The Conversation

Chris Christie on the Lowest Moment in His Life

Chris Christie has had a very good week. Monday Quinnipiac released a poll naming him the "hottest" politician and showing him just ahead of Hillary Clinton. Today Rasmussen has a new poll showing him eeking out a win over other Republican candidates for 2016 (with the odd caveat that he is not necessarily the person GOPers want to win the nomination).

With all of that good news in mind, this interview which gives us a little sense of his personal story is probably one we'll hear more about in the future. Christie was asked to describe his lowest moment in life and he described a moment with his mother after she learned she had terminal cancer:

Question: All of life is a sine curve. All of us have ups and downs and ups and downs, and to use the KIPP term, the grit that gets you through in those low hours is what really matters. Tell us—this would be the last of the personal questions. Tell us your low water mark. Tell us the hardest hour, and tell us how you got through it and give some kind of life lesson about what you know when it's been bad.

Governor Christie: You know, it's really hard to pick. I've had a pretty blessed life, but I think, you know, for me, the lowest time was when I first discovered that my mom was sick. She had been sick any number of times in her life and she had always beaten it. My mother had had a brain aneurysm and beat it. She had had breast cancer at 40 years old, you know, and beat it, so I kind of thought that my mother was indestructible, and when I went to the doctor with her and my father when she was having some dizzy spells, the doctor called me and said I'm going to give them some news and you need to be there because they're not going to take this well, and he told my mother that she had three large brain tumors that he thought were metastatic cancer from lung cancer. The low point was I got in the car to drive her home. My father went to the pharmacy to get medicine for her because she was going to have to have surgery right away. And I went to put my hand on the stick shift to back out and she put her hand on my hand and she said, 'I know I'm going to die.' Now I never heard my mother ever, ever be defeatist. Ever in her life. She's the daughter of a single mother, she had raised her two younger siblings after my grandfather was gone. She had been married at 18 years old to an abusive guy who would beat her, and left him, and supported herself, and then raised three children with my father. This is was a woman who I thought would beat anything, but when she looked at me and said, 'I know I'm going to die,' that was my low point. And the way you come back from it is, I said to myself she's been there for every minute of my life for me and I am going to be there for her, for her death and I can't let her down. And that's grit I guess as you described it, but it was like I felt like I owed it to her. And so I think that was the low point, that moment when she looked me in the eye and I knew and she knew that it was over. And you know that's probably the lowest point in my life.


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