Gov. Jon Corzine's (D) campaign is launching a new attack on Republican Christopher Christie's ethics, heralding news that Christie spoke with former White House political strategist Karl Rove about a possible governor's race while he was the U.S. Attorney for Newark.
Asked about Christie during a July 7 appearance before the committee, Rove said he never spoke with Christie about his investigations or other actions as the state's top federal prosecutor. They did discuss the possibility Christie might run for governor, Rove testified.
"I talked to him twice in the last couple of years, perhaps one time while I was at the White House and once or twice since I left the White House, but not regarding his duties as U.S. Attorney, but regarding his interest in running for governor, and he asked me questions about who -- who were good people that knew about running for Governor that he could talk to," Rove said in the testimony.
In an act that stinks of political desperation, the Corzine campaign is attempting to use Rove's testimony as a basis for calling Christie's entire extremely successful seven-year stint as U.S. Attorney for Newark into question.
Corzine's theory is that the phone calls with Rove prove that Christie's actions as New Jersey's top federal prosecutor were politically motivated.
"I'm under the impression that U.S. attorneys are supposed to be free of politics. If politics comes into play, then the whole basis of justice is called into question. Are the actions taken dependent on the fair administration of justice, or were there political issues? People have to have faith that the judgments that are taken by our courts, by our prosecutorial system, are such that everyone is treated equally before the law."
There is no actual evidence, of course, that Christie was even seriously considering a campaign for elective office while he was U.S. Attorney, let alone making prosecutorial decisions on the basis of his future political aspirations. Rove confirms this in is testimony, telling the committee, "My recollection was he was very tentative about it. He was a long way away from the practical politics of it."
But that doesn't matter to Corzine, or the Newark Star-Ledger, which dutifully reported the baseless accusations. Corzine continues to trail Christie by double-digits in the RCP Average, and his campaign is effectively dead in the water. Not even a visit by President Barack Obama was able to lift Corzine's flagging position in the polls, actually doing him more harm than good.
The essential problem for Corzine is that New Jersey voters don't trust him, and they don't trust the Democratic Party. By a margin of 50-15 percent, they associate Democrats with political corruption over Republicans and 58 percent disapprove of Corzine's performance as governor. Faced with those facts, and unable to defend his party or himself, Corzine has no choice but to try and smear Christie with any and every possible allegation. It's evidence of a political camapign in its death throes, and the harbinger of good electoral news for Republicans not just in New Jersey, but in next year's congressional elections as well.