MEMO TO: FROM: RE: DATE:
Interested Parties Jessica Mackler, President, American Bridge 21st Century Bully Seeking Pulpit June 30, 2015
Chris Christie enters the race as a brazen, outspoken bully hoping to use the 2016 pulpit to pull his GOP opponents like Jeb Bush further to the extreme right. With nine credit downgrades and a 30 percent approval rating under his belt, Christie has made the calculation that his charming personality alone won’t do the trick in the wake of Bridgegate. American Bridge is also releasing a new video that shows Christie is now aligning himself with the extreme wing of his party in an attempt to gain traction. Christie's ploy could work.
When Christie attacked entitlements – calling for means-testing Social Security benefits and raising the retirement age – most Republicans felt like they needed to respond. By latching onto cuts in Social Security benefits, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker were forced to take positions that might sound good in a conservative primary but will hurt in the general.
Christie is singing a different tune on his cuts to Planned Parenthood now that the GOP primary is being contested in the far right fringes. He’s recently cited his anti-choice credentials as his reason to veto Planned Parenthood funding – cutting access to mammograms and cancer screenings – but constantly told New Jerseyans that he cut funding because it was “duplicative” spending. Watch for Christie to rewrite other parts of his moderate record in a blue state.
Christie fights with the teachers unions for epic shout-downs that give him classic YouTube moments to prop up his “Telling it like it is” mantra. He cut pension benefits for teachers, and then refused to make the full pension payments that he had promised. While he’s governed in New Jersey as if he’s running for president from day one, these examples help him remind voters in New Hampshire of his conservative record.
With Chris Christie set to enter the presidential race today, he’s preparing to drag fellow out-of-touch Republicans like Jeb Bush further to the right than they’re comfortable going with an eye on the general election.
Background from the 2016 Scouting Report:
Tracking Footage Teachers Unions Chris Christie On Teachers Unions: “All They Care About Is Greater Benefits, Greater Pay And Greater Longevity For Teachers, Whether They’re Good Or Not, Whether Children Are Learning Or Not, Whether Our Country Is Improving Or Not.” “We are absolutely in this country captives of the
teachers union. In my state, the teachers union raises in dues every year $140 million a year in mandatory dues from their members every year and they do not contribute a nickel to teacher salary, teacher healthcare or teacher pensions. It’s a $140 million slush fund to reward their friends and intimidate their enemies. All they care about is greater benefits, greater pay and greater longevity for teachers, whether they’re good or not, whether children are learning or not, whether our country is improving or not.” [Chris Christie, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Legal Reform Summit, Washington, DC, 10/21/14; American Bridge Tracking Footage]
Raising the Retirement Age Christie: “We Need To Increase The Retirement Age.” “We need to increase the retirement age. God bless us, we’re all living longer. Women now live to an average age of 83, men to 79. These programs were created when people died in their 60s. We have a better quality of life. That’s something to celebrate, but we can’t pretend it’s not happening. So I say let’s raise the retirement age two years and phase it in over 25 years. That doesn’t seem like that will make the world stop spinning on its axis, everybody.” [Chris Christie, Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Oklahoma City, OK, 5/22/15; American Bridge Tracking Footage] Christie: “People Who Live Longer Are Going To Work Longer Too. And Why Shouldn’t They?” “When Social Security