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Did Chris Christie’s spectacle with Obama stop GOP momentum?; Updated: Christie phones Obama to congratulate him, sends Romney an email

When I first heard this theory, I was skeptical and immediately dismissed it as silly. Who, I thought, would allow something so asinine to influence their vote? Sadly, more people than you’d think. In the exit polls, the following question was asked: "In your vote for president, how would you rate the importance of Obama’s hurricane response?" The results, compiled three different ways, are as follows:

Total Obama Romney
The most important factor 15% 73% 26%
An important factor 27% 65% 33%
A minor factor 22% 51% 46%
Not a factor at all 31% 28% 70%
Total Obama Romney
Important 42% 68% 31%
Not important 54% 37% 60%
Total Obama Romney
Factor 64% 62% 36%
Not a factor 31% 28% 70%

To summarize, an unbelievable 42% of the electorate considered Obama’s "hurricane response" to be an important determinant in their decision. For 15%, it was the most important determinant. Maybe it should be a minor factor — in the neighborhood of Big Bird or binders full of women, for example — but the most important factor on which their vote is based? That simply makes no sense, unless the 15% who provided that response lived in Seaside Heights. But the numbers are what they are. For 64% of the electorate, Obama’s response was at least a factor in their decision. Of the 42% for whom this was important, nearly 7 in 10 voted for Obama. Of the 64% who said it factored into their decision 62% voted for Romney. This is a lot of people, and at least partially explains why a majority of late-deciding voters went to the incumbent when late deciding voters traditionally cast their ballot for the challenger by large majorities.

Given the data, there’s no doubt that Hurricane Sandy helped Obama. This brings us to the question I posed in the headline: Does Chris Christie deserve some of the blame? I’d have to answer in the affirmative. One of the GOP’s consistent messages throughout the campaign (to the extent they had a consistent message, that is) was that Obama was a partisan Democrat who refused to find common ground with Republicans. For example, one of Romney’s ads with which we were deluged in Ohio knocked Obama’s inability to work with Republicans while touting the Mittster’s bipartisanship in Massachusetts where, we were told, he achieved great things working with a state legislature that was 85% Democrat. Romneycare, presumably, was a shining example of the wonders that could be achieved with Romney’s bipartisanship.

However, in the final days of the campaign when those late deciders who, by definition, are moderates for whom bipartisanship is a virtue prized above all others, were making their decision, the country was treated to the specter of one of the nation’s best known Republicans (even if in name only) giving Obama a bear hug before the two of them strolled arm in arm near the Jersey shore. Prior to that Christie was over-the-top effusive in his praise for Obama’s "outstanding" leadership or something:

And with that, Romney’s narrative is destroyed and Obama’s suddenly a great bipartisan leader. Never mind the fact that during the entirety of his presidency, Mr. "I won" has been anything but, and the "great leadership" leadership to which Christie referred with regard to Hurricane Sandy amounted to little more than a couple phone calls from the White House situation room and a bear hug with Chris Christie before jetting off to Las Vegas (again), which the star-crossed New Jersey Governor was more than happy to provide him. Surprisingly, both the phone calls and bear hug were captured on film and featured prominently by the mainstream media during the week leading up to the election. Is there any wonder both Chris Matthews and Michael Moore are openly happy Hurricane Sandy occurred?

There are several theories being floated as to why Christie did what he did. The most innocent I’ve heard is that he simply didn’t know any better and was mesmerized by Obama’s divinity or something. Throw in Bruce Springsteen and Christie was reduced to a weeping, quivering blob of goo. Besides, Christie insists, he did nothing wrong and his very public bromance with Obama had nothing to do with Romney’s loss. Team Mitt disagrees, of course, though I’d take anything that comes from Romney’s campaign with a large grain of salt. As with losers like Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace in the McCain campaign, Romney’s advisors are looking for a scapegoat to whom they can shift the blame from their own incompetence. If Ferhnstrom and company get hired by any future candidates, those candidates deserve the dismal campaigns they’ll get.

