Chris Christie fades into darkness – By DANIEL STRAUSS   8/22/15 8:01 AM EDT   Updated 8/22/15 8:01 AM EDT


Sinking in the polls and struggling to gain traction in New Hampshire, the New Jersey governor could be relegated to the “kiddie table” debate next month.

Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gestures while speaking at the RedState Gathering Friday, Aug. 7, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

He was supposed to be the brash, blunt New York-area candidate who told it like it is. Then came Donald Trump.

Chris Christie, the voluble New Jersey governor, is once again facing the possibility that he might be relegated to the junior varsity debate — and rival Republican campaigns and outside observers say his window to re-enter the top tier of presidential candidates is closing fast.

Wednesday night’s scene in New Hampshire showed the daunting challenge ahead of Christie. As CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC covered Trump’s first town hall live — breaking only to run clips of Jeb Bush attacking the real estate tycoon — Christie was gasping for air on C-SPAN. Because the governor’s dimly lit event — a town hall at a restaurant outside of Manchester — was outdoors, the few viewers watching saw the candidate gradually disappear into darkness. The next day’s headlines duly focused on the Jeb-Donald contretemps, ignoring Christie’s play for a state he has made central to his fading White House hopes.

“He’s just not getting the traction that I think he was expecting,” said Andy Seale, the former chairman of the Republican Party in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire.

Christie has become such an also-ran that the Associated Press and the New York Times recently reassigned reporters dedicated to covering Christie — Jill Colvin and Kate Zernike — to other beats.

Then there are the polls.

If current trends hold, the New Jersey governor will likely lose his spot in the primetime CNN/Reagan Library debate on Sept. 16, displaced by a surging Carly Fiorina. As of mid-day Thursday, Christie was in 11th place among GOP presidential contenders in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls — behind Trump, Bush, Ben Carson, Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, Fiorina, Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. John Kasich, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

 

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Christie channels Tom Brady in New Hampshire – By BEN SCHRECKINGER 5/8/15 2:32 PM EDT


Struggling New Jersey governor invokes besieged quarterback on his home turf.

Chris Christie is pictured. | AP Photo

Chris Christie just threw a Hail Mary in New Hampshire.

Behind in the polls, with his former staffers facing indictments in one court and his signature pension reform facing implosion in another, the New Jersey governor rushed to defend a scandal-plagued leader Granite State voters can definitely get behind: Tom Brady.

“I think there’s a little bit too much attention on this,” said Christie of reports that the New England Patriots quarterback was probably complicit in a plot to tamper with the footballs he used in games, calling the scandal “way, way overblown” in a Thursday interview with IJReview.

“I don’t think anybody is really trying to say that Tom Brady won four super bowls or became a future Hall of Famer because the balls were a little under inflated,” Christie added. “I think the media and others love for somebody who is married to a beautiful model, who is richer than you can imagine and who is a future Hall of Famer, to take a couple of shots at him? People like that every once in a while.”

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Chris Christie’s 2016 Access Lane Has Been Closed – John Nichols on January 31, 2014 – 6:34 PM ET


Chris Christie was never going to be the president of the United States. That issue was settled long before gridlock set in on the lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge. The New Jersey governor’s record on the critical measures for any state executive bidding for the presidency in 2016—job creation and economic growth—were dismal, and his positions on economic and social issues were far too conservative to attract swing voters in a country that had already rejected John McCain and Mitt Romney.

What remained uncertain was whether a Republican Party that has not nominated a winning candidate with a name other than “Bush” since the 1980s would gamble on Christie. And that issue is now settled, as well.

Even before The New York Times reported on Friday that former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official David Wildstein, an old friend of the governor who gained his position with Christie’s blessing, has written a letter explaining that it was on “the Christie administration’s order” that access lanes to the bridge were closed—thus gridlocking Fort Lee, a city where the Democratic mayor had refused to endorse the Republican governor’s re-election bid—Republicans across the country were looking elsewhere.

After his re-election last fall, Christie led the Republican pack in national polls and polls from battleground states.

