At Stanford forum, Christie calls long GOP primary contest 'stupid'

Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said during a speech at Stanford's Hoover Institution that the drawn-out primary fight makes the candidates look stupid and turns the public off.

Gov. Chris Christie doesn't parse words when asked about the lengthy nominating fight that has yet to produce a Republican rival to President Barack Obama.

"It stinks and it's stupid," the New Jersey Republican said during a recent visit to Stanford. "If it's an incumbent challenge, you should want to get to your candidate as quickly as possible so you can train your fire on the guy you're trying to defeat."

L.A. Cicero Chris Christie at podium at the Hoover Institution

In his Hoover speech, Chris Christie talked about his tenure as New Jersey governor, touting a balanced budget, job growth and spending cuts.

Christie said the Republican National Committee's rules for the primary, which have produced the lengthy campaign, caused the GOP candidates to "beat ourselves senseless" while Obama "glides above the fray, spending no money and collecting contributions."

The result, he said: "One, we just make each other look stupid, and two, the public turns off."

Christie, who has endorsed Gov. Mitt Romney and campaigned for the Massