Chris Christie has a bad habit of lying when his past record gets challenged.
During last night’s Charleston debate, Marco Rubio charged that “Governor Christie has endorsed many of the ideas that Barack Obama supports, whether it is Common Core or gun control or the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor or the donation he made to Planned Parenthood.”
When faced with such an attack, many politicians would offer qualified defenses or try to obscure the truth in a fog of words or make counter-accusations. But Christie flatly denied all of Rubio’s claims.
“Let’s set the facts straight. First of all, I didn’t support Sonia Sotomayor,” Christie said.
But that’s simply not true. Here’s the governor in July 2009:
I support her appointment to the Supreme Court and urge the Senate to keep politics out of the process and confirm her nomination. Qualified appointees should be confirmed and deserve bi-partisan support. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito deserved that support based on their work as Circuit Court Judges. So does Judge Sotomayor . . . I support her confirmation. This is a historic moment and her inspiring success story should not only make the Latino community proud, but all Americans.
Christie was just getting warmed up. “Secondly, I never wrote a check to Planned Parenthood,” he continued.
Did he make his donation with cash or by credit card, then? Bob Ingle’s Chris Christie: The Inside Story of His Rise to Power (2012), quotes him declaring in a 1994 race for Morris County freeholder that he supports “Planned Parenthood with my personal contribution.”
Pro-lifers should cheer when a pro-choice candidate changes his mind and comes over to their side, and Christie can justifiably ask how much donations and comments from the early 1990s should be held against him now. But his denial just doesn’t hold water.
Can you see a pattern starting to develop?
Christie next moved on to guns. “Third, if you look at my record as governor of New Jersey, I have vetoed a .50-caliber–rifle ban,” he said. “I have vetoed a reduction in clip size. I vetoed a statewide ID system for gun owners, and I pardoned six out-of-state folks who came through our state and were arrested for owning a gun legally in another state, so they never have to face charges.”
All of that is true enough — though he called for a .50-caliber–rifle ban before he vetoed it — but Christie’s record is littered with other decisions indicating he supports some forms of gun control.
During his 2009 gubernatorial bid, his campaign declared, “Chris Christie supports the assault weapons ban and all current gun laws. He opposes attempts to permit conceal and carry laws in New Jersey.” In an interview with Sean Hannity that year, the host asked, “Should every citizen in your state be allowed to get a licensed weapon if they want one?” “In New Jersey, that’s not going to happen, Sean,” Christie replied. “I want to make sure that we don’t have an abundance of guns out there.”
#share#It wasn’t the first time he’d taken such a stance. In a 1993 race for state senate, Christie issued a statement asserting that “we already have too many firearms in our communities. The issue which has energized me to get into this race is the recent attempt by certain Republican legislators to repeal New Jersey’s ban on assault weapons. In today’s society, no one needs a semi-automatic assault weapon.” In November, Christie told Fox News’s Bret Baier that he didn’t remember making that statement.
After denying Rubio’s charges on Sotomayor, Planned Parenthood, and guns, Christie declared that “Common Core has been eliminated in New Jersey.”
But in a 2011 press release, Christie was quoted as singing a different tune:
The Common Core State Standards are a building block in our state’s education system meant to ensure that teachers and districts can innovate within a framework of high expectations and accountability.
The governor did become a critic of the standards later, as he explained to Laura Ingraham on stage at CPAC last year:
Christie: [The Race to the Top application] was all teed up when I came in by Governor Corzine. We signed on to try to get funds during a really difficult fiscal time. But as we have tried to put them in place . . .
Ingraham: Regrets? Do you have regrets?
Christie: Sure, of course.
Ingraham: Not political regrets, these are real regrets?
Christie: These are implementation regrets.
Having offered an outright false denial for each of Rubio’s charges, Christie closed by appealing to his executive experience.
“When you’re a governor, you’re held accountable for everything you do,” he said.
— Jim Geraghty is the senior political correspondent for National Review.