Chris Christie might have millions of admirers across the country, people who love the Jersey governor's blunt style. But among the Republican media and political elites who populate Morning Joe, Christie's a no-hoper.
That's what Joe Scarborough divulged on today's Morning Joe. Said Scarborough: "off the air in Republican circles . . . nobody thinks Christie can win."
Scarborough made his statement in the context of describing Mitt Romney's thought process when it comes to potentially entering the 2016 race. According to Joe, Christie getting in would be a non-factor in Romney's calculus, since he doesn't think Christie has a chance. In Romney's mind, per Scarborough, only Jeb Bush would be a rival for the establishment Republican vote, and if Bush doesn't run, then "Mitt may be on his way."
In a subsequent segment, Mika Brzezinski described Christie's approval ratings in a New Jersey poll as "cratering." But Mark Halperin described Christie as a "strong candidate" who is "underrated right now."
Scarborough discounts Christie's chances in Iowa and South Carolina, saying his personality and the hangover from Bridgegate, even if he is exonerated, would be big negatives.
What do NB readers think? Could Christie be a strong candidate for the nomination? And if he were the GOP candidate, how would you see him doing in a match-up against Hillary Clinton?
JOE SCARBOROUGH: I will tell you this. Mitt Romney, that guy right there, that guy's not worried about Chris Christie. That guy's not going to stay out of the race because --
MARK HALPERIN: Let's say Christie gets in first. Let's say Christie gets in shortly after the election. Do you think Mitt would come in?
SCARBOROUGH: He just doesn't care. He doesn't think that -- he does not think that Chris Christie is going to win and we ought to just say what, we ought to do what we do around here and say on the air --
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: What everyone's thinking --
SCARBOROUGH: -- what everybody says off the air in Republican circles. No, I'm just going to say, if you want to know what Mitt Romney is thinking, nobody thinks Chris Christie can win. Nobody thinks he can get past everything that's happened before even if he's exonerated. Nobody thinks he's got the temperament to run. Nobody thinks he can handle Iowa. Nobody thinks he's going to win in south Carolina. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I only say that to say nobody around Mitt Romney is saying, oh boy, if Chris Christie gets in, we better not do it. And we're all talking about who has the mantle for the establishment wing of the Republican party. It's Jeb or it's Mitt and if Jeb doesn't run, then I think Mitt may be on his way.