February 9th, 2014
11:25 AM ET
7 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.

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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. judith

    Oh how the mighty bully has fallen. Christie is a loathsome individual and never would have risen any higher. He's too repulsive and arrogant (not to mention utterly corrupt).

    February 9, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. khistian

    Next time the endorsement should say both candidates are pathetic. Good luck choosing

    February 9, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. josh

    Meanwhile, we still don't have all the information on Fast & Furious. A program run by current presidential administration officials. You kniw the operation that gave guns to mexiacn drug cartels and has been linked to multiple killings.
    But I suppose closing a couple lanes on a road is much more of an endagerment to life since a republican is involved. Never mind the democrat holding the highest office.

    February 9, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. Jma

    Why someone wants to endorse someone they don't like and still insists to endorse it again after realizing their mistake/

    February 9, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. victor yao

    Republicans are good at big money and spinning lies.

    February 9, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. rizvi

    or, or, OR...you could endorse neither. what a novel idea.

    February 9, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. Juergen

    I lived in north Jersey 25 years ago. People used to read the Star Ledger like it was the Bible.

    Christie is his own worst enemy. Darned shame.

    February 9, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. eddhur

    sounds like the one we have in the white house

    February 9, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. yesorno

    How about some endorsement problems, LOL.

    February 9, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. Thom

    Chris Christie who ????

    February 9, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Jeff

    I know as far as local politics are concerned, there are multiple occasions where the paper in town will just not endorse anyone. I don't understand why they couldn't just do that here. They call him creepy and a bully, but still decide to endorse him? It almost seems that because they knew he would have an easy victory, they didn't want to deal with all the questions of not endorsing him.

    February 9, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Nick

    How do they feel about Obama after 5 disastrous years?

    February 9, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. mike

    Thats how Obama supporters feel. They blew it

    February 9, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Michael F.

    Stick a fork in him...he's DONE!

    February 9, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. Humbrrto

    The NJ Federal Attorney.General Fishman.is already hiding criminal charges filed against Christie and Rodner, both from the Newark NJ federal prosecutors office.

    February 9, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. LI_Bri

    American's have the government they want. I know because most Americans do not even care enough to vote, and those that do usually re-elect the incumbent.

    February 9, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. NorCalMojo

    The fish rots from the top. This is bad, but not as bad as using the IRS to harass and intimidate political rivals.

    February 9, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. MMonroe

    More BS to sell newspapers. Ledger is known for terrible reporting and changing opinions on a dime. Glad so many don't read this pulp can we keep it off the internet please since it now reflects badly on CNN. Thanks

    February 9, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Obvious

    "The controversy has tarnished Christie’s potential run as a potential front-runner for the 2016 GOP presidential primary. " -- Which is THE ONLY REASON YOU EVER HEARD ABOUT ANY OF THIS. Your liberal media at work.

    February 9, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. svann

    "Lol, every post asks the same question, why endorse anyone? Well, Star-Ledger, why??"

    That is the basically the same question as "If you dont like either candidate then why vote at all"? So, would you suggest people not vote if they dont like either candidate?

    February 9, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. Claudia, Houston. Tx

    We've got of doctors and lawyers running this Country. Doctors treat patients and lawyers defend the innocent or. guilty. Why in do we elect them to run this Country when they aren't qualified, can you be a doctor or lawyer without a license. These people aren't aanymore qualified than you or I.

    February 9, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. Solomon Walker

    Christie or not – you were paid. Apologizing for it now is insincere. Give the money back to the people you took it from if you really mean it.

    February 9, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. Jim k

    " A politician who's is better at talking than governing". That describes Christie quite well. It also perfectly describes the current occupant of the White House. And some former ones as well. What a sad state of affairs in our country.

    February 9, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. Dave

    NJ really can pick governors..eh?

    February 9, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. Tom

    Look Christie is a worthless rhino.. No doubt
    But Obama is the Most Over Rated,under scrutinized and Traitorous Politician and Pressyde t this country has EVER empowered..
    All because of the Venomous Hate for Bush, which by the way was no hero of mine.

    February 9, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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