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COLUMN: In defense of Christie…

By Andy Pierucci
On January 15, 2014

The recent scandal that’s now being referred to as “Bridgegate” surrounding Republican governor of New Jersey Chris Christie may have major effects on the future of this country. 2016 seems like a long way off, and for many people, it is; but in the world of politics, it is just around the corner. Christie is often spoken of as the most viable presidential candidate for the Republican Party. He has taken a beating this past week for the actions of a few members of his administration.

Christie claims he did not play a role in the reprehensible actions of a few of his staff members. He has already fired a couple of high-level staffers. In his defense, he has met the media firestorm of criticism with stoicism and courage. The president constantly lays the blame on others and often sends a press secretary in to deal with scandals rather than coming out himself and taking responsibility. Unlike our president, the governor has taken accountability for his administration’s actions. Using the word “I” instead of “us” in a press conference, Christie owned up to the errors in judgment. If Americans are so willing to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt about the “Fast and Furious” gun scandal or Benghazi or any number of the countless scandals that have plagued his administration, then I think it would be only fair to give Christie the same benefit.

The years leading up to a presidential election are filled with candidate speculation, media hype and public relations campaigns. Those who consider running work to build positive name recognition across the country and gather a team together to support them in their eventual bid for the highest elected office in the land. Hillary Clinton is currently seen as the most likely Democratic candidate to succeed. Christie is the only Republican who has polled well against Clinton.

The Democratic-majority New Jersey Legislature is on a witch hunt now. They need to be careful though, because if they push too hard, they will force more Republicans to come to the aid of the embattled Christie. Currently, many Republicans are happy to sit back and watch Christie’s reputation take a hit. Other possible 2016 GOP contenders, such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are not likely to be losing any sleep over Christie’s predicament either. That being said, if the Democratic Party pushes too far, they risk Republicans uniting against them. Even now, the Democratic National Committee is creating anti-Christie messaging memos for party members across the country.

Christie is headlining a fundraiser in Florida this weekend for Gov. Rick Scott, who is up for re-election this year. DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida is planning on tailing Christie with a negative media counteroffensive throughout the state. With all of this in mind, everything related to the bridge scandal should be viewed with a bit of skepticism.

Ask yourself what the author’s agenda is. Everyone has an agenda. For example, I am a Republican; I truly do believe Christie is currently the best candidate for the GOP in 2016.

– Andy is a senior majoring in political science. He is currently the vice president of USU Pi Sigma Alpha, a member of the GRC, the Secretary of the Utah Federation of College Republicans and a member of USU College Republicans.

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