Ahead of Presidential Debate, Christie Raises the Bar for Romney

“Listen, it’s a huge night. He’s had a bad couple of weeks,” Gov. Chris Christie said. “We want to turn this around.”

Christie amplified what he said yesterday when, at the behest of the Romney campaign, he went on all three major network Sunday morning talk shows and said he expects Romney to do very well in Wednesday’s night’s presidential debate.

“I have absolute confidence that when we get to Thursday morning, George, all of you are going to be shaking your heads saying it’s a brand new race with 33 days to go,” Christie said on This Week on ABC.

The stake are high, Christie said. Asked if he is raising the expectations bar unlike the many other partisans trying to lower it, he said he’s only saying what he believes about Mitt Romney.


“Every time Gov. Romney has been in a situation like this since he’s been running for president, he has performed, when he was challenged by Newt Gingrich after losing South Carolina, he came into the next debate in Florida and he wiped Gingrich out. When he was challenged by Rick Perry, he went to a debate in New Hampshire and he wiped out Rick Perry. Every time he’s been challenged in these situations and then had a debate, he’s come forward with an outstanding performance,” Christie said. “I plead guilty to having confidence in this guy Wednesday night.”

Christie’s comments came at a visit to a federally qualified health center in Dover, Morris County, a town with a 70 percent Hispanic population.

His health commissioner said it underscored the administration’s commitment to the state’s 20 FQHCs that serve mainly the uninsured.

On other topics, Christie was asked to comment on Sen. Ray Lesniak’s objection to Christie’s appointment of Michelle Brown, a longtime Christie colleague and confidante, to run the Economic Development Authority, for which Lesniak says she is unqualified.

“I really spend no time worrying about what Sen. Lesniak has to say about anything,” Christie said. “He’s become a cartoon character.”

And he continued to pound away at Democratic legislators for saying state revenues are too weak to support a tax cut, while still introducing bills that would require new spending. He won’t sign any, he said.

“Not if you’re gonna stand there on the mountaintop and be holier than thou and say, we can’t give you a tax cut because we don’t have the money. However, for my guys I got some money over here. For the New Brunswick summer enhancement program for half a million bucks for Barbara Buono. She’s standing up there saying we don’t have the money for a tax cut but she wants to spend half a million bucks on a summer enhancement program for New Brunswick?”

He accused Buono of engaging in pork barrel spending.

Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron reports from Dover.