The Corner

Politics & Policy

Chris Christie Revises His Record

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.


Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Energy & Environment

The Climate Trap for Democrats

The more the climate debate changes, the more it stays the same. Polls show that the public is worried about climate change, but that doesn’t mean that it is any more ready to bear any burden or pay any price to combat it. If President Donald Trump claws his way to victory again in Pennsylvania and the ... Read More

Kamala Harris Runs for Queen

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the 2020 presidential contest: Unless unforeseen circumstances lead to a true wave election, the legislative stakes will be extremely low. The odds are heavily stacked against Democrats’ retaking the Senate, and that means that even if a Democrat wins the White House, ... Read More

What We’ve Learned about Jussie Smollett

It’s been a few weeks since March 26, when all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and the actor declared that his version of events had been proven correct. How’s that going? Smollett’s celebrity defenders have gone quiet. His publicists and lawyers are dodging reporters. The @StandwithJussie ... Read More
Politics & Policy

But Why Is Guatemala Hungry?

I really, really don’t want to be on the “Nicolas Kristof Wrote Something Dumb” beat, but, Jiminy Cricket! Kristof has taken a trip to Guatemala, with a young woman from Arizona State University in tow. “My annual win-a-trip journey,” he writes. Reporting from Guatemala, he discovers that many ... Read More