I doubt Christie is naive enough to believe his actions were innocent and had no impact. Two other theories for Christie’s actions are far more plausible. First, as Politico reported last week, Chris Christie was Romney’s first choice for VP. But the more Team Mitt was exposed to Christie, the more they soured on him as a potential VP pick. When Paul Ryan was ultimately selected, the theory goes, Christie was rankled at being "passed over" and thus was more than willing to give Obama his photo-op at the beach.

The other theory, which I believe is the most likely, is simpler: Chris Christie wants to be president. A Romney victory would put off those plans for at least 8 years, possibly longer. If Romney wins, Christie won’t even get another chance until 2020. That is unless he were to mount a primary challenge to Romney in 2016, which is something an establishment type like Christie would never do. But if Romney loses, Christie would have a clear shot at his party’s nomination in 2016. And make no mistake, the GOP Establishment will do what they can to exclude actual conservatives from the process and nominate another moderate in 2016, whether it’s another Bush or Chris Christie. Ann Coulter, who declared Mitt Romney to be "the perfect candidate" after his loss to Obama, would certainly be happy with Chris Christie as the nominee. Indeed Coulter, who now resides somewhere in the twilight zone, defended Christie by saying his bizarre behavior with Obama actually helped Romney. I’m not making this up.

Via the Daily Caller, I’ll leave you with Laura Ingraham’s analysis of Christie’s actions.  Along with strolls on the beach, Ingraham notes that Christie shares at least one other characteristic with Obama: First and foremost, it’s always about him.

Update: (h/t HuntingMoose) Via Hot Air:

I don’t know, guys. I just don’t know.

“We didn’t have a political strategy discussion. I said, `Congratulations on your win last night, Mr. President,’ and he said, `Thank you,”’ Christie told reporters today at a National Guard Armory in Franklin Township…

Asked if he’s spoken to Romney since his loss, Christie said: “No; we exchanged e-mails last night,” Christie said. “We haven’t spoken on the phone yet.”

One of Romney’s biggest fundraisers told WaPo (anonymously), “A lot of people feel like Christie hurt, that we definitely lost four or five points between the storm and Chris Christie giving Obama a chance to be bigger than life.”

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  • SonOfOriginalTed


    (of course it did — not necessarily that Romney would have won w/o Cfristie, but, yes, momentum was stopped)

    • mark1955

      No. How would Christie a blowhard leftwing northeast repub Governor,who is loathed by flyover Country and the repub base,stop MITTEN’S momentum? It makes NO sense. MITTEN’S crowd’s were huge and Obama’s were sinking even with Springsteen fronting him. IT was voter fraud and we have to address that or we will never have another legitimate election again.

      • bejocy

        It has to be…  So, what do we do?

        • bejocy

          oh…and 1955 was a very good year…

          • bongobear

            What the hell does that mean?

            • bejocy

              I was just commenting on mark1955’s name. 

              • bongobear

                Please accept my apology for my rude post…that was very uncharacteristic of me.  I guess I’m in a bad mood because of the election results.  I worked so hard on the Romney campaign and watched my candidate blow a winnable election.  It’s hard to take.

  • AngelaTX

    Is the sky blue? Of COURSE Christie wanted Romney to lose. He wants to be president and Romney was standing in his way. Let’s not forget his convention speech, which was all about himself, too.

    Christie was a major part of a Romney loss, as the stats prove. He is narcissitic and self-centered. Christie cares about his own ambitions — and stopping Romney was part of that. Contrast that with Governor Palin who wanted Romney to win. Palin has a servant’s heart. Christie has a "serve me" heart.

    Unlike McCain staffers, who were full of crap blaming their loss on Palin, Romney staffers are CORRECT about Christie bearing a lot of responsibility. I don’t blame them for being pissed. Christie is a fat Judas. Period.


      Tack it up to another reason Mitt lost…..those he had around him as advisers and supporters.
      Hope Rubio is taking notes.

      • uksarahfan

        RINO Rubio’s well needs to be poisoned early and good. Conservatives don’t need to be hoodwinked by that Bushie sponsored amnesty queen. If Gov Palin decides to run she will walk all over empty suit Rubio. My favourite conversation for both of them would be so lets talk about our resume’s…Does the baby RINO’s fill half a side of A4 yet?

