WASHINGTON, D.C. – As chief surrogate to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was trounced in the South Carolina Republican Primary by Newt Gingrich on Saturday, Gov. Chris Christie slammed Gingrich as a Washington insider with no executive experience.
In a 13-minute interview on the Sunday morning news show, “Meet The Press,” Christie took issue with Gingrich’s description of his time as “a strategic adviser” for the disgraced government-run mortgage company Freddie Mac, and not as a lobbyist.
“Strategic adviser? That is the oldest Washington dodge in the book,” he said. “He didn’t want to register as a lobbyist. He got paid $1.6 million…I mean let’s be serious. He was using his influence that he obtained in public office to try to help them. That’s why they paid him the $1.6 million.”
Unlike Romney, Christie said Gingrich has “embarrassed” the Republican Party during his time as Speaker of the House in the late 1990s, pointing out the $300,000 in ethics violations.
“This is a guy who has never run anything. I don’t think on the job training should be the presidency of the United States.”
Christie told host David Gregory he said part of Romney’s difficulty in connecting with the working-class, blue-collar voters Gingrich won so decisively stemmed from ineffective communication.
“He’s a very reserved guy,” the governor said. “Everyone comes with different personalities. I’m obviously not reserved. He’s very reserved.”
However, he pointed out that Romney helped bring large companies public, such as Staples and Sports Authority, which created thousands of jobs.
“Anyone who goes to work at those places today has Mitt Romney to thank.”
He described the results as disappointing, but added Romney ultimately will prevail, and win the Florida Republican Primary on Jan. 31.
“We had a bad week as a campaign and a bad result last night. You pick yourself up and dust yourself off.”
About his chances of being a vice-presidential candidate.
“I absolutely believe come November 2012, I’m going to be governor of New Jersey, and not any other office.”