In Case You Missed It: “Christie Gets His Groove Back”

In Case You Missed It:

“Christie Gets His Groove Back”

Governor Larry Hogan: “I think it was a good night for Chris Christie. I thought the highlight of the whole night was when he went after Ramaswamy, I thought that was strong. I liked when he stood up and defended Nikki Haley.”

Frank Luntz: “They thought that Chris Christie won. And the reason why is that they felt that he was the most direct, he answered the questions honestly and candidly, and that he held other candidates’ feet to the fire. We’ve been waiting for this performance for some time. Chris Christie proved that he is not just a brilliant debater, but he knows how to hold other candidates accountable.”

Adam Kinzinger: “This was Chris Christie’s night, I think. I mean, he was on fire from the very beginning, he was telling the truth.”

David Marcus, Fox News Columnist: “Christie won this debate.”

Scott Jennings, CNN Commentator: “Christie for the first time in the whole debate season - it seemed like he felt comfortable, maybe the smaller stage benefited him. For the audience he’s trying to appeal to in New Hampshire, his attitude tonight with that straight talk kind of thing, went after DeSantis a little bit on the Trump stuff, defended Haley, was funny there. He helped himself tonight.”

David Urban, CNN Commentator: “Governor Christie - he kept pointing out time and time again, ‘I’m the only one up here that didn’t put my hand up here that wouldn’t support Donald Trump if he was the nominee.’ He kept drawing distinctions, making the candidates answer the questions better than the moderators did. He was really forcing the issues. I think he did a great job tonight.”

Chris Cuomo, News Nation: “I think this was the best night that Governor Chris Christie has had. I thought that he was communicating something that’s really important to Independent voters, which is, ‘I’m going to answer the question… I’ll give you a straight answer.’”

Kaitlan Collins, CNN: “Chris Christie also brought up a good point on China which also made sense I think to voters who were in the audience and watching at home, which is, Haley has praised Trump’s policy on China, his trade policy and he asked her why she thought it was a good policy? Talking about the only thing that Trump really did on China was put the tariffs on Chinese goods that obviously raised prices on Americans.”

Abby Phillip, CNN: “What kind of debate would this have been without Chris Christie on that stage? It feels to me like he really added a little special sauce to the conversation, not just by putting Trump on the debate stage, but actually forcing some of these candidates to actually answer some questions.”

Lindsey Granger, Journalist & Writer: “DeSantis avoided answering the question and I think that was a really strong point for Chris Christie, when he said, ‘look, I’m a regular guy, I can answer a question that’s asked, simply, yes or no.’”

The Washington Examiner: “Winners: Chris Christie

  • “But DeSantis was caught unawares by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who delivered a biting performance that at times got the better of all of his opponents. Christie called out DeSantis for refusing to answer a question on Trump’s mental fitness for office, with the Florida governor momentarily seeming at a loss for words.”
  • “Christie wasn’t called on for the first 17 minutes of the debate, a fact he was happy to call the moderators out on, then used his trademark aggressiveness and quick wit to turn in a memorable night.”

The Washington Post: “Christie Goes On Offense

  • “After struggling to get words in during earlier debates, Christie established a clear role for himself in demanding accountability from Trump, as well as the other candidates.”
  • “In response to a question about restoring public confidence in federal law enforcement, Christie drew on his own experience as a U.S. attorney and proposed appointing an independent, well-respected attorney general and keeping politics out of prosecutions — a striking contrast to Trump’s threats to respond to his prosecutions by turning federal power against his political opponents.

CNN: “Christie Gets His Groove Back

  • “In Tuscaloosa, the former New Jersey governor tapped back into some of that energy, portraying his opponents as immature, annoying and not ready for the job.”
  • Christie attempted to paint DeSantis as unwilling to answer basic questions. When DeSantis was asked if as president he would send US troops to Gaza to rescue American hostages held by Hamas, Christie jumped in. ‘When you’re president of the United States, you’re not gonna have a choice whether to answer that question or not,’ he said.”
  • With Ramaswamy, Christie went after his tendency to backtrack on comments. During a back-and-forth in which Christie criticized the Ohio businessman’s proposal for a peace deal between Ukraine and Russia, the former New Jersey governor accused Ramaswamy of denying what he’s said on the campaign trail when he’s on the debate stage — and of being annoying.”
  • “But only Christie made a sustained case against the former president — a theme he returned to in his closing statement, when he said Trump wouldn’t be allowed to vote in the 2024 election because ‘he will be convicted of felonies before then.’”

The Hill: ”The story of the Christie candidacy remains the same. The former prosecutor is a very skilled debater who can deliver more scathing one-liners than anyone else on the stage. Perhaps the most memorable on Wednesday was his contention that Ramaswamy was ‘the most obnoxious blowhard in America.’”

