As Gov. Chris Christie made the rounds on TV yesterday, members of the media repeatedly questioned his temperament, suggesting that it was not a winning characteristic of a presidential candidate.
Highlighting the clip of Christie telling a protester to “sit down and shut up,” NBC’s “Today” show host Matt Lauer pointed out that his behavior was popular with supporters but “makes other people queasy.”
“Are you going to be have to control that side of your personality to be see as presidential outside the rough and tumble of New Jersey politics?” Later asked.
“I’m not going to change Matt, this is who I am,” Christie replied.
“Do you have to hide that side of that personality outside of New Jersey?” Lauer continued.
“There’s no hope of that,” Christie shot back.
On Fox and Friends, Christie was also asked if his tone would affect his national appeal.
“It doesn’t matter to me, I am who I am, I’m not going to change,” Chirstie replied.
Referring to the protestor, Christie explained that “if somebody does something that kind of thing publicly they are going to get what they give.”
CBS’s “This Morning” co-host Gayle King also asked Christie if it was something he was worried about.
“I’m never going to apologize for who I am,” he responded, adding that he didn’t regret “one bit” the way he handled the situation.
Subsequently on CNN, co-host Chris Cuomo asked Christie if it was possible for him to “control himself on a national level.”
“They’ll say you can’t yell at people that way,” he asserted.
Christie reminded his CNN hosts that his mother always advised him to “be himself”
“How about just be yourself? That’s what I’m trying to do every day,” Christie said, pointing out that if his temperament wasn’t suited for the presidency, it wouldn’t matter to him.
“I’m not going to change who I am – not for anybody,” he said.
Refusing to let it go, the two CNN hosts replayed the tape of his exchange for Christie, asking him if he would have done it differently.
“No,” he answered flatly.
Co-host Kate Bolduan, repeatedly questioned Christie about whether his “New Jersey” style appeal would work on the national level.
“Do you think that it plays across the country? Do you think that voters in Iowa would feel the same way about it?” she asked.
Christie dismissed the idea, pointing out that during his campaign travel for Republican governors he got great reactions from people all over the country.
“What they say to me most of the time is ‘We like the way you act like yourself. Be direct. Give them hell,” he replied.
Even after his comments, pundits continued to warn Christie about his temperament.
“That act might play really well in New Jersey … if you treat an Iowan like that, the way he treated that person, you’ll be run out of the state,” Ron Fournier said disapprovingly on Fox News, calling Christie “awfully arrogant” for refusing to acknowledge that his temperament could be a problem.
“I think Christie has a temperament issue that he either has to control or realize that it’s going to hamper his future as a presidential possibility,” he concluded.