Following an appearance in Chicago by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former White House political adviser David Axelrod said that, despite the bridge-gate scandal, not to count the embattled Republican out as a contender for president in 2016.
"I think what you saw yesterday was the two sides of the Chris Christie story here. He was very, very good out here," Axelrod told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday.
During a trip to raise money for the Republican Governors Association, Christie on Tuesday addressed the Economic Club of Chicago. He spoke about income inequality, a topic that Democrats have been promoting. Christie described the debate as a choice between mediocrity and greatness.
"You want income inequality? That's mediocrity. Everybody can have an equal mediocre salary," Christie said Tuesday. "I grew up in an America that said, 'Life isn't fair. But, opportunity is.'"
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Axelrod said Christie was "presenting himself with great confidence," despite unanswered questions about his involvement in the closing of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge last September. He said Christie clearly considered himself "a presidential candidate until further notice."
Until the bridge-gate scandal is resolved, Axelrod said Christie remains "in great peril," and that his fate is "not in his own performance, but with the evidence that is collected by the folks in New Jersey."
Axelrod said Christie articulated the "big debate" about inequality and opportunity. He said Democrats "should be about what he said" on the subject.
"The real debate is, where do you stand on investing in education? Where do you stand on investing in research and development? Where do you stand on doing the things that are necessary to create those conditions for opportunity? That's the big debate we should have in 2016," Axelrod said.
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