  • gahanson

    I can’t say for positive sure that it hurt Romney, but it sure didn’t help.

    Christie has been an 0bama a$$ kisser since day one.  He’s a liberal Republican of a Democrat state, in order to surive he has to be extremely nice to the democrat messiah. 

    He knew exactly what he was doing and saying, especially the part where he says he "doesn’t care and isn’t interested" in whether Romney goes to NJ or not.  Just the look of insulting bitterness on his face is a dead give away.

    Any attempt to elevate this tub of lard to anything other than gov of NJ should be rejected out of hand.  He is a pathetic little man.

  • Janna Blanter

    The Boor of New Jersey will be switching parties soon anyhow so he can be closer to his newest BFF and assume the mantle of front runner candidate for president 2016

  • mark1955

    NO! And we have to get off of all these alternative explanations about what happened tuesday and get off of them Now! What happened was pure unadulterated,calibrated and rapidly becoming instittutionalized VOTER FRAUD! SCYTYL is what happened and it was collaborative between the repubs and dems. The repub establishment needs SCYTYL in this country as much as the dems,because they want a pretext to cement in Obama’s leftwing agenda and use his "Victory" as a reason to say Obama has a "mandate". They also want SCYTYL and the voter fraud they bring because without it there is no way Jebbie can win the Presidency without it. Jeb is a leper politically,but he won’t be by the time SCYTYL fixes all the repub 2016 Primaies for him. Nothing moves or get fixed untill we address the voter fraud issue and how we have an illegitimate government. Anything else for the foreseeable future is mis-direction. America didn’t vote for Obama or a continuation of his agenda.

    • bejocy

      Aaron Klein has reported:

      Obama did not win a
      single state that requires photo IDs to vote, although he was victorious in four
      states that require non-photo identification – Washington, Colorado, Ohio and

      In Colorado, where non-photo identification is accepted,
      a review by showed irregular voting patterns, finding that 10
      counties had a total registration ranging between 104 to 140
      percent of the respective populations.

      (that’s respective populations, not electorate)

      I understand that some folks are stating that Obama ‘owes’ them, big.


    I call Bull.
    If anyone would change their vote 10 days before the election because of Obama’s reaction to Shirley…..then surely they were going to vote for him anyways. 

    • WEL2

      Not if they were on the fence.

  • Jthom26837

     Thank you, Chris Christie for the main person to stab us all in the back on this years Election. It’s really comforting to know it wasn’t Sarah Palin that did something so hideous as this. In fact, with all of the screw ups the Republican party is doing, one after another, I’m suprised that the race was even this close. When I first saw The Chritie- Obama episode playing out, I cringed. I thought each governor in each State is responsible for all of what’s going on. Man, times have changed. Without a doubt, Sarah Palin didn’t cost the Republicans the election. Gosh! October 5, 2011 proved once again how deeply profound it’s turning out to be.

     Anybody out there, cue the Song ‘Smiling Faces Sometimes’ By The Undisputed Truth.’

  • Azarkhan

    Three morons helped Obama win: Akin, Mourdock and Christie.

    • WEL2

      Wrong!  Romney won the states Akin and Mourdock are in.

      • Azarkhan

        Big deal, Missouri and Indiana are red states. Akin and Mourdock lost races they should have won easily, and in ads run nationally the Democrats tied Romney to those idiots, which hurt Romney with women.

        • WEL2

          The little bit those dishonest ads that twisted what they said  hurt Romney paled in comparison to what RINO Christie did to boost Obama.

        • Dillonsdad1

          I could not agree with you more. Women are furious about their crazy statements and showed via their vote.

        • n4cerinc

          Yes. The voters actually had to pick Romney and deliberately choose the Democrat on the ticket. Talk about a protest vote.

