Baring the teeth of an attack dog and the charm of a professional schmoozer, Gov. Christie appeared on MSNBC this morning to push his GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. And at every turn, whether in his attacks on Romney rival Newt Gingrich or in the way he teased the "Morning Joe" cast, he demonstrated just how remarkably different he is from Romney himself.
The appearance was prompted by a text message that Christie, a regular "Morning Joe" watcher, sent to host Joe Scarborough last week questioning him for the show's supposed liberal bias: "Who’s next this morning on 'Morning Joe' to talk about the GOP race, [liberal fundraiser] George Soros?"
But once on the show Christie criticized Obama's political style more than his liberal policies, suggesting that legislators don't make good presidents because they don't have experience compromising to get things done.
Christie contrasted such political style with Romney himself, saying: "The speaker of our state assembly called me 'mentally deranged' in the newspaper, our senate president called me a 'rotten [prick]'...do I then say to myself, 'You know what? I'm not going to talk to them anymore?' No. When you're the executive you don't have that option. And my quarrel with the president is he has not stepped up and led."
Trying out a new attack line, Christie said Obama, "the weakest president I've seen in my lifetime," is "still searching around in a dark room trying to find the light switch of leadership."
Then Christie turned his attack on Gingrich (another legislator, by the way), saying he "just can't help himself but make himself the center of attention all the time by the comments he makes. I think some of his ideas are fine, some aren't."
He said Gingrich couldn't win New Jersey: "New Jerseyans have a long memory about his time as speaker of the House. He was very unpopular in New Jersey back then. I think people saw him as uncompromising and incendiary."
An hour later, when Romney himself appeared on the set for a shorter and considerably more staid appearance, the disparity between the New Jersey gov and the former Massachusetts gov was readily apparent. No jokes. No sharp, surprising attacks on Gingrich. No "we love you" declaration from Mika Brzezinski, the show's obligatory liberal.
"Certainly everyone can admit Mitt Romney and I don't have the same style, and that's fine," Christie said.
"Do I wish that Mitt would be a little edgier and a little bolder? Sure. And I told him that."