Pollster Caddell to GOP: Don't Shoot Wounded Christie, Help Him

Monday, 13 Jan 2014 05:20 PM

By Greg Richter

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Republicans should be more like Democrats in rallying behind embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, says pollster Pat Caddell. But he doubts that will happen.

"They are the people who shoot their own wounded," Caddell said Monday on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto." He was paraphrasing 1968 Democratic presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy.

Democrats rally around their leaders in bad times even to the point of embarrassing themselves, Caddell said. They'll do so even if they don't agree with the person they are defending.

Some have made that very point about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in their strident defense of President Barack Obama's "keep your healthcare plan" promise.

Republicans, on the other hand, let Christie "walk the plank alone."

The New Jersey governor is currently out polling all others in the GOP who are thought to be mulling runs for the White House in 2016. Caddell thinks their silence stems from thinking Christie's troubles will help them.

When Christie held a press conference last week to apologize for a traffic controversy caused by his aides, his fellow Republican presidential aspirants should have congratulated him for owning up to the issue and firing a top adviser, he said.

"Don't you think they kind of look obvious about why they're not helping him?" Caddell asked Cavuto.

Democrats are "going all out" for Christie, Caddell said. The blue-state governor is being investigated by the Democratically led state legislature and faces a federal investigation over lanes being shut down on the George Washington Bridge as possible political retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J.

"You are noticing what happens when Democrats smell blood of someone they think is a problem for them," Caddell said. "I mean, in New Jersey, nationally, whatever. And with their friends in the mainstream media."

Democrats think politics is a life-and-death "get 'em if you can" proposition, Caddell said. "Republicans like to play beanbag."

He thinks Christie will ride out the problem unscathed, and said it was premature to mention impeachment.

"I have spent . . . the last 20 years of my life watching the dead come to life, he said. "And Christie's not dead."

But the Democrats are trying to take Christie out now, Caddell said, and Republicans should learn a lesson from it.

"But," he added, "they don't ever seem to."

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