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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's scandal-plagued administration and Republican-in-Name-Only agenda has doomed his chances of capturing the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, pollster John Zogby and political consultant Roger Stone say.
"Anything can change, but it's very dim. His numbers are heading in the wrong direction. He was a front-runner at one point, and now he's slipping,'' said Zogby, CEO of Zogby Analytics and founder of the "Zogby Poll.''
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"He's actually quite annoying to conservatives nationally and very annoying to the conservatives in New Jersey.''
Stone, publisher of "The Stone Zone,'' said two pending federal probes of Christie — including the bridge-gate scandal in which his top aides engineered a massive, four-day traffic jam for political payback — have destroyed Christie's chances.
"How do you run for president with two federal investigations hanging over your head? Will Chris Christie be indicted or will people around him be indicted while he's campaigning in New Hampshire? The bloom is off this rose. He's not a viable candidate,'' Stone said.
"Chris Christie [is] back in the path with the other RINOS [Republicans-in-Name-Only] … Most of the Chris Christie money people have now moved to urging [former Florida Gov.] Jeb Bush to run. So this is a fantasy at this point. He's damaged.''
Zogby added that Christie "has no defense'' on the issue of bridge-gate, even though he has claimed to have known nothing about his now-fired or resigned aides' actions.
"He's really boxed in. On one hand, either he created the atmosphere and knew what was going on, or if he didn't know what was going on right in front of his own eyes and under his own nose, you can't say, hey, vote for me, I didn't know what the hell was going on among two of my chief aides,'' Zogby said.
Another negative, Stone noted, was Christie's famous embrace of President Barack Obama when the commander in chief journeyed to the Garden State for a firsthand look at the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.
"I don’t think Republican Party regulars have gotten over Chris Christie's embrace,'' he said.
In addition, Christie's brash, in-your-face style, won't play in the heartland, Stone said.
"His style works great in New Jersey and maybe parts of New York City. It doesn't work in Iowa. You talk that way to people in Iowa, they'll smack you in the mouth. It's disrespectful, it's nasty,'' he said.
That's the larger problem here. Does this man have the gravitas, the balance, the serenity to be president? Or is he a hothead? Americans don't want a hothead with their finger on the button. They don’t want a president who is more interested in revenge than he is progress.''
Zogby said Christie is also attempting to keep his presidential chances alive while governing a blue state.
"But what keeps him alive in a blue state doesn't win any Republican primaries for you, and so he's in that awful position,'' he said.
"He's just not doing well as governor, he's not doing well as the presidential candidate, but he's trying to run a general election strategy. But he has no strategy for winning the Republican nomination.''
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