Olivier Know, Yahoo! News The Ticket, yesterday.
Blunt-speaking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, thought to be eyeing a 2016 run for the Republican presidential nomination, blasted an NRA ad that mentions President Barack Obama's daughters as "reprehensible" and warned it "demeans" the powerful gun-rights group.
"To talk about the president’s children, or any public officer’s children, who have—not by their own choice, but by requirement—to have protection, and to use that somehow to try to make a political point is reprehensible," Christie said.
"The president doesn’t have a choice, and his children don’t have a choice, of whether they’re going to be protected or not," the governor said. "It’s awful to bring public figures' children into the political debate. They don’t deserve to be there."
He added that "for any of us who are public figures, you see that kind of ad, and you cringe, you cringe."
Christie's remarks are unlikely to endear him to those conservatives he already annoyed by praising Obama for the federal government's response to superstorm Sandy.
If Christie wants the nomination, then, put bluntly, he'd probably help his prospects by losing some weight. He's a very shrewd politician, though, and I think he has what looks now to be the most promising formula, and perhaps skill set as well, although not necessarily the personality and temperament, for a successful GOP seeker of the presidency in 2016.
Saying totally reasonable things like the above helps him with those who don't identify with the hard right GOP base, by distancing himself from some of the more symbolically objectionable and damaging values and behavior patterns (harsh and extreme partisanship as a governing MO, and thuggish resorts to intimidation, respectively) of that crowd. As he has now done, very publicly, twice, in praising Obama's handling of Sandy and now criticizing the NRA over this latest.
He'd try to win enough red-meat GOP base support with the sort of blistering issue-based attacks and confrontational tactics he's been delivering all along.
The smooth southerner Bill Clinton wasn't nearly as in-your-face aggressively confrontational as the New Jersey barroom brawler Christie is. But he followed a similar formula coming from the other side of the partisan aisle. If Christie does run, we might in hindsight view this NRA attack as similar to Clinton's "Sister Souljah" moment. Romney just didn't have the skill, or whatever, to pull off this kind of approach of being able to appeal sufficiently to his party's base, plus enough others, to prevail. From the outside, it didn't look as though he was following some discernible strategy to attempt to do that.