Christie says GOP could learn from his campaign

Gov. Christie appears on "Meet the Press." On various shows, he discussed the GOP's direction.
Gov. Christie appears on "Meet the Press." On various shows, he discussed the GOP's direction.
Posted: November 12, 2013

As he stopped by nearly every national television talk show Sunday morning, Gov. Christie - in characteristically self-assured fashion - encouraged the Republican Party to learn a few things from how he just ran his landslide reelection race in New Jersey.

"If you want to attract a majority of the Hispanic vote, if you want to nearly triple your African American vote, you need to show up. You need to go into those neighborhoods," Christie said on Fox News Sunday, repeating a point he made on other shows.

The governor avoided questions about whether he would repeat the strategy himself with a presidential bid in 2016. But he also didn't commit to serving out his entire term.

"Listen, who knows? I don't know," he said on ABC's This Week, adding that he didn't anticipate being where he is now four years ago.

"Nobody can make those predictions," Christie said.

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said the governor wasn't fooling anyone. As Christie touted key election returns - including his support from 57 percent of women, 51 percent of Hispanics, and 32 percent of Democrats - in his cruise to a second term against Barbara Buono, a Democratic state senator, he was priming his party for a presidential run, he said.

"There's only one reason for that," Sabato said. "It's to send a message to Republican activists that if they want to break up the Democratic coalition, they have to nominate someone who can attract minority voters. And, oh, by the way, look at my percentages."

Christie did show restraint on at least one topic: Iran. On two shows Sunday, he refused to share his thoughts on nuclear negotiations with the Islamic republic, repeatedly telling the hosts he wasn't qualified to do so.

That was the right move, GOP media consultant Mike Hudome said.

"Many unseasoned politicians probably would have tried to answer that question, and it wouldn't have been taken seriously," Hudome said.

He also lauded Christie for managing to appear calm - countering the perception that he has a short fuse - while still delivering strong criticism of President Obama and Congress.

The governor said Obama lied about the impact of the Affordable Care Act. And Christie said Americans are frustrated with the inability of the president and Congress to compromise - while reminding viewers that he works with a Democrat-controlled Legislature.

Responding to criticism that he is too moderate to appeal on a national stage, Christie said his history of cutting business taxes and adding private-sector jobs is consistent with his party's principles. At the same time, he said he would support some gun-control measures if they curbed violence, and he encouraged his party to fix a "broken" immigration system.

"He was careful not to describe himself as something he's not, which is a solid conservative," Sabato said. "There's no way he can make it through the primaries pretending that."


tnadolny@phillynews.com

610-313-8205

@TriciaNadolny

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