Christie was guest-hosting one of the uplifting offerings of New York sports-talk radio station WFAN-AM (660) last week, joining regular host Craig Carton, who once ridiculed acting Gov. Dick Codey's wife for talking about her bout with postpartum depression. The current governor turned his wit to another questionable target, a tabloid sports reporter.
Manish Mehta, who covers the Jets for the New York Daily News, was among the reporters who had been sweating coach Rex Ryan over decisions that led to quarterback Mark Sanchez's injury at the end of an inconsequential preseason game. Defending Ryan, his buddy and fellow weight-loss surgery patient, Christie called Mehta not only an idiot and a dope, but also a "complete idiot" and a "self-consumed, underpaid reporter" (the last apparently meant not to suggest that Mehta deserves a raise, but that his probably modest newspaper salary deserves derision).
The Daily News responded to the governor in sophomoric kind: "Who you calling an idiot, fatso!" its cover demanded. The inside pages drew further attention to the gubernatorial girth, including an informational graphic titled "Manish vs. the Meatball." None of this was particularly dignified or illuminating, but the governor had brought it on himself.
Given an opportunity to reconsider his attack on the ink-stained wretch, Christie didn't. Instead, he reiterated his unfavorable assessment of Mehta's mental capacity. Moreover, he pointed out, "I was on a sports-talk show. I wasn't on Meet the Press." Which raises a question: Why was the governor on a sports-talk show and not Meet the Press?
Part of Christie's charm for many voters is that he doesn't sound like a politician. But he should take more care to avoid sounding like, well, an idiot.