At CPAC yesterday, Laura Ingraham asked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) a common question about his presidential ambitions. "Where does social conservatism and Chris Christie live together?" the conservative media figure asked. Ingraham noted there are plenty of "strong social conservatives" in the 2016 field, and asked, "How do you compete?"
"I just stand on my record. I mean, I'm pro-life. I ran as a pro-life candidate in 2009 unapologetically, spoke at the pro-life rally on the steps of the statehouse. The first governor to ever speak at a pro-life rally on the steps of the statehouse in New Jersey, and vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times out of the New Jersey budget."
Planned Parenthood, of course, has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support. In fact, Christie should probably ask President Romney about the political utility of attacking the non-profit health organization*.
But even putting that aside, when Christie says he can appeal to social conservatives by standing on his "record," that's probably more complicated than he'd like to admit. The governor boasted yesterday that he "ran as a pro-life candidate in 2009," but it was necessary to clarify the year because Christie has not always run as a candidate opposed to abortion rights.
For much of the 1990s, Christie was unapologetically pro-choice -- and he used to brag to voters in his early elections about the personal donations he'd made to Planned Parenthood.