Two weeks ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) appeared on CNBC and was asked whether he agrees with the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case on contraception access. “Who knows if the Supreme Court is right?” the Republican responded, unwilling to state an opinion.
Christie added that it’s important for him, as a “leader,” to avoid sharing his perspective on major issues of the day: “If I allow people to put me into that box? Then shame on me – I’m not a good politician, I’m not a good leader.”
The evasiveness was bizarre for a politician who purports to be a no-nonsense straight-talker. It was also unsustainable – Christie could only hide from the issue for so long.
Yesterday, the scandal-plagued governor traveled to Iowa, as part of a not-so-subtle effort in advance of his likely presidential campaign, and had this exchange, as recorded by American Bridge:
Unidentified man: Can I ask you a question?Christie: Sure you can!Man: Do you support the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case?Christie: Do I support the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case? I do.Man: Do you support Hobby Lobby’s position on birth control for its employees?Christie: Well I just said I support the case, so if I support the case and they support the Hobby Lobby….
At this point, the governor moved on to other people at the Iowa restaurant where this was recorded.
This probably would have been a pretty significant political revelation yesterday, had it not been for more meaningful news internationally, but we almost certainly haven’t heard the last of this one.
Remember, the Hobby Lobby court ruling wasn’t popular – the American mainstream doesn’t believe corporations should restrict women’s access to contraception. Christie, after having dodged the issue, is now on record saying the Supreme Court’s conservatives made the right call – if your boss has spiritual objections to birth control, he or she should have the right to limit your healthcare choices.
If Christie is wondering whether that position is an electoral winner, he should check with Mitt Romney about how well that position works. The governor should ask Romney, in particular, about the 2012 gender gap.