Despite placing a discouraging 10th in the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll, New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie is insisting to supporters that he did well at the political confab.
In a phone call with some of his backers in the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination Monday, Christie said he did better than expected in front of the Libertarian-oriented CPAC crowd, Politico,
which heard a recording of the call, reports.
Christie, whose conservative credentials have come under question, said, "I was interviewed by Laura Ingraham, no pushover interviewer at all. But I thought we had a really good interchange. And I thought the reception at CPAC, with a couple of thousand people in the room, was a standing ovation when I left, and I don’t think many people would have bet on that before we showed up at CPAC, so I was happy with the way that went."
However, U.S. News & World Report,
referring to the confrontational interview Christie had with conservative commentator Ingraham, commented, "The question-and-answer session with Ingraham, which replaced the traditional scripted speech, was strikingly harsher than anything Christie’s counterparts faced. It was a flogging."
Christie, in the CPAC straw poll, garnered only 2.8 percent of the vote, placing him well behind most of the field of candidates, though ahead of Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in the polling, NJ.com reports.
The poll was won by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.,
with 25.7 percent, followed closely by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 21.4 percent, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, at 11.5 percent and Dr. Ben Carson with 11.4 percent.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, considered the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, polled fifth, at 8.3 percent, with his conservative credentials weakened by his support for immigration reform and Common Core education.
Christie told Ingraham, "If the elites in Washington who make backroom deals decide who the president is going to be, then he’s [Bush] definitely the frontrunner. If the people of the U.S. decide to pick the next president of the United States and they want someone who looks them in the eye, connects with them and is one of them, I’ll do OK if I run," U.S. News & World Report noted.
Christie even placed behind businessman and TV personality Donald Trump, who received 7.5 percent, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who got 3 percent of the vote.
NJ.com notes that Christie did better with CPAC in the past, finishing fourth in the past two years and taking 8 percent last year. In 2013, when Christie was not invited to CPAC, he received 7 percent.
Christie also told backers on the call that he had done well on his fundraising tour in California and Virginia after his CPAC appearance which, he said, drew donors such as Peter Magowan, owner of the San Francisco Giants, former Univision CEO Jerry Perenchio and casino owner Steve Wynn, Politico reported.
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