Chris Christie Revises His Record

by Ramesh Ponnuru

In 1994, Chris Christie opposed taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood but endorsed private funding of it — specifically, his own funding of it. “I support Planned Parenthood privately with my personal contribution and that should be the goal of any such agency, to find private donations.” Yesterday, though, he denied ever having given money to the organization.

In the same interview yesterday, with John Dickerson of CBS, Christie claimed that he had never “voiced support” for Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Here’s what he actually said in 2009:

While Judge Sotomayor would not have been my choice, President Obama has used his opportunity to fill a seat on the Supreme Court by choosing a nominee who has more than proven her capability, competence and ability.

I support her appointment to the Supreme Court and urge the Senate to keep politics out of the process and confirm her nomination.

The interview also touched on Christie’s record on “assault weapons.” In 1993, he said that support for a ban had moved him to make a primary run against a Republican state senator. Two months ago, Brett Baier of Fox News asked him about that statement. Christie first denied ever having made that statement and then, when Baier displayed a news clip including the quote, said he didn’t remember it. A few days ago, he conceded to Sean Hannity that he had changed his mind on the issue. The biggest factor in his shift, he told Hannity, was his experience as a prosecutor. Yesterday, Dickerson noted that Christie had said that he favored an assault-weapons ban even after he was a prosecutor. Christie responded that “what I said at the time was I was not interested in debating or changing, because I knew I couldn’t, New Jersey’s gun laws with a Democratic Legislature.” What he actually said in 2009 was a stronger endorsement of gun regulations than he said yesterday. His campaign at the time said, “Chris Christie supports the assault weapons ban and all current laws. He opposes attempts to permit conceal and carry laws in New Jersey, hardly the NRA position.” When Dickerson brought up the quote, Christie said that the change in his position on guns had taken place “over time.”

I find Christie’s answers to these questions puzzling. It is hard to believe that he has genuinely forgotten his record on these issues: A presidential candidate, you would think, has aides comb through his record, remind him of possible problems, and work with him on a strategy for handling them. On the other hand, it is also hard to believe that the strategy they came up with was: Let’s just hope nobody has access to Google.

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