Romney Camp Blames Christie for Election Loss

Tuesday, 20 Nov 2012 12:13 PM

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Many Republicans are in no mood to forgive New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for his close relationship with President Barack Obama during superstorm Sandy. In particular, Mitt Romney’s campaign staffers blame him for costing them the election.

Christie offered gushing praise of the president during Hurricane Sandy, with the duo touring the Garden State together. Some Republicans think all of that helped cost Mitt Romney the presidency by boosting Obama’s image right before the election.

Many undecided voters who opted for Obama at the last minute said the storm played a major role in their decision, Romney advisers say. “Christie allowed Obama to be president, not a politician,” one of them told The New York Times.

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Christie is surprised by the depth of Republican anger, sources told The Times. At a meeting of the Republican Governors Association last week, Christie expected a warm reception. But that wasn’t the case. And Christie snapped back at one fellow attendee: “I will not apologize for doing my job,” according to The Times.

Media baron Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., warned Christie three days before the election that he was treading on thin ice, after posting a tweet that Christie might guarantee Obama’s re-election, The Times reports.

In a phone conversation, Murdoch told Christie that he risked making the Twitter posting look prophetic if he didn’t publicly reiterate his support for Romney, which he did the next day. Christie heard the same message from Romney donors around the same time.

While Christie says his warm embrace of Obama just represented him looking out for his storm-battered state when it needed federal assistance, others say Christie was looking out for himself. He faces re-election in a blue state two years from now and may be looking to soften his hard-core conservative image.

Christie’s Democratic opponent could be Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a rising political star. Obama has a close relationship with Booker, so Christie may have been hoping that his new alliance with the president would prevent Obama from backing Booker too energetically in a gubernatorial race. Christie may figure that Obama owes him for indeed helping the president against Romney.

Christie also may hope to run for president in 2016. If so, he didn’t do his prospects in the Republican primaries much good, some in the party say. “It hurt him a lot,” Douglas Gross, a veteran GOP strategist in Iowa, told The Times. “The presumption is that Republicans can’t count on him. . . . A lot of politicians look out for themselves. They just usually camouflage it better.”

To be sure, not all influential Republicans are upset with Christie, including billionaire Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone. “I said, ‘Governor, if you lead a miraculous recovery of the state of New Jersey, that is all that is going to matter,’ ” he told The Times. “They are going to be begging you to run, just like they begged Eisenhower.”

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New Jersey residents haven’t been polled about Christie yet since the storm, but Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, expects his approval rating to jump from the low 50s, where it stood previously.

Meanwhile, New York City voters choose Christie over Obama, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the government leader who did the best job responding to superstorm Sandy, according to a new survey from Quinnipiac University.

Christie was chosen by 36 percent of respondents, compared to 22 percent for Obama, 15 percent for Cuomo, and 12 percent for Bloomberg.


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