That’s over.

Washington Post/ABC News survey released this week determined that Christie “appears to have suffered politically from the bridge-traffic scandal engulfing his administration.”

That’s polite newspeak for: Christie’s numbers among those most likely to support him have tanked.

In the Post poll, only 43 percent of Republicans viewed the governor favorably—not that much better than his favorable rating among Americans in general: 35 percent.

The survey found that Christie had sunk to a weak third-place position in the nomination race, with support from just 13 percent of Republican-leaning voters. The candidates who have benefitted most from the governor’s collapse—nationally known Republicans with big names and well-established histories—were soaring. Congressman Paul Ryan, the party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, who is looking a little more like a 2016 contender these days, was at 20 percent. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was at 18 percent.

Worse yet for Christie, his 13 percent support level was barely better than that found for Texas Senator Ted Cruz (12 percent), Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (11 percent.) and Florida Senator Marco Rubio (10 percent).

There was a line of analysis that suggested Christie—who after a marathon press conference three weeks ago, in which he tried and failed to explain himself, has pretty much avoided the media—might ride the storm out and get back into contention.

But reality has to be dawning on even the most ardent Christie enthusiasts, now that Wildstein’s lawyer has released the letter claiming that “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference.”

It is too early to say where the inquiries and investigations of the bridge scandal—and all the other scandals that have arisen in its wake—will ultimately end up. Christie’s hirelings are still spinning out denials — ripping Wildstein and raging atThe New York Times. But it should be clear by now that the sorting out of this governor’s troubles is going to take a very long time. Christie will be fighting in that time not to restore his presidential prospects but to retain his current position. Better than any of the “Christie Knew” and “You’re Lying, Gov” headlines of Saturday morning, The Newark Star Ledger summed Christie’s mess up best: “If (what Wildstein says) proves to be true, then the governor must resign or be impeached.”

This is not the sort of conversation that is had about a credible contender for any office, let alone the 2016 Republican nomination.

And this is why the time really has come to accept that Chris Christie’s brief period as a presidential prospect is absolutely finished.

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Democratic noise machine targets Christie – By ALEXANDER BURNS | 1/14/14 5:03 AM EST


wFrom left, clockwise: Loretta Weinberg, Chris Christie, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Mark Sokolich, Bill Pascrell, Barbara Buono and Bill de Blasio are shown in this composite. | AP Photos

The all-hands-on-deck strategy recalls the heyday of the 1990s Clinton scandals. | AP Photos

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For years, Chris Christie was one of the country’s most gifted political thespians: More than any other contemporary Republican, he mastered the art of crafting dramatic moments for TV and online consumption and watching the nation thrill to the raw force of his personality.

Now, the New Jersey governor, whose aides once took pride in creating viral videos of his town hall smack-downs, is battling a set of adversaries wielding many of the same media tools against him.

The Garden State’s unfurling retribution scandal — in which at least three Christie associates have been tied to a scheme to deliberately disrupt traffic near the George Washington Bridge — has quickly become a case study in the evolution of the powerful messaging apparatus that national Democrats have built in the Obama era.

(QUIZ: How well do you know Chris Christie?)

The Christie uproar would be a sensational story under any circumstances, thanks to the governor’s status as a leading presidential contender and a set of raw facts that are alternately troubling and profoundly entertaining. Christie’s aides and appointees didn’t need much help getting themselves into deep trouble. But with only a minor show of force from an array of entities on the left, “Bridgegate” has become a full-blown national political maelstrom.

And this time, Christie may not be stronger than the storm.

Most voters following the Bergen County intrigue likely found out about it last week, when the Record newspaper obtained emails showing that Christie’s deputy chief of staff had sent a message apparently green-lighting the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge.

But for nearly a month prior to the publication of those emails, the Democratic National Committee was plugging away at an anti-Christie message that has now become the talk of the political world and that a web of liberal groups, politicians and talk-show hosts have joined together to amplify.

(Also on POLITICO: Chris Christie faces audit on Sandy funds)

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