If New Jersey Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie hasn't worn out his welcome in his home state already, today may have finally done the trick. Already feeling the heat over his decision to return to New Hampshire even as his home state recovers from one of the worst snowstorms in history, one which has killed at least five people in New Jersey, Christie has added insult to injury by committing a series of horrific gaffes as he campaigns far from home.
The gaffe that's getting all of the attention is this exchange with a young woman, in which he snidely asks if he should go back to New Jersey with a mop to help clean up:
Girl: I have friends, family, sending me pictures...
Girl: All over he state.
Christie: 'All over the state?' Really? There's been one county that's flooded, one county, Cape May County, so I don't know where you're getting 'from all over the state,' since we have 21 counties where that's happened. Um, second, I don't see co... what you expect me to do, you want me to go down there with a mop?
Christie is, of course, lying, as he was Monday when he claimed there was no residual damage from the storm:
Sam, I don't even know what critics you're talking about. There is no residual damage, there is no residual flooding damage. All the flooding receded yesterday morning. And there was no other damage. People were driving around the streets yesterday morning in New Jersey. This is just what they wish would have happened. Unfortunately for them we know how to do this. We managed the storm extraordinarily well, New Jersey transit was back at noon yesterday after the storm, our roads were all open as of 7:00 a.m. yesterday and so, you know, I think that's just folks who want to criticize me for anything that I do. I have not heard any of that criticism, I haven't seen any of that criticism and I think you are just making it up.
That might come as a surprise to Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who, even as Christie spoke, was headed to the shore to assess the damage that Christie says doesn't exist, in counties he says didn't flood.
There's also the matter of the five people (and counting) who were killed during the storm, some of whom remained buried in the snow even as Christie made his escape to New Hampshire. Christie brought up one of those tragedies at a town hall meeting in Hooksett, NH Monday night, Christie gave a "stirring" tribute to the 23 year-old woman and her one year-old son who were killed during the storm, and took a break right in the middle of his "eulogy" to laugh it up with a local Republican official. Very classy:
A young mother and her one year-old child who were in their car and did not clear the snow away from their tailpipe and died of carbon monoxide poisoning, and her 3 year-old child was also in the car, is in critical condition, so I hope that tonight, you'll keep that family in your prayers, cuz that is a tragic loss of life. But that's what happens in some of these storms, people don't know where to go or exactly what to do, and you try to tell them stay in your home... Jennifer! Come on up here! We've got seats up here for you,, you're the chairman of the Republican Party in New Hampshire!
We got special seats for you up here! We don't let the chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party stand in the back if she doesn't have to! Thank you for coming, Jennifer, um, but, you never know in these storms, you know, you have to be smart about this. You know, I continue to tell people to stay in their homes, and don't go out in your car, and sometimes people just have to, and feel like they have to.
It was good of Christie to interrupt his glad-handing of local party official Jennifer Horn to remind the surviving 4 year-old, Saniyah Rosa, that her mom and her little brother would still be alive if they had just been "smart about this."
As if all that wasn't bad enough, though, Christie took a completely gratuitous shot at his home state when he explained to the crowd the New Hampshire version of his "four rules" for town hall meetings:
In New Hampshire, I just have one rule in town hall meetings, in New Jersey I have four. That will tell you everything you need to know about the difference between New Hampshire and New Jersey. So here we are for New Hampshire, it's one rule, you raise your hand and I call on you.
We have pretty good senses of humor in New Jersey, but the last person we want to hear shit from while people are dead and we're recovering from actual storm damage is the guy who lit out for New Hampshire to use us as a laugh line for a pasty New Hampshire crowd. You can keep him.
In case you missed it, here are Christie's four rules for making sure he gets to yell at people at town halls: