In recent months, he's negatively compared the Carter administration to the current one, and called President Obama "the worst economic president since Jimmy Carter."
But while railing against the administration's foreign policy at an event Wednesday in New Hampshire, Christie tried to quote the liberal former president—though it pained him to do so.
"I feel a little uncomfortable about it—there's a bit of a twinge in my neck—but I'm going to do this," Christie said, before paraphrasing a seemingly anti-Obama administration answer Carter gave during an interview late last month at the Aspen Institute.
In Christie's words, Carter said that he couldn't think of one country "that we have a better relationship with today than the day" that President Obama took office.
"That came from a president of his own party," Christie said. "The world has become a more complicated and difficult place because of the lack of American leadership, as personified by this president."
Christie employed the presidential paraphrase at both the beginning and end of a foreign policy- and security-focused forum at the University of New Hampshire to explain his distaste for Obama's actions abroad.
But the governor left off a crucial part of the Carter quote in his criticism of the current commander-in-chief—the part that makes clear the former president doesn't assign direct responsibility to Obama.
Carter said, in full: "I can't think of many nations in the world where we have a better relationship now than when he took over. But I don't blame him, because circumstances have evolved."
Christie isn't so forgiving—he places significant blame on Obama. Christie said perhaps the only country the U.S. has improved relations with is Cuba, but he "can't imagine that the president "¦ is going to be proud of that legacy." Since even before his presidential announcement, the governor has repeatedly criticized the Obama administration's approach to Cuba, often citing how Joanne Chesimard, who shot and killed a New Jersey state trooper in 1973, was granted political asylum there after she escaped from prison.
By contrast, Carter has said he's "proud" of Obama for easing tensions with Cuba.
"This is the kind of thing that has been long overdue," Carter said late last year. "And I'm very proud and grateful that President Obama has shown such wisdom and also, I think, political courage in taking these long-overdue steps."
You can bet that no version of that quote will be making it into Christie's stump speech anytime soon.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.
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