  • “DeSantis’s performance wasn’t flawless. Christie made him look timorous during an extended, heated exchange over whether Trump is fit to hold the nation’s highest office.”

Matt Lewis, The Daily Beast: “Chris Christie Had His Best GOP Debate…”

  • Christie arguably won the debate on points…”
  • “… The ex-New Jersey governor held nothing back against his rivals and the absent Trump.”
  • “Similarly, this time around, Christie exposed DeSantis’ habit of giving rehearsed speeches while parrying direct questions. For example, after DeSantis dodged a question on whether the U.S. should send troops to rescue terrorists taken by hostages, Christie said, ‘This is the problem with the first three debates. Ron gets asked a question and he doesn’t answer.’ Then, when a moderator turned the tables and asked Christie his position on the subject, Christie quickly responded: ‘You’re damn right I’d send the American Army in to get our people back.’”

Bryan Tyler Cohen, MSNBC: “A Win

  • “Former New Jersey Gov. and current chief Trump antagonist Chris Christie took his three fellow debaters to task Wednesday night with a succinct retort that cut through the bluster. “If you’re afraid to offend Donald Trump,” he said, “then what are you going to do when you’re sitting across from President Xi?”

Noah Rothman, National Review: “If you aren’t inclined toward DeSantis, you had plenty to chew on, too. Chris Christie dissected him with the surgical acumen he once applied to Marco Rubio, savaging the governor for being evasive — a charge DeSantis confirmed with his habitual evasions.”

  • “[Christie] stripped the varnish off DeSantis and Ramaswamy, he shivved Haley for dancing around Trump’s dominance in the race…”

Audrey Fahlberg, National Review: “After reserving his most impassioned attacks for the absent Donald Trump throughout the first three debates, Christie wore his heart on his sleeve in Wednesday night’s contest, ripping into Ramaswamy over his ad hominem style and his insistence on questioning the ethical standards of his opponents while staying silent about Trump’s moral failings.”

Jeffrey Blehar, National Review: “Chris Christie himself had a good night… With the field reduced to four and him no longer a 30-second afterthought on a seven-man stage, he had space to speak and occasionally dominate the conversation…”

Kimbery Leonard, POLITICO: “Christie had the best night… But Christie managed to have some strong moments, even controlling the conversation at some turns — and putting his rivals in their place.”

Adam Wren, POLITICO: “But Christie seemed to be the only candidate who knew what time it was, and why the candidates were gathered here tonight. This is a GOP primary debate in which these candidates are arguably trying to win the race for first place, not second, and Christie was the only one who went after Trump. ‘They’re afraid to offend,’ Christie said of his three competitors. How is he wrong? He was booed in his closing statement, but he was the only one who truly assailed the frontrunner.”

  • I was surprised by Christie, still, being the only one willing to attack Trump in the debate. ‘I’m looking at my watch now. We’re 17 minutes into this debate, and except for your little speech in the beginning, we’ve had these three acting as if the race is between the four of us,’ he said.”

Sarah Isgur, Political Commentator: “Actually answering the question? What an unexpected treat in a presidential debate. This was Christie at his very best. He shut down Ramaswamy, defended Haley and acknowledged the reality of Trump. Republican primary voters should embrace people willing to tell them the unpopular truth.”

Daniel McCarthy, The American Conservative: “[Christie] embarrassed DeSantis by badgering him for dodging straight answers, and he came across as bolder and more distinct than Haley.”

Jamelle Bouie, The New York Times: “…Christie gets a lot of credit for being able to give clear and straightforward answers to most questions and for trying to browbeat Ron DeSantis into doing the same.”

Peter Wehner, The Atlantic: “Christie did to Ramaswamy what he did to Marco Rubio in 2016: put a stake through the heart of his campaign. That alone justifies his candidacy. Christie was quick on his feet and authentic and made a compelling ethical case against Trump. Calling out his competitors for being afraid to offend Trump was devastating because it’s true.”

Katherine Mangu Ward, Reason: “[Christie] came to talk smack about Trump and force the other candidates to confront the reality of the G.O.P.’s electoral situation. By those lights, he succeeded.”

Ross Douthat, The New York Times: “His best debate by far — loose, fun…”

Caroline Vakil, The Hill: “Christie also had a strong showing on Wednesday night, offering a full-throated criticism of Trump, whom he called a “dictator” and a “bully.” He also stepped up pressure on his fellow candidates to denounce the former president.”

The New York Post: “More than one panelist agreed Christie had the line of the night within the first half-hour of the debate, when he told Ramaswamy: ‘This is the fourth debate that you would be voted in the first 20 minutes as the most obnoxious blowhard in America.’”

The Guardian: “Chris Christie was one of the feistiest debaters, coming down especially hard on Trump and DeSantis, whom he accused of parroting the former president.”