Friday, September 19th, 2014

Fact-checking the Sunday Nov. 10 shows

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX on Sunday Nov. 10, 2013.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX on Sunday Nov. 10, 2013.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dodged questions about whether he’d run for president in 2016 while at the same time presenting himself as a problem-solving executive on the Sunday news shows.

In interviews on CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX, Christie said he was focused on being governor of New Jersey, a post to which he was convincingly re-elected last week.

"In New Jersey ... we confront problems, we debate them, we argue about them, we get to the table, we come to an agreement," Christie said on ABC’s This Week. "In Washington, that seems to almost never happen."

Christie hedged on a question from Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace about gun control, saying he supported "violence control." Christie also largely brushed off criticism from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul about Christie appearing in a government-funded ad campaign (to encourage tourism in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy) while simultaneously running for re-election.

"I’m not going to get into the Washington, D.C., game," Christie said.

But by appearing on the four major Sunday shows, Christie did just that, leaving the talk show pundits to speculate about Christie’s potential run and the pitfalls he might face.

To some Republicans, Christie might be too moderate to win the GOP nomination.

But to Democrats, he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

On CNN’s State of the Union, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen argued the latter, saying that Christie has take anti-women positions that make him -- like many Republicans -- a fundamentally flawed national candidate.

"Women consistently bring Democrats over the top," Rosen said, pointing to the results of Tuesday’s Virginia gubernatorial race, where Democrat Terry McAuliffe bested Republican Ken Cuccinelli. "When you look at Chris Christie and you try and take that forward … you’ve got an anti-choice candidate who vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times over the course of his governorship."

The veto claim rates Mostly True. Christie’s first budget in 2010 left out $7.45 million in grants to family planning centers, some of which are run by Planned Parenthood.

Christie then vetoed Democrat-led efforts to restore that funding four times.

Additionally, Christie twice vetoed stand-alone measures that would expanding low-income residents’ access to family planning services, which Planned Parenthood supporters argued would come back to them in the form of reimbursements from some previously uninsured customers.

Over on Fox News Sunday, conservative columnist and Fox News contributor George Will offered a different analysis. Will said Christie’s ability to win a decidedly blue, Democratic state is something Republicans cannot ignore if they want to take back the White House.

His proof? Will cited the last six presidential elections.

"He will turn to the Republicans now and say, ‘Your problem is the 18 states and the District of Columbia that have voted democratic in six consecutive presidential elections,’" Will said. "Those 18 states, which include New Jersey by the way, have 242 electoral votes. If the Democratic presidential nominee can assume those states, he or she will spend the autumn of 2016 looking for 28 electoral votes, and he or she will find them."

It’s a simple matter of going to the electoral college record to see if Will had his numbers right, and he does.

While about a third of the states have moved from one party to the other over the past 24 years, Democrats have been able to hold on to a larger number than Republicans. More importantly, the Democratic states have bigger populations and thus deliver more electoral votes.

Democrats can count on the two big prizes of California and New York, while Republicans can counter with just one super-sized state, Texas. The average state in the blue column delivers 13 electoral votes; the average on the red side is 8.

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said the hurdle for Republicans doesn't look any better if you count the underlying votes by citizens, not just the electoral results.

"Democrats have also won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential contests," Sabato said. "The demographic shifts heading to mid century are all pro-Democratic."

Will’s claim rates True.

Times staff writers Jon Greenberg and Katie Sanders contributed to this report. Aaron Sharockman is the editor of PunditFact.com.