Rachel Maddow on NBC's Today: 'Embarrassing' and 'Rude' Christie 'Screams' at Constituents

Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, left-wing MSNBC host Rachel Maddow slammed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: "...his brand at this point is, 'I'm the guy who screams at my own constituents'....his brand is 'I will be rude.' And rudeness is actually what he's trying to sell as a form of political authenticity."

Co-host Ann Curry mentioned Christie criticizing President Obama for being too focused on popularity rather than policy and wondered: "Does the New Jersey Governor have a point that the President is making mistakes because he wants too much to be liked?" As Maddow launched into her rant against Christie, Curry interrupted: "But beyond argument and ad hominem, let's talk about, though, about Obama specifically. Do you think he's trying too hard to be liked?"

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Maddow never really addressed the criticism of Obama, but continued to tear down Christie: "When he was asked recently by a constituent whether or not there was an issue of fairness with him sending his kids to private school when he was cutting public education so drastically, he screamed back at that constituent, 'That's none of your business!'....he's embarrassing himself in his own state, leaving – taking a state helicopter away from his son's baseball game so he can go meet with Iowa Republican donors."


Here is a full transcript of the June 29 segment:

7:09AM ET

ANN CURRY: Rachel Maddow is the host of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, joins us now. Rachel, good morning.

RACHEL MADDOW: Hi, Ann.

CURRY: Sarah Palin first, how much longer can she wait before she announces her decision?

MADDOW: I think she can wait a long time. I think what the candidates are doing right now is essentially introducing themselves to a public who may not remember who Rick Santorum is or who Michele Bachmann is, for that matter. Sarah Palin does not have that problem. Nobody in America doesn't know who she is. I think she can wait a long time. We're a half year away from the Iowa caucuses still.

CURRY: Really? So if she does wait that long or not, if she does announce that she's going to run, how will that change the Republican race?

MADDOW: Well, I think that as long as Mitt Romney is the unquestionable front-runner, there is going to be some hunger among a significant number of Republican activists in particular for somebody else with a big name to get in. There's dissatisfaction with Mitt Romney as the front-runner. And so as long as there's nobody challenging him, and it looks like Tim Pawlenty does not pose any threat of doing that, I think that the race is going to remain quite wide open.

CURRY: Well, Michele Bachmann seems to be considered right now a front-runner. I'm wondering, it seems to me that it might be argued that she's taking some of the support that Sarah Palin would want from the Tea Party. So one might argue – and there are those who are arguing that those two are going to have to confront each other at some point. Do you agree with that?

MADDOW: You know, I don't think that there's any reason to think of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann competing for the same voters any more than there is to see that sort of competition between Herman Cain and Rick Santorum or between Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty. I think we're sort of past the glass ceiling where in people have to compete to be the female candidate.

CURRY: Okay, that point well taken, but we are still talking about Tea Party favorites, right? So on that level.

MADDOW: Sure, but there's a lot of competition for that. I mean, Tim Pawlenty wants to be seen as a Tea Party favorite. I mean, we just heard in Kelly's report there, Michele Bachmann is trying to make this case that she's a purist Tea Party candidate despite the fact that she has this hypocrisy problem with having benefitted herself from so much government spending.

CURRY: Meantime, I want to get your take on something that Chris Christie said about President Obama, talking about the Democratic side of the ticket. Let's take a listen to what Chris Christie said.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The President and the People; Is Obama Failing to Connect to Everyday Americans?]

CHRIS CHRISTIE: I think he's so concerned about making sure everybody likes him that he's paralyzed to be able to make decisions. And I think that's what it does when you're worried about being liked. You don't want to decide anything because you know you're going to aggravate somebody.

CURRY: Does the New Jersey Governor have a point that the President is making mistakes because he wants too much to be liked?

MADDOW: I think Chris Christie is really good at polishing his own brand. And his brand at this point is, 'I'm the guy who screams at my own constituents.' When he was asked recently by a constituent whether or not there was an issue of fairness with him sending his kids to private school when he was cutting public education so drastically, he screamed back at that constituent, 'That's none of your business!' That's his brand.

CURRY: Okay, but beyond argument and ad hominem, let's talk about, though, about Obama specifically.

MADDOW: Well, no, I-

CURRY: Do you think he's trying too hard to be liked? Is it affecting his ability?

MADDOW: It's not – it's not an ad hominem argument. Chris Christie is auditioning for vice president. Chris Christie would like to be taken seriously on the national stage. That's why he's embarrassing himself in his own state, leaving – taking a state helicopter away from his son's baseball game so he can go meet with Iowa Republican donors, when he's not running for president.

CURRY: Right.

MADDOW: He is auditioning. And his brand is 'I will be rude.' And rudeness is actually what he's trying to sell as a form of political authenticity. So to attack the President on that ground is to invite a favorable comparison with his own style.

CURRY: So you're saying he doesn't have a point, okay.

MADDOW: Well, he has a point for himself.

CURRY: Okay, alright, there you go. And there also seems to be, however, growing discontent in the Left at President Obama, a discontent over his position on Libya, Afghanistan, the budget. Is this something that his campaign really needs to worry about as we now move towards the election?

MADDOW: I think that the President – I mean we'll see some of it today, the President hosting a gay rights reception at the White House, still sort of sitting uncomfortably on his assertion that he does not support same-sex marriage. The gay community very excited about same-sex marriage rights having been extended in New York and that tension between the President's position and what the community sees as a victory.

I think the President's going to have to worry about the Left when it comes time to rubber meeting the road and organizational enthusiasm on the part of the Democratic base being important to get out the vote. It may be too early for him to really be courting the Left, but we'll see it in terms of his strategy.

CURRY: Alright, Rachel Maddow, thank you so much. Sorry to spring the Latin on you, but I knew you could handle it. So thanks so much.

MADDOW: Oh, you know, I enjoyed it. Thanks.

CURRY: And you can catch The Rachel Maddow Show weeknights at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on MSNBC.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC