by Frances Martel 20 Jan 2014
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may not have passed his first major challenge since the cornucopia of scandals that surfaced over a major traffic jam created for political retribution. MSNBC's Chuck Todd declared Christie's presidential hopes "done" if donors believe he will be the person he has been this week.
Todd, who was on Morning Joe to describe the way Christie sources told him the Governor appeared on his Florida fundraiser tour this weekend, had a dire report on Christie. As flagged by Mediaite, Todd suggested that Christie's charisma had waned in the face of donors he had spoken to who attended the event. "The guy they met this weekend is a shell of his former self," Todd argued, declaring that from what he heard from donors, "if that's the guy that's going to be nationally [sic], his 2016 hopes are done."
Todd continued to outline the difficult prospects for the Governor, addressing the Dawn Zimmer scandal, in which Christie officials stand accused of extorting a real estate deal out of the Hoboken mayor by threatening to withhold Hurricane Sandy funds. The scandal broke Saturday morning on MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki. In a link that brings all of Christie's recent scandals full circle, the man who orchestrated the Fort Lee lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, David Wildstein, once hired Steve Kornacki to write about New Jersey politics. (Wildstein worked under a well-kept pseudonym, and Kornacki has clarified that he did not know who Wildstein was when the latter maintained his identity secret.)
Todd's assessment of the Dawn Zimmer situation was slightly more nuanced than his take that Christie's presidential hopes are shot to the ground. Given the previously warm relationship between Christie and Zimmer, Todd noted that it seemed the allegations took the administration by surprise. "[Christie is] finding out that he made some enemies he maybe didn't know he had made," Todd asserted, and he predicted that "the kitchen sink is going to get thrown on him." He expressed surprise that Christie's people had "declare[d] a political war" themselves, and though he did not specify against whom, it was implied he meant his own network.
Todd accused the Christie administration of entertaining a "bunker mentality" and predicted things would "get ugly" from here on out--concerning coming from a reporter on a network that aired a professionally produced in-house attack ad against Christie.
MSNBC and the Christie camp, once strange bedfellows, had an explosive falling-out, chronicled in The New York Times this weekend, with Morning Joe as a last bastion of sorts in which Christie received moderately generous coverage.
Watch Todd's commentary on the Christie situation below: