say he was forced to orchestrate the traffic jams because he thought in his head the mayor was out to get him. Or maybe he should just make a bunch of stuff up about the mayor, like he smells because we dump garbage on him. Just joking. Sadly it doesn't sound good for Christie. The more the story rolls on the more it appears Christie is nothing he shows himself to be. Hey he should donate tax break money to the poor and say "see I'm actually a good person".

    February 9, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Lou Salerno

    In answer to the many asking why the Ledger would bother with an endorsement in the first place, that one is actually pretty easy to answer: They do it so they can attempt to justify their sense of pretentious self-importance and superciliousness in comparison to the rest of us mere mortals.

    February 9, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. pharmguy1963

    This is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Pass the popcorn,

    February 9, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. The other guy

    Corzine somehow loses 6 billion, that's 6 billion! The world yawns...

    February 9, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. maddog7676

    oh please, Moran is borderline on the Democratic payroll. The Star LIberal has had an anti-Christie agenda designed to grab headlines for their fledgling operation for months. This is just another segment of that.

    February 9, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. maddog7676

    oh please, the Star Liberal has been anti-Christie for months. this is just another attempt to grab headlines to help their floundering financial status.

    February 9, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Tampa Tim

    No amnesty for republican domestic terrorists.

    February 9, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. GOP = Greed Over People

    I agree with the rest of the class, why does a newspaper's editorial staff feel the need to endorse either candidate from any party, IF they believe both are not worthy of the endorsement?

    Sort of denigrates the very integrity of the endorsing process, to make such a meaningless compromise.

    February 9, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Lee

    Seriously the editor should be fired. Papers are not suppose to endorse candidates. Just state the facts he this guy is taking advantage and putting his own feelings out there. He should just hire a therapist.

    February 9, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. sammy750

    The New Jersey fools knew who Christie was yet they elected him with a high margin. Voters don't understand that their vote may have an negative effect on them and the state. Christie could never be trusted, so why was he elected. Voters just couldn't believe he was a crooked politician. But we have many in the Republican Party. Christie fooled all the people no matter what the party, but he won on favors, vote for me and I will do good for you.

    February 9, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. JJ Gildersneeze

    If the Republican primary came to a choice between Rand Paul and Christie, millions of Republicans would reregister as Democrats, never to return.

    February 9, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. Jean sartre

    Christie is nothing more than a Mafia wannabe Don... he makes Don Corleone look like the Pope!

    February 9, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. Christies crew

    Imagine if they had endorsed Obama after fast and furious Benghazi IRS If you like your doctor etc etc and on and on.
    Im sure they did right?

    February 9, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. JJ

    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.

    February 9, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. Mike

    If Christi orrchestrated Bridgegate which I doubt), he is uniquely qualified to be Commander in Chief and to send a message out to other nations like China, Iran and Syria that the USA will not be bullied by anyone. If any nation threatens American nationals or american interests, Presdent Christie will not pussy foot around, They shall incur whatever wrath the Christie decides to rain down on them.
    Who would be foolish enough to dare to threaten a USA that had Chris Christe as Commander in Chief!

    February 9, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. A Republican

    "...then you understand how excruciating the endorsement process can be."
    The only thing that's excruciating for an editor at a rag like the Star Ledger is being forced to opine on the merits of the candidates on the "other team."
    This editorial drips of faux regret. Endorsing Christie was required to prove the Editor weren't all leftist wing nuts because Christie was and IS a better governor/candidate than Buono. The bridge scandal just provides the cover they needed to go the direction they always intended.
    "Risk lives" with lane closures? Puh-lease.

    February 9, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Dan

    I don't think the media should be endorsing any candidate or be involved in politics. The media should provide facts and let the voters decide who to vote for.

    February 9, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. Alina1

    Its sad that it comes to choose from bad to worst ..

    February 9, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. dave

    It should have been obvious as there are never any accidents or traffic delays at or near the Go Bridge.

    February 9, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. budshot

    No wonder Moran endorsed Christie. He's as dead wrong about the schools under Christie as he was about Christie himself. Who was it that talked about putting lipstick on a pig?

    February 9, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. dave

    Tiger says; I am a gullible idiot who believes anything against someone I don't like, no matter how absolutely in probable and far fetched.

    February 9, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Yes, you did screw up... But most of NJ bought into this Bully's fake tough guy persona.

    February 9, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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