Gasparino: Wall Street Turning on Gov. Christie

Monday, 24 Feb 2014 09:25 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Wall Street financiers are dumping their stock in New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as his chances of becoming the Republican presidential nominee in 2016 continue to take a beating.

Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone and former AIG boss Hank Greenberg are afraid that the Bridgegate scandal has thrown the Republican governor's political aspirations into reverse, according to the New York Post.

Columnist Charles Gasparino pointed out in the Post that Christie's candidacy was flawed long before traffic was deliberately backed up on Fort Lee, N.J., access lanes to the George Washington Bridge as political payback for the town's mayor not supporting the governor's re-election campaign.

According to Politico, Christie had been encouraged to make a run for the Republican nomination by the likes of Langone, broadcasting billionaire Stan Hubbard, and David Koch, the fourth-richest person in the United States.

Texas real estate developer Harlan Crow, another Christie contributor, said last month that unless new damaging information emerged indicating the governor had knowledge of or was involved in the scandal, "then I see no substantial reason to doubt his leadership."

But things have turned around quickly, according to the Post.

"The Wall Streeters I speak to [people with direct access to Christie and his inner circle] say the Christie presidential campaign is clearly on life support," says Gasparino, a Fox Business Network senior correspondent. "They think he's in the clear himself, but the stench from the scandal is starting to look impossible to overcome."

Gasparino said Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has been having talks with the Republican National Committee, and "they want him out" while turning to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as "the party's savior."

A major Republican fundraiser who runs an investment business said, "I don't think he can run and be effective. Republicans are held to a different standard by the media. This thing is a killer," Gasparino reported.

Although Langone's fund-raising efforts on behalf of Christie have hit the skids, Gasparino says Christie may still "recover from this mess" by showing his worth to the GOP. But Gasparino advises Christie to concentrate on New Jersey first before setting his sights on Washington.

"Bottom line: Even before Bridgegate, Christie was less of a great bet than Wall Street thought. He may not be a terrible one even now. But he really needs to show something more before he even thinks about giving up his day job."

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