Gaffe Track: Christie's Quiet-Car Crime

Brendan McDermid / Reuters
Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The candidate: Chris Christie

The gaffe: The New Jersey governor committed a cardinal sin on Sunday: He spoke in the quiet car. Gawker, which, uh, scooped the story, reported Christie was yelling; his spokesman and other accounts said he was merely chatting on a cell phone. (To be fair, Christie is not known for speaking at low volumes.)

The defense: “The governor promptly left once he realized the serious nature of his mistake and enjoyed the rest of his time on the train from the cafe car,” his spokeswoman said in a statement. “Sincere apologies to all the patrons of the quiet car that were offended.”

Why it matters (or doesn’t): Christie just lost the crucial Acela Corridor frequent-rider vote. Also, dude, learn from Lanny Davis’s mistakes.

The moral: It’s better to talk in the quiet car and remind people you’re running for president than keep mum and have them forget.