Giuliani on Christie in '16: ‘He’s Exactly the Kind of Public Servant We Need’

By Fred Lucas | November 26, 2012 | 12:18 PM EST

President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). (AP)

( – When asked about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie seeking the presidency in 2016, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani seemed to indicate support for the governor, despite Christie’s hospitable treatment of a Democratic president just days before the 2012 election.

“I'm a very big supporter of Chris Christie,” Giuliani said. “I think he's been an excellent

governor. I think he's exactly the kind of public servant we need – someone who can put the interest of his state ahead of anything else, including the interest of his – of his party. That has to always come second.”

The former mayor’s defense of the governor comes after Christie was criticized by some conservatives for embracing President Barack Obama and heavily praising Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy.

On Nov. 21 CNN’s Piers Morgan asked Giuliani, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, about Christie.

“Let's turn briefly, Rudy, to the Republican Party. What about Chris Christie? He's been getting all the flak from GOP senior members who think he was disloyal in the last few days because of his conflict with the repercussions of Hurricane Sandy and him embracing the president's support. What was your view?” Morgan asked.

Giuliani said he’s happy to support Christie, who was the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this year.

“I had dinner with Chris two days after the elections, so I told him directly what my view is. I'm happy to tell you I think Chris did what he had to do as a governor,” Giuliani said. “He put his state first. I did that several times as mayor of New York and got hurt even within the Republican Party that I had to overcome.”

“This is all going to pass away. If and when, and I believe Chris will get re-elected, through an excellent job as governor of New Jersey, so I think Chris' future is still unlimited,” the former mayor said. “There were some people that are annoyed about it.

“I think they're being somewhat narrow and not realizing, you know, a governor has a first obligation to the people of his state and the people of his state -- I mean, a number of them had died, and many of them were dislocated, they still are. They're in terrible situation. He needed the help of the president of the United States. So he had to put that first,” Giuliani added.

Morgan followed, “Would you like to see Chris Christie running as a potential president in 2016?”

Giuliani didn’t give a direct yes on supporting Christie for 2016, but seemed to respond positively.

“Well, you know, you're preaching to the converted here. I – if I wasn't the first Republican to support Chris from out of the state, I was the second,” Giuliani said.

“So I'm a very big supporter of Chris Christie. I think he's been an excellent governor,” he continued. “I think he's exactly the kind of public servant we need. Someone who can put the interest of his state ahead of anything else including the interest of his – of his party, that has to always come second.”

Some conservative commentators and unnamed Republicans in news accounts accused Christie of elevating Obama and tilting the election.

A CBS News poll found that 42 percent of voters said Obama’s response to the hurricane was either an “important” or the “most important” factor guiding their vote.

Glenn Beck said on his radio program that Christie is “dead to me.”

Meanwhile, conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer said of the Christie-Obama hug, “That’s the kind of advertising that Obama couldn’t have purchased with $10 million, where he gets the picture of the most partisan opponent hugging him and praising him.”

Just before the election, on Nov. 2, New Corps head Rupert Murdoch tweeted, “Now Christie, while thanking O, must redeclare for Romney or take blame for next four dire years.”

The New York Times quoted a Romney adviser, who said, “Christie allowed Obama to be president, not a politician.”

The NYT reported, “During a lengthy autopsy of their campaign, Mr. Romney’s political advisers pored over data showing that an unusually large number of voters who remained undecided until the end of the campaign backed Mr. Obama. Many of them cited the storm as a major factor in their decision, according to a person involved in the discussion.”

The Washington Post reported that after the election, “Romney told the donors he believed Hurricane Sandy stunted his momentum in the final week of the campaign, according to multiple donors present. Although Romney himself stopped short of placing any blame on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who praised President Obama’s leadership during the storm, several Romney supporters privately pointed fingers at the outspoken governor.”

The Washington Post went on to quote a Romney fundraiser saying, “A lot of people feel like Christie hurt, that we definitely lost four or five points between the storm and Chris Christie giving Obama a chance to be bigger than life.”