Back in 2013, we all probably thought Bridgegate seriously dashed Chris Christie's presidential hopes forever. And yet here he is, officially in the running for the 2016 presidential race. Apparently no scandal is big enough to keep the Republican governor of New Jersey down. Christie kicked off his presidential campaign at his former high school in Livingston. N.J. Tuesday, saying that he's "ready to fight for the people of the United States of America." But if the governor's past history tells us anything, there are plenty of quotes that could derail Christie's campaign if they were dug up again. (And let's be real — you know they will be.)
It seems Christie himself is at least on some level aware of that fact, too. In a video released just before his official announcement, Christie said, "I get accused a lot of times of being too blunt or too direct and saying what's on my mind just a little bit too loudly." The video is titled "Telling It Like It Is," which is pretty much the perfect campaign slogan for Christie, if you ask me. While this lovely little characteristic has definitely set him apart from many of his other constituents, it's also what's gotten him in trouble before — and it's likely to be happening again. Especially since Christie has taken out his frustrations on the media itself multiple times, calling a reporter "stupid" for asking an off-topic question and yelling at radio host Howie Carr during an interview. (Not exactly the behavior of a politician who stays cool under pressure.)
Here are six other quotes from Christie's past that may just come back to haunt him in 2016.
On Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts
While Christie was discussing Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in 2014, Asbury City Park councilman James Keady held up a sign criticizing the governor. That didn't exactly go well — Christie immediately fired back at Keady, telling him to "sit down and shut up." According to Politico he then said:
I'll be more than happy to have a debate with you any time you like, guy. Because somebody like you who doesn’t know a damn thing about what you’re talking about except to stand up and show off when the cameras are here — I’ve been here when the cameras aren’t on buddy and done the work... Turn around, get your fifteen minutes of fame and then maybe take your jacket off, roll up your sleeves, and go something for the people of this state.
While that little rant may have proved Christie is passionate about his work, it also revealed another telling part of his character: the man has a fierce temper.
At a 2012 town hall meeting, the governor more or less lost it again. Christie started shouting at a former Navy Seal and law student after the man kept interrupting him. The man learned pretty fast that the governor isn't exactly one to hold back. Christie reportedly said:
Do you want to hear the answer or no? Let me tell you something, after you graduate from law school, you conduct yourself like that in a courtroom, your rear end is going to be thrown in jail, idiot.
That's not to say Christie never admits fault, though. But in an attempt to remedy the 2013 Bridgegate scandal in a news conference, Christie's vague confession only led to more confusion about how involved he was in the snafu. At one point, he said:
The fact is that mistakes were made, and I’m responsible for those mistakes.
Sounds like he's pretty much owning up to it then, right? Wrong. The governor then back-peddled a bit, saying:
I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution, and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here.
Hmmm... did he just call himself stupid?
On Same-Sex Marriage
In 2012, Christie vetoed a bill that would have legalized gay marriage in New Jersey. He said he would only allow same-sex marriage if it was voted on by the public, but he then made it immediately clear that he didn't support it himself. In an interview with CNN, Christie said:
And so what I’ve suggested to the legislature is, in a way, the only way we have to amend our constitution in New Jersey — which is by referendum. Let’s put it on the ballot; let’s let people decide. And if the people in New Jersey, as some of the same-sex marriage advocates suggest the polls indicate, are in favor of it, then my position would not be the winning position, but I’m willing to take that risk because I trust the people of the state.
When asked if he would ever change his mind on the issue, he said:
I won’t compromise my principles for politics.
On Civil Rights
Christie believed he was on the right side of history in 2012 by advocating for a referendum on gay marriage — even going so far as saying that civil rights activists in the 1950s and 1960s "would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets of the South." Civil rights leader John Lewis then held a press conference to set Christie straight, saying, "People of color in the American South... could not register to vote simply because of the color of their skin, could not take a seat at lunch counters in restaurants, could not take a seat in the front of the bus, could not visit state capitals. If it had been put to a referendum, we would have never ever won."
During the 2012 debate about same-sex marriage in New Jersey, Christie yet again let his temper loose and started hurling insults. Christie said:
Yet you have numbnuts like Reed Gusciora who put out a statement comparing me to George Wallace and Lester Maddox.
Only time will tell just how much Christie's past foibles will come back to haunt him next year. But hey, even if these quotes don't hurt his campaign all that much, I'm willing to bet he'll bring us a treasure trove of new quotes in 2016 to have a field day with. So we have that to look forward to.
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