Heilemann Tries and Fails to Lure Christie Into Fight With GOP Voters

January 4th, 2016 7:05 PM

Let's you and him fight! That was John Heilemann on today's With All Due Respect, trying to lure Chris Christie into a fight with Republican voters. Heilemann's first foray was to invite Christie to "name an issue where you are out of step with the conservative base of the Republican party." When Christie wouldn't bite, Heilemann tried again, asking Christie to name "an issue where you feel like the conservative base is wrong."

Christie called out Heilemann's ploy, saying "you're kind of looking for some Sistah Souljah moment" which Christie described as "manufactured and political." Even those who are not Christie fans might applaud him for refusing to fall into Heilemann's trap.

Note: Christie did go on to mention his stand in New Jersey running counter to Republican and Democrat "orthodoxy," in favor of treatment rather than incarceration for first-time, non-violent, non-dealer drug addicts.

JOHN HEILEMANN: Let me ask you this question as you run for the Republican nomination. If you could come up with, name an issue for us where you are out of step with the conservative base of the Republican party. 

CHRISTIE: I don't think I am out of step with the conservative base of the Republican party. 

JOHN: On not one issue? I'm asking you for --

CHRISTIE: Listen, I don't know what you're looking for here, but no, I'm not going to sit here and go through a laundry list of things where you might think, or someone else might think that I'm out of step with the base of the Republican party. I'm a conservative Republican. I've been a conservative Republican my whole life. I don't feel out of step with the base of my party. 

HEILEMANN: Governor, I guess the way I'd frame the question is this: if you look back on past presidential nominees of both parties, whether it's Barack Obama or Bill Clinton of the Democratic party, George W. Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush, in each instance, at some point in their campaign, there was an issue where they challenged the orthodoxy in their party, even though they were largely in step with their party's base. I'm just curious if there's an issue where you feel like the Republican, the conservative base is wrong. And you not feel like you're out of step, but where you'd like to say hey, I'm in line with my party on most things, but on this thing, I feel the base of my party is just simply wrong and I'm taking an unorthodox position. 

CHRISTIE: Well I don't know: you're kind of looking for some Sistah Souljah moment, which I think are manufactured and political things. I would tell you that I have tried to lead the way in New Jersey against all orthodoxy, Republican and Democrat, on the issue of drug addiction. And the fact is, that we not any longer need to be jailing first time, non-violent, non-dealing drug offenders. And we don't do that in New Jersey anymore. We send them to mandatory drug treatment.