I've seen many politicians change some positions while they are campaigning for a higher office, but I'm not sure if I've ever seen a man change his entire position on one issue (gun control) like Governor Chris Christie has. And I'm not sure I've seen a pol lie about it as much, either.
It's not a secret that Chris Christie became engaged in politics to support strict gun control laws in NJ. Fox News' Bret Baier quizzed him on this very issue back in November:
Well, in 1993, you said you were motivated to run for office by supporting preserving New Jersey’s assault weapons ban.” Baier then named the The Star-Ledger as the paper that ran the quote, and Christie interjected, “Well, I don’t remember saying that.” Baier then read the quote—from April 13, 1993—in which Christie said, “The issue which has energized me to get into this race is the recent attempt by certain Republican legislators to repeal New Jersey’s ban on assault weapons.”
Pretty straightforward, right? Well, that is if you're Christie hoping the American population will forgot your signature issue. He's running to be the 2016 GOP presidential nominee now and not supporting the NRA's "gun free" agenda is not going to cut it in today's Republican party. Or so he thinks. And for a man who is trying to sell himself as the one-true-leader in the GOP, he's embarrassing himself to no end.
Today, he joined John Dickerson on CBS's Face The Nation and explained that he's changed his entire former gun control positions because he's evolved since 1993 - even though his positions hadn't changed that much when he ran against John Corzine to be the New Jersey governor in 2009.
DICKERSON: Let me talk about your record on assault weapons.
When we last talked, you said that originally you wanted to keep an assault weapons ban, said those who wanted to get rid of it were crazy. You said, since then, you had learned as a prosecutor -- you had evolved on that issue.
In 2009, though, you were still a supporter of the assault weapons ban. That was after you had been a prosecutor.
CHRISTIE: No, what I said at the time was that I was not interested in debating or changing, because I knew I couldn't, New Jersey's gun laws with a Democratic legislature.
If I had my choice, John, we would be a state where you could apply much more easily and receive much more easily a carry permit in our state. We are a may-issue state, not a shall-issue state. We should be a shall-issue state so people can defend themselves.
DICKERSON: When you're in that race with Jon Corzine in 2009, he said, Christie stands with the NRA. And your campaign put out a fact- check and called that a lie.
And then your campaign said this: "Chris Christie supports the assault weapons ban and all current gun laws. He opposes attempts to permit conceal and carry laws in New Jersey," hardly the NRA position.
So, that seems different than where you are now.
CHRISTIE: Yes, it is.
And, again, John, you learn about these things over time. And I have learned about this over time in New Jersey. I have grown up in a culture in our state of very, very vigorous anti-gun laws. As I have traveled the country as RGH chairman, as I have traveled the country a governor, I have learned a great deal about this.
And my actions as governor of New Jersey have been exactly where I think they need to be. When these things involve public safety, I'm for public safety. But if there are laws that are just going to make legislators and governors feel better, they shouldn't be put into place and infringe Second Amendment rights.
DICKERSON: So, so the evolution is more recent than just when you were a prosecutor?
CHRISTIE: It's an evolution that has gone on over time, absolutely, John.
It's insane in an urban state like New Jersey to support assault weapons and easy access to carry permits. Christie knows this and that's why he objected to them just a few short years ago.
And then he tried to straddle the fence on if he now supports the entire NRA agenda.
DICKERSON: Would you say you stand with the NRA?
CHRISTIE: Listen, I stand with anybody who believes in protecting the Second Amendment and protecting public safety, and whether it's the NRA or other organizations like the New Jersey Pistol Club or others. I stand with organizations who want to make sense between public safety and our Second Amendment rights. And I think they do.
DICKERSON: So, just going back to that ad, though, you stand with the NRA?
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, the fact is that if the NRA -- I'm not on every issue, but on the issues, if you tick them down issue by issue, and I will be able to answer them for you.
But I'm not going to say I stand with anybody, any particular interest group and give them a blank check. That's not what leadership is.
I almost forgot that earlier in the interview, instead of taking a firm position on if there should be gun free zones in schools, he took the squish stance and left it up to the states to decide.
"something that each state should be able to look at on its own."