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. blakenaustin

    Did you blow it on Obama? WIll you acknowledge that too? Compulsive liar. Fiscally irresponsible. Constitutional end runs. Scandal after scandal. Incompetent. No moral compass. And the list goes on.

    February 9, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. lex

    Newspapers are corrupt. There is obviously a democratic hit team behind this one.

    Does anyone remember4 news media targeting good old corrupt Corzine, who literally slept with a conflict of interest.

    \

    February 9, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. gahh

    When is the American people going to stop allowing massive liars, to govern this country? Obama looked at all of us in 2008, and made so many promises of cleaning up Bush's messes, we jumped at voting for him. It didn't take long to find out he was a pathological liar, just like Bush. Now we find out, muscle man Christie isn't any better than Bush or Obama. Just another liar and bully, to get what he wants.

    February 9, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. Lars

    "We blew it" the same way the NYT did by endorsing Barack Obama. The press is really going after Christie for a lane closure. They have written more articles about this that Hilary Clinton's involvement (or lack there of) in Benghazi or any Obama scandal. It appears that the press has taken sides in favor of Democrats instead of being objective. Getting Christie out of the way to help Hilary. Most journalists have become nothing more that lap dogs for the Democrat Party.

    February 9, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. chiniquy

    The Editor said they knew Gov Christie was a "bully" but they still endorsed him. They knew that he was acting like the "godfather" (or Don) of New Jersey but they didn't tell the rest of us. Just like the media cheered us all the way into the war in Iraq on made up evidence of 'weapons of mass destruction.' The media has proven time and time again that they are not the friends of "regular hard working people."

    February 9, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. ObamaCares!

    Chris Crisco is unelectable and fried!
    Time to support Hillary Rodham Clinton, a true Patriot!!

    February 9, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. GoodVaGuy

    Christie is s US politician. By definatiin he is slime.

    February 9, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. Bogus Weems

    I live in New Jersey, I vote Republican, but I don't like Christie. HOWEVER, how about producing one piece of evidence to prove that Christie knew and is lying?? Its very coincidental that in polls the only Republican shown who can beat Hillary is now being tried and convicted into not running for president? I thought the public was sick of the usual politics of lies and smear-jobs? Sorry but I can't convict an innocent man without PROOF, so prove it.

    February 9, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. Chris-E...al

    CHriistie has m0re sence than to support a bridge closeing .get 0ver it libs an get back to screwing up ever itsy bitsy thing y0u all touch! YeS You Can take that wreaking ball .an destroy y0urself .an leave it 2 us 2 fix .an we will this n0v an 2016.

    February 9, 2014 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  10. KBNJ

    @ The REAL TRUTH: When I said the 'liberal media', I MEANT the liberal media – not the conservative media. If you think there's something in between, or that the vast majority of print media (i.e. newspapers, with the possible exception of the WSJ) is NOT predominantly liberal, you're simply not living on this planet.

    February 9, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. steve coster

    Yeah. And CNN blew it on endorsing Obama. So when will the media get out of the Politic business?

    February 9, 2014 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. Uncle Sam

    Well, who could blame the newspaper, who would a thought a governor was capable of this?

    February 9, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  13. YUCK

    By reading the history of "the republican party"and observing them now,it seems that they keep on repeating themselves,by oppressing and malicing and slandering also LYING all just too keep their image."if you trust a person that smiles,than you're a fool for believing all of their lies.like that oldie song that says."smiling faces that lie."

    February 9, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. bill

    WE blew it on christie???? a bridge deal??? OK–but-we blew it on obama. We have a president who lies and lies and lies and has an agenda that really does change america. Nixon lied to coverup watergate-obama lied to get obamacare passed–YOU CAN KEEP YOUR INSURANCE-and is still telling lies to make what he thinks is his legacy. A bridge vs. lies about Bengazi--sent rice out A WEEK LATER to tell the world that it was A VIDEO-to win the election. YES WE BLEW IT ON OBAMA-HIS CHANGE WAS ALL FOR THE WORSE AND UNLESS SOMETHING HAPPENS WE WILL NOT RECOVER.

    February 9, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  15. mirofr

    Yep! When one faction of the DR Party gets caught (even though they have layers and layers of underlings for deniability) – the other faction goes – SEE!

    Both factions work for the same masters.

    February 9, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  16. Scott

    Wow! the Dems and the liberal media must REALLY be scared of this guy. There is no evidence that Christie new anything about this yet yada, yada, yada...

    February 9, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  17. sherman

    Endorsements don't sway people.

    February 9, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  18. Kevin

    Regardless of how much he knew, Christie's presidential aspirations are kaput. Like Hillary, whose State Department failures (per bipartisan Senate committee report) led to the deaths of four Americans, these lane closures caused a lot of headaches and time for Americans. If you add up the time lost in traffic, it probably equals about four lives. So both are responsible for failures on their watches.

    February 9, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  19. badtobone

    I have know ideal who next president will be. What I do know is he or she will have eight plus years to blame Obama for everything

    February 9, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  20. ccoose

    Hold it. This paper guy says he'd take back his endorsement for Christie for governor but would endorse him for President? Who is this guy's boss and why is he still writing?

    February 9, 2014 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  21. Xyzick12

    So the Star Ledger joins the witch hunt on a decent guy, Not a huge news. Who reads this lousy pepper anyway?

    February 9, 2014 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  22. Bob

    Does anyone honestly care what the editor of the Newark Star Ledger says? CNN is really scraping the bottom of the bucket again.

    February 9, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  23. Rachel

    I think Americans who voted for Obama feel the same way too.

    February 9, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. Al

    Not that it excuses Governor Christie for anything wrong he might have done, but it's not like the Democratic party's current favorite was any better in the ethics department.

    February 9, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  25. mu

    IMHO this is a smear campaign against Governor Christie… i believe there are a few people (top elite group of people running the country) that believe Christie would be a President that would be to unpredictable for their comfort level… These people want predictability such as a Obama or a Hillary… That's why there is no chance this man gets elected… just look at Obama.. prior to 2008, he was made a godsend in the media and people fell for it.. Mass media's portrayal of Obama is what got him elected in the first place.. that is why mass media is so dangerous.. kind of like a brainwash/propaganda.. kind of scary if you ask me

    February 9, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
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