  • mark1955

    My goodness,i can’t fathom for the life of me that people here actually would give creedence to the thought that Chris Christie who is loathed amongst the base,would have this type of pull. And on top of that,give credibility to statistics that can be rigged. Especially after all the phony polls we have witnessed in recent memory. " There are Statistics,statisics and damned lies". 

  • patnatasha

    are we sure that fatboy and the dufus aren’t related.

    • bejocy

      Their personalities seem to be….

    • Dillonsdad1

      Is it necessary for you to always be extremely childish with your silly, offensive name calling?

  • Leroy Whitby

    GREAT article. Love it. Ann Coulter is in the twilight zone. I think the reason for Christie’s actions are that he wanted Obama’s help for Jersey, knows that Obama will be vindictive if Christie doesn’t kiss his ass, didn’t care as much about the nation as making sure he didn’t get tagged by the Obama machine for incompetence or whatever pain that Obama could inflict. Cowardice and amorality and self-interest are my explanations for Christie’s actions.

    Christie’s national career in the GOP ended with it though. He miscalculated.


      Look at Obama’s response to all the disasters since he’s been President. *cricket*
      Think back to Joplin, the Mississippi flooding  and the wild fires out west….just to name a few.

      Christie wanted to make sure his state got help and was willing to do whatever it took. He’s never had to handle anything like that before and his inexperience showed.

      No one should be surprised with Christie’s actions. Christie has a history of being moderate at best……people just choose to ignore it.

    • Freempg

      Leroy, don’t put it passed the GOPe to nominate Christie in 2016 for his ability to attract the middle (and I’m not talking about his waistline). I take nothing for granted  

  • n4cerinc

    It wasn’t Christie, though he won points with the Left. It was hurricane Sandy and more specifically, FEMA. When people are suffering and the Gov’t rolls in to help, and in this case it was FEMA, and the Left then brings up Romney’s words about FEMA, that was all that was needed to stop the momentum. 

    But but, that momentum was based only in those polls, the very polls that were so wrong. So who knows?

  • cuatrocinco45

    Obama was still above 80% at Nate Silver’s site before Sandy so he likely still would have won anyway.  Did Christie make any difference?  I doubt it.  Anyone who went for Obama over Romney based on that likely wasn’t a strong Romney supporter anyway.  At most .1 or .2 in any state.  not enough to shift anything. 

    How come no one asks if Colin Powell’s late endorsement mattered?

    But the good news is Christie likely finished any chance he had in 2016.  Although, I said that about Romney with Romneycare and McCain with Immigration and McCain-Feingold and both of them somehow still got the nomination.


       The only thing Christie’s actions hurt were Christie….and his future in the republican party.

    • Dillonsdad1

      I’d say Colin Powell is more likely more of a factor.

  • WEL2

    Christie is a typical RINO—not to be trusted.

  • Lurker

    Laura Ingraham said she wouldn’t be surprised if Christie turned Democrat. I wonder how long we’ll have to wait? Could be soon once he sees poll #’s of his Republican support collapse!

    • Azarkhan

      The unions in NJ would never permit that; they hate Christie. The funny thing is that despite his bromance with Obama, the Democrats will continue to attack him viciously. Christie will become New Jersey’s Scott Brown, a RINO abandoned by the conservative grass roots and knocked out in the next election, probably by Corey Booker.

      • TENCOLE

        Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. ;)

  • Jasmine Clark

    i think everyone is blowing this christie thing WAY out of proportion and is just using him as a scapegoat for romney’s loss.

    • generictrainee

      No, it gave obama a lot.

      • Jasmine Clark

        why do you assume that undecideds care so much about what christie says or does… he’s one person, he doesn’t control the entire election cycle.

    • Dillonsdad1

      Jasmine, you are 100% correct. Romney lost, we all need to stop looking for excuses. The people have spoken, now lets get something done.

  • Jimbini

    Is it me or does anyone else think that Obama and Christie look like Laurel and Hardy? I can just picture them saying, "Well, this is a fine mess of a hurricane, isn’t it Stanley?" "It sure is, Ollie!"

  • Bill__Hughes

    Yes.  He did have something to do with it.  And no, we in NJ will not forget it.  I will do a write-in vote or sit home next year for his re-election.  I don’t appreciate his helping Obama win to clear the stage for himself in 2016. 

