In the hours since Mitt Romney lost the election, conservative commentators have increasingly lashed out at Chris Christie for abandoning the candidate just because a significant portion of his state was underwater and without power. Unsurprisingly, Christie is fighting back. At a press conference on Wednesday, he said he’s “extraordinarily disappointed” that Romney lost, and insisted that he didn’t “embrace” President Obama. He added that thanking the president for a job well done “doesn’t take away for a minute the fact that I was the first governor in America to endorse Mitt Romney, that I traveled literally tens of thousands of miles for him, raised tens of millions of dollars for him, and worked harder than any other surrogate in America other than Paul Ryan.” Yet, according to critics, months of campaigning can be negated by a week of praising the candidate’s nemesis.
On Election Day Christie tried to put an end to chatter about discord between himself and the Romney camp, saying the candidate encouraged him to focus on the storm, and dubbing those who suggest otherwise “know-nothing, disgruntled Romney staffers who, you know, don’t like the fact that I said nice things about the president of the United States.” That didn’t prevent one possibly disgruntled staffer from venting to the National Review on Wednesday. “He went out of his way to embrace the president during the final week of the campaign,” said the adviser. “It wasn’t necessary and it hurt us. Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and Chris Christie undermined the Republican message.” How different things might have been if Republicans had resisted the urge to speak kindly of the president and say awful things about rape.