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Christie Says Republicans ‘Stupid’ to Extend Nomination Process

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

March 23 (Bloomberg) -- Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, said his party’s decision to extend the presidential nomination process “stinks and it’s stupid.”

The procedure forces candidates to focus on minutiae to differentiate themselves and turns off the public, Christie, 49, said in a speech at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution near Palo Alto, California.

“It was the stupidest thing the Republican National Committee has done in my lifetime, and that’s a high bar,” Christie said today.

The Republican National Committee set new presidential primary rules for this year to prevent states from moving up their voting dates, which threatened to condense a number of important contests into January and trigger a crush of holiday-season campaigning. The goal was to avoid a repeat of 2008, when Arizona Senator John McCain had a lock on the nomination by March.

“We’re running against an incumbent president who will have no primary opponent and so now we will beat ourselves senseless for a year and a half while the president glides above the fray, spending no money and collecting contributions,” Christie said.

“If it’s an incumbent challenge, you should want to get to your candidate as quickly as possible so that you can then train your fire on the guy you’re trying to defeat,” he said during a question-and-answer session after his speech.

Christie said in an interview that while in California he planned to raise funds for the Republican Governors Association.

Christie said this month that, if asked, he’d consider a request from former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to become his vice-presidential running mate. The New Jerseyan has endorsed Romney and made campaign appearances on his behalf since ruling himself out of the presidential race last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alison Vekshin in San Francisco at avekshin@bloomberg.net; Elise Young in Trenton at eyoung30@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net.

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