It has been almost two weeks since Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie’s campaign, citing technical reasons, removed the “Shared Values” section from their Web site, in which outlined some of Christie’s more socially conservative positions on abortion and same sex marriage.
Democrats have played up the deletion with a sense of humor, setting up “Christie’s Values Clock” to count down each day that the information has not been restored.
But Christie’s Web site does contain his positions on abortion and same-sex marriage in its Frequently Asked Questions section. In it, Christie outlined his position against abortion except in cases of rape, incest and when the mothers’ life is at stake and stated that, if elected, he will seek a 24 hour waiting period and a parental notification law. He also wrote that he has “no issue with same sex couples sharing contractual rights, but I believe that marriage should remain the exclusive domain of one man and one woman.”
It’s hard to tell whether that information has been there the whole time. A screenshot taken by Democrats of the “Shared Values” section before it was deleted shows a link to the FAQ section, although it is impossible to verify that it contained all of its current language.
“If it hasn't been up the whole time, it's been up for quite some time,” said Christie Campaign Manager Bill Stepien.
Democrats point out that the language in the FAQ is significantly toned down from the "Shared Values" posting. Gone is Christie's promise to veto legislation that legalizes same-sex marriage, as is his promise to support a consitutional amendment in the event of "judicial fiat… sothatvoters,notjudges,woulddecidethisimportantsocialquestion." The FAQ also does not tout the endorsement of four "key pro-life leaders" that the deleted posting did.
Before learning that Christie’s Web site still did contain the information, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan – who ran against Christie this year for the Republican gubernatorial nomination — said that “I hope that Chris will stick to a good, solid conservative agenda, and not allow his advisors to steer him off course. Not run and hide from conservative principles, but stand up for them.”
Lonegan said that the fact that the information is still on the Web site, albeit in a different section, is a “good sign.”
“So obviously the Democrats are totally off message. I’m surprised the Christie people haven’t attacked them for it,” he said.
Lonegan ran to Christie’s right in the primary, forcing the frontrunner former U.S. Attorney to take a more publicized stand on hot button social issues.
A week after losing the primary, Lonegan wrote a letter to supporters that many interpreted a shot across Christie’s bow, congratulating them for moving the state GOP to the right and reaffirming Lonegan’s support for Christie – as long as maintained the conservative positions he espoused in the primary. He remains skeptical about it.
“His advisors are a bunch of liberals, and my concern – I don’t know if it’s the case – is that they’ll take this campaign in the wrong direction.”
Lonegan also criticized the Republican Party for not having a coherent message, citing Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr.’s (R-Westfield) vote in favor of state Supreme Court Justice Barry Albin’s renomination.
Stepien said that the deletion was a “technology issue, not a strategy issue,” and that the campaign is preparing to relaunch the Web site, after which it will include the “Shared Values.”
“I'm surprised the Democrat State Committee isn't keeping a running tally of jobs lost or businesses leaving the state instead,” he said. “Chris is who he is, and no losing opponent, campaign manager, or poll is going to change that. If you're looking for a candidate who's changed his positions, I hope you're still not waiting for the 40% increase in property tax rebates Jon Corzine promised us four years ago.”