Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer says it was a “vast overreaction” and “mistake” that CPAC officials didn’t invite GOP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to its upcoming conference.
“I think this is a vast overreaction and it’s a mistake. He’s a leading Republican, he’s obviously of presidential timber, he’s got the highest popularity of any governor and he’s in a blue state,” Krauthammer said Tuesday night on Fox News.
He continued: “Look, I wasn’t very happy with what he did in [Hurricane] Sandy, I thought he deserves three months in quarantine. But three months is up. I’d let him out. We should have him at CPAC. We should have a wide tent and if that’s what it takes to win elections in the Northeast and nationwide, let’s go for it.”
Earlier this week, reports surfaced that CPAC did not invite Christie to its annual mid-March conference that will see the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sarah Palin, and Mitt Romney, among others.
Christie was criticized by some GOPers for what they perceived to be his overly effusive praise of President Barack Obama following Sandy and just days before the presidential election. His conservative critics say it hurt Romney. His supporters say he was just doing his job in helping his state recover from the devastating storm.
Krauthammer thinks it could damage Christie in a primary should he decide to mount a 2016 run, but that should be up to voters - not CPAC - to decide.
“I think it will probably hurt him if he runs for the presidency in a primary campaign among the Republicans. But I think he’s articulate, he’s smart, he’s a great politician and I think he’ll make his case,” Krauthammer said. “So I think to rule him out in advance because of one, I would call it, unfortunate - although I think he could explain the incident, meaning the Sandy embrace. I’d thought it was more than an embrace, it was kind of a lap dance, although I’m not sure I like the image.”
He added: “I think it’s a mistake. I think they’re trying to define legitimate ideology fairly narrowly and they want to rule people out. Here we are with four years to go until the next election, we ought to keep the tent wide and open and let the people, Republicans decide,” Krauthammer said on Fox.