Gov. Christie Puts Words In Obama's Mouth

November 29, 2011 11:14 am ET — Kate Conway

In a video uploaded to his YouTube account, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), a conservative stalwart, joined the GOP parade lashing out at President Obama over the deficit reduction super committee's failure to reach an agreement. Accusing the president of exhibiting poor leadership, Christie suggested that the White House's "spin" on the super committee was that "the president knew it was doomed for failure, so he didn't get involved."

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ): I believe that the Occupy movement and the Tea Party movement come — their genesis is from the same feeling, which is an anger that government can't get things done. ... They look at Washington, D.C. and they look at a president who's a bystander in the Oval Office. You know, I was angry this weekend listening the spin coming out of the administration about the failure of the super committee, and that the president knew it was doomed for failure, so he didn't get involved. Well, then what the hell are we paying you for? It's doomed for failure, so I'm not getting involved? Well, what have you been doing exactly?


As with many attacks on the president, Christie's accusations of failed leadership have been amplified by the conservative media, both on blogs and on Fox News, with outrage over Obama's purported dismissal of his responsibilities. The problem is that the president never said the super committee was "doomed for failure"; instead, the White House's rhetoric has largely focused on what the White House did do to encourage the super committee's success.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has been asked over and over why the White House was not more "engaged" with the super committee. In a briefing the day after the committee announced its failure, Carney stated that "throughout this process, the president had a responsibility as a leader" and reminded the press that Obama had put forth a detailed plan on how he believed the super committee should approach debt reduction. Not exactly an abdication of presidential responsibility.

In addition, the GOP reportedly asked the president to keep his distance to avoid politicizing the negotiations. And there was only so much that Obama could have hoped to do to prod along a congressional committee that was created by the legislature, not appointed by the executive branch, and that was necessitated by political games in which Republicans held the debt ceiling negotiations hostage, pushing the economy right up to the brink of disaster. In the end, it was ideological Republican appointees who refused to compromise on additional revenues, while Democrats offered real concessions on GOP-demanded tax cuts.