    • Jim Wagner

      Thanks Bill.  Wish I lived in NJ so I could do the same!

  • otto

    Chris Christe is a blowhardt  that is a stone cold fact. He stinks.He always stank.. No surprise to me. But to think that every little move was a mine field is ridiculous. Obama was back out in Las Vegas partying with J-ZEE les than a couple hours after he left N.J. Do you think he was balling for those people on the east coast?
     So anybody that is using Flooding as an excuse is lying to you.
     And how fragile are we ,My God . IS THERE A BOOGIE MAN BEHIND EVERY TREE?
    Romney lost because the Republican party stinks to hell,they back bite each other constantly. Their leadership mostly stinks..and many sat at home and helped give us 4 more lousy years.
    and the people of this country are no longer interested in liberty,they are interested in free lunches, and pouting… 
    Many do not know a Marxist Communist when they see one.They did not grow up ,knowing Commie Russia like i did… (esp. the young)
    So stop all this pandering to hispanics and blacks talk and come down off your clouds…They have the same wants and desires the rest of us do..
    . If Black men can’t see the fact that the Democrat party is holding them in servitude, then we can’t help them.we have tried,but they refuse to open their eyes. Or maybe they are afraid of being called "Uncle Toms", and villified by their own leaders. Blackmailers like Jesse Jackson, and Sharpton.And community organizing thieves like Obama who rape the cities for profit under the guise of lending a helping hand.. Look at the cities where Democrats reign ,they are mostly entrenched in poverty. The prime example is Detroit.
     There ain’t a damn thing we can do if certain people don’t believe in our values,or in the Constitution. But to alter them is ridiculous. Why would i vote for Liberal lite , if i wanted the real thing?
    And if that is extreme so be it. Let the people have what they want. I promise you they will come back to us. Because the Progressive is nothing but a game of shadows and mirrors.
    Every time Conservatives falter ,it is because they are led by wimps like the ones who led Romney.
    His playing not to lose in the end proved to be his downfall. IMO  (and i believe he is a good man)
    The Republican party ,starting with Karl Rove should be expelled as soon as possible. Including Bush people. Jeb Bush for president .Not a chance in hell. (and he might be a good man ,i don’t know)
    And Rove scolding Sarah about her reality show a few years ago..while Obama goes on the View, and kisses the ass of Letterman
    . Wake up rove, the people evidently care much less for snobs like you than for men that look presidental ,as you put it. The hell with you.
    And a lot of Republicans are Progressives..Don’t doubt it.
    Steady as she goes Captain. If Sarah runs fine ,i will be elated,but it is her choice
     I am indebted to her for the things she has done already. If she does run you must know that it will be a hell of a battle against this demon machine that includes the press. One that has already tarnished her in many quarters. One who lies freely without conscience ,and forces you on the defensive for most of the campaign (as they did Romney)
     And if she doesn’t run,i’m sure we can find a better candidate than a light weight like Obama.
    Think about the fruit cakes the Democrats put up in recent times…. Obama , Biden, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Pelosi, Reid….(sad sacks)
    By the same token we have to remember no man does it all alone. You cannot shun every faction of this party,and stand alone. It won’t cut it. We are a truly divided party.

    • Freempg

      True enough, otto, but how about we let that other part of our divided party take it where the sun don’t shine for once. Never seems to happen, does it. We conservatives are always the ones grabbing our ankles.

      • otto

        That is true . I am just as sick of it as you are. But no man is an island..and as much as we want to stick it to the Republicans i do not feel very  jubilant today ..
         Now the trick is to get "everybody" believing they are not having to grab their ankles. That is the trick that is hard to pull off. And yet it can be done.

         If the Democrats can do it ,so can we. (I think)

  • HuntingMoose


    Obama got 51% of the vote. 42% voted because of the hurricane optics.

    this means not all 51% are idiots, 9% is salvageble and that 42%, next time we just fool them as well. We can do the same as the democrats have been doing.

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