Christie: Iowans 'love' me
March 27th, 2014
07:58 PM ET
9 years ago

Christie: Iowans 'love' me

(CNN) - Chris Christie thinks Iowans aren't tired by the bumper crop of questions circling his political future.

In fact, he says Hawkeye State voters like him almost as much as corn dogs at the state fair.

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"I think they love me in Iowa, too," Christie told ABC News' Dianne Sawyer in an exclusive interview that aired Thursday evening.

While the New Jersey governor's very public tussle with the question of running for president in 2016 moves toward an answer as slow as molasses in January, the Republican name-checked the early voting state as a potential building block for a would-be campaign.

"I've been there a lot," Christie said of the state. "I think they love me there, too, especially because of the way I am."

Christie has come under fire over a political scandal roiling his administration.

State legislative and federal investigators are looking at whether traffic jams were orchestrated by top appointees near the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee last year as political retribution against the town's Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie for reelection.

A report released on Thursday by a team of private lawyers hired by Christie's office to scrutinize the issue cleared him of having any knowledge of the matter until after it all occurred, a point the governor has made previously.

But the saga has called into question his sometimes brash leadership style that helped propel his rise to national prominence.

Despite the governor's insistence that Iowa voters "love" him, Christie's stock in the state has slipped during the fallout from the bridge imbroglio that has engulfed several top appointees.

A Des Moines Register poll from earlier this month indicated 57% of Iowans disapprove of the way Christie handled the scandal. Republicans in the state were not much kinder to the potential candidate: 47% said the New Jersey governor's response was lacking.

Christie's stock has also fallen in relation to one potential 2016 rival.

A Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this month showed Christie trailing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 48% to 35%, among Iowa voters, a dramatic shift from when the New Jersey governor led the Democrat and potential White House candidate by 5 points in a December poll.

Thus far, Christie, who helms the Republican Governor's Association - a powerful fundraising arm - has skipped stopping in Iowa to campaign with Gov. Terry Branstad.

Running for a record sixth-term, Branstad backed Christie amid calls for New Jersey's chief executive to resign his post as RGA chair over the scandal.

But the longtime Iowa pol predicted that winning over voters in his state, who kick off the caucus and primary calendar, could be tough tomatoes for Christie.

"Wouldn't hurt to be a little more humble," Branstad told the Los Angeles Times in February. "Iowans really like their leaders to be hard-working and humble."

Still, Christie insisted again, like he did on Wednesday night on his "Ask the Governor" radio program, that the impasse for his administration will not weigh on his decision about 2016.

"I don't intend to make a discussion about 2016 until a year from now," Christie said. "But it won't have anything to do with what has happened in the past 10 weeks."

"What has happened in last 10 weeks, I think will ultimately make me a better leader, whether it's governor of New Jersey or any other job I might take in the public or private sector," he added.

Filed under: 2016 • Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross......

    Let me get this straight. Being cleared by your own attorneys now means you're exonerated? Ok.

    March 28, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  2. blf83

    No, Mr. Christie, we don't.

    March 28, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Wow what will msnbc have to do now that Christie is cleared ??

    Cleared by who? His legal team? According to news reports, this charade cost me and my fellow New Jersey tax payers $1,000,000! In Christies mind, he is untouchable like Huey Long, but he is in for a surprise.

    March 28, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. Joi Gibson

    His lawyers cleared him of any wrongdoing. If anyone believes this is a credible report, then I respectfully ask what color is the sky in your world. Not even his bosom buddies over at Morning Joe found this report to be credible. Chris Christie is the only person who believes this crock of poo. I heard Jim Avila of ABC News say this morning when the "real" investigation is complete . . . but hey Christie loves himself and Sheldon Adelson probably believes this so-called report as well, so all is well in Christie-land.

    March 28, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. Pete

    Hey Christie after your legal team cleared you of your stupidity maybe you could move to Iowa..The bridges there aren't as busy and you could farm twinkies there as well BIG BOY!!

    March 28, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. Rusty Krus

    If he didn't know anything about the "Traffic Study" or what his staff was doing, he is the least competent governor in America.

    March 28, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. Ward Cleaver

    Ms. Sawyer looks like she isn't buying his B.S...

    March 28, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    No they don't,
    He's lying.

    March 28, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. BinFl

    Wow, and the naysayers call President Obama arrogant! Can't get much more arrogant than this guy and what kind of declared innocence is valid when it's made by lawyers hired by the guy being accused – simply ridiculous!! Of course they are going to say he had no knowledge of the scandal. Anyway, as an Independent he lost me a while ago.

    March 28, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. RCM

    Iowans are not that crazy, or maybe they are afraid of the Bully

    March 28, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. DW

    Yes, even Iowan's loves a good joke!

    March 28, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  12. Dave

    Only Republicans would accept Christie's sham 'exoneration." That man will never occupy the White House. Now, White Castle, on the other hand....

    March 28, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "I think they love me in Iowa, too," Christie told ABC News' Dianne Sawyer in an exclusive interview that aired Thursday evening.
    He's being tongue-in-cheek.
    He himself doesn't believe what he's saying.
    Neither does Diane Sawyer.
    This is so terriby boring and useless....omg...between this guy and Trump the Dump...the whole world is laughing at us.

    March 28, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross......

    Does Christy or Rand EVER work for the citizens that elected them or are they simply in constant campaign mode??? You never hear of either of them doing any work. Just flying around the country on the tax payers dime. And bashing President Obama.

    March 28, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. TheSadTruth

    Not a lot of bridges in Iowa, apparently.

    March 28, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Iowans really like their leaders to be hard-working and humble."

    I'm actually beginning to feel embarrassed for Christ Christie. I never respected the guy; but, I'll be the first to admit I didn't see this total political collapse of his coming in such a humiliating fashion to him personally.

    March 28, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross......

    Now BinFl.... Didn't you know it's ok and greatly respected for Christy to be arrogant but it's not for President Obama, he is just too uppity.

    March 28, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. ellid

    And the rest of the country think he's a corrupt bully who closed the most heavily traveled bridge in the country for spite.

    March 28, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  19. yogi

    Of course they do, Christie did some polling himself at a McDonalds restaurant in Iowa, and he thought they said yes though he cannot remember exactly if it was yes or no, since their mouths were full.

    March 28, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross......

    Hey DM. If you get a chance check out the documentary on PBS. Many Rivers to cross. It covers the struggle from the 1500's through now. It's very moving and informative. I learned a lot but have the tissues handy, it's a tearjerker. Especially seeing so many being h u n g while hundreds watched and cheered. I saw Rep Lewis too during the CR movement. Wow do I have the utmost respect for him!

    March 28, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  21. TomGI

    "Iowans 'love' me"

    Is that ego as big as his .....?

    March 28, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. gkam

    Christopher "Big Tony" Christie thinks he is still crime boss. But he screwed up, and others will take him on.

    I hope they will squeeze him into the old concrete cell left by John Gotti.

    March 28, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  23. keeroc15

    They love him because he alone consumes about 50% of the food that the state produces.

    March 28, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross......

    They must be gearing up their red meat anti-anything Obama article for the weekend.....

    March 28, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Richard

    I wonder what will happen not that he has thrown his Chief of Staff under the bus. Let's see what she has to say under oath!

    March 28, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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