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. Pay

    Mike, the comment about CC not being qualified due to his weight is ridiculous. So you feel Roosevelt wasn't qualified because he was in a wheelchair? SMH.

    February 9, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. anothermuse

    There are still newspapers?

    February 9, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. erocks49ers

    I always wondered how a newspaper could give impartial news if they endorsed a candidate. As far as I'm concerned any paper that endorses a candidate can't be trusted

    February 9, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Pay

    @airjackie – well, I guess those Chicago mafia politics is where CC got it from. I seem to recall several bribes to get Obamacare passed! There isn't an honest politician with morals or integrity in this country (any country, for that matter). You all make me laugh pointing fingers at the other when ALL sides are CORRUPT! Common sense and analytical skills are just about gone. Protect your guys no matter what. Meanwhile, the country goes into freefall. Congratulations to both sides. The country is screwed. Go ahead and pat yourselves on the back. Job well done!

    February 9, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Rula Lenska

    If the choice is between Rand Paul and Chris Christine, for gawd's sake, endorse a Democrat.

    February 9, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. Cindy

    We are no longer the United States of America................We are the "Divided States of America".

    Sad thing is, people have become down right nasty to anyone who dares to disagree with them We act more like people from third world countries these days and signs of common sense are just as fleeting....

    February 9, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. G_Edwards

    When are newspapers going to admit the same with Pres Obama?


    February 9, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. TC

    So what if they endorsed him? He is a member of a corrupt 2 party system, so you are an idiot for voting for him. Think independent and 3rd party, quit buying what they are selling sheeple.

    February 9, 2014 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. Zwei Stein

    I wasn't paid enough to endorse anyone! Stay home. Don't bother voting. We don't need a governor. We'll save a bunch of money. We also don't need a state legislature. If something important...truly important...comes up, we'll have a state wide vote. We need NO bought off politicians making our decisions for us!

    February 9, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. arun

    Good to know one bad guy is out of the race for next president. I knew he was fat and no will power to control his weight. He even tried to bully CA Governor. Good that he is unmasked in time.

    February 9, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. Name. G

    His last statement says it all.

    February 9, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. twalk

    Since Republicans stood behind GWB in all his lies and deceptiveness which would be to many to list, then they will most definitely stand behind Christie. Republican motto is deny, deny, deny, lie, lie lie, spin, spin.spin till the end.

    February 9, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. diddlebuck

    I don't understand the whole controversy. There is NO proof that Christie did anything wrong. I'm not saying that he isn't a bully or just another grubby politician, but at least take him to task for something he did!
    What I don't understand is why CNN is still backing Hussein Obama after virtually every other respectable media outlet and most Democrats have already realized that he aint as good as many thought he was. He consistantly lied to us and is costing the middle class every bit of their hard earned money with his disaster Obamacare. There is no question that the health insurance scene has to redone but this isn't the way to do it

    February 9, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. VJ

    Christie has to pack his bags and go into prison like Rod, Jesse Jackson jr and former Alabama Governor.... period. No remorse for him....

    February 9, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. ZQ

    My voting strategy is do anything I can to keep the GOP out of office. Are Democrats perfect? No. But I will vote for them or whomever has the best chance of keeping a Republican from holding any elected office. When one of your party core values is competition and might makes right, I feel like you shouldn't be in charge of any real power.

    February 9, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  16. DaveinIL

    As usual with liberals (like President Obama), their opinions "evolve" as they see which way the political winds are blowing so they can be against something before they're for it or for something before they're against it. That's why it's so hard for them to lead from the front rather than the rear.

    February 9, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. Vicki

    Christie and the people who kowtowed to him are finding out just how hateful bullies are. People knew he was mean to people who asked questions or said anything he did not like. Why would anyone want such a bully as governor? Makes no sense to me. I hope this continues to expose all Christie's wrongdoing.

    February 9, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. srasmussen

    why endorse anyone. report the news dont become it

    February 9, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. EarthWorm

    Every President till Obama only had a couple of lies on their resume. Obama has blown it out of the water when it comes to scandals, some actually costing lives, deception in the first degree, bribery on Obama Care involving the Supreme Court, using the IRS on opponents, NSA spying on American citizens, and the list goes on for miles.
    If there was ever a President that deserved impeachment it is this one. That is the reason the media is trying to take any story, other than Obama, and making a mountain out of molehill. Already it has been proven that several liberal newspapers have been threatened by the Obama Administration for reporting FACTS which are damaging to Democrats who are running for re-election in November.
    I just wonder which news story the media will take next and try to make that the lead story all the while they are protecting an evil, racist, dictator called Barrack Obama.

    February 9, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. ButterflysHS

    I wish they would leave Christie alone!

    February 9, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. logic n L.A.

    I'll start by saying I am a California Democrat. That said, Christie deserves to be held innocent until information come front that he actually knew anything of these accusations. Operative often do things without a candidates knowledge in their zeal for the person. This article shows how shallow editorial opinion actually is.

    February 9, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  22. Peter Clarke

    Just saying Christy knew of course he did and he is a bully ! If you put any trust in American Politicians to do the right thing let me sell you a bridge...

    February 9, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. J R Brown

    If the paper thinks that Christie is the most over-rated politician in the country, someone should introduce them to our President, Barack Obama.

    February 9, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. newsman

    OK we blew it with Christi. This should now serve as a warning not to elect Hillar Clinton for President. She is old, unfit and in contrast to what she says about her accomplishments she was a total faliure in the State Department. Just look at the mess we have with just about every country in teh East. So, no for Hillary is a must.

    February 9, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  25. Tim

    Well, this article also points out that the Star-Ledger's editorial board "knew he [Christie] was a bully". Yep, as a leader in the community that the Star-Ledger is supposed to be, what an example to set. Knowingly chooses a BULLY to throw your political backing behind. I guess we can see how our STAR REPUBLICANS truly determine how to run our communities, cities, states and country...bully everybody.
    Since the Republican's stratgey is to block things and shut things down to get their way. Why don't they shut down the pathway to the food intake and bully Mr. Christie into having something done about his grosse obesity. That too sets a fantastic example to the world!
    It makes us start to look like the countries we "defend" for "our" freedom. The government and wealthy are FAT PIGS, yet they are trying to make us believe that we are the ones who are consuming too much. REALLY? When was the last time Mr. Christie shut the door to McDonalds and opened one at the gym? Oh, maybe Playland at McDonalds is his "gym". Would certainly be appropriate because of his little tantrums and denial of everything!

    February 9, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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