Christie boldly declares that Romney will win debate -- and election

Gov. Chris Christie in silhouette on a visit to Cherry Hill last week. (by Tom Gralish/Staff Photographer)

Gov. Christie blanketed the TV airwaves this morning to defy political prognosticators from the media and his own party, declaring that Mitt Romney’s gaffe about the 47 percent is irrelevant, that the presidential race will be "turned upside down" after Wednesday’s debate, and that he’ll be too busy working for Romney’s reelection in 2016 to run for president himself.

Largely absent from the Romney campaign trail since his keynote address at the Republican convention more than one month ago, the New Jersey governor returned in a big way Sunday morning, appearing simultaneously on the This Week, Face The Nation and Meet The Press.

“He’s had a tough couple of weeks, let’s be honest,” Christie said of Romney on CBS’s Face The Nation.

“But there’s great news for Republicans. We have a candidate who’s going to do extraordinarily well Wednesday night...he’s going to lay out his vision for America, he’s going to contrast what his view is with what the president’s record is and the president’s view for the future. And this whole race is going to be turned upside down come Thursday morning.”

How can a single debate change several polls that show President Obama leading by increasingly wide margins? “Tens of millions of people really for the first time will be tuning into this race,” Christie said on NBC’s Meet The Press.

“This race will really start to tighten and move in Gov. Romney’s direction."

Asked to acknowledge the political problems caused by Romney’s dismissal of 47 percent of the electorate in a now famous gaffe, Christie changed his defense. A few weeks ago, he blamed reporters. This time, he said the American people don’t care.

“They know political candidates at times when they're being taped are going to say things inartfully,” Christie said on Face The Nation, comparing it to the time in 2008 when Obama mistakenly said there are 57 states in the country.

Christie dodged questions about whether Romeny would raise taxes as part of a bipartisan spending cut deal. Asked to explain why Romney hasn’t offered more specifics about his economic recovery plan, Christie argued that Obama has been even more vague. In one of several critiques on the media this morning, he said on Meet The Press: “I wish you guys were just as tough on the president.”

“The president's just trying to run out the clock," Christie added on Face The Nation. "He desperately wants to run out ot the clock with platitudes that sound nice."

Whatever the president’s strategy may be, it seems to be working. Obama has increased his lead over Romney nationally and in swing states since each party’s convention, polls show.

As is always the case, Christie was asked about his own political future. Is Christie still the “future of the Republican party” after delivering what two critics described as a “prime-time belly flop” in his keynote speech at the Republican convention?

“Mitt Romney is the future of this party," Christie said on Meet The Press. "He's going to be elected president."

And that's why Christie wouldn’t say whether he would run for president himself in 2016 if Romney loses.

“Mitt Romney’s gonna win," Christie declared on Face The Nation. "So it’s a question I don’t need to address. I hope in 2016 to be working hard for Mitt Romney's reelection as president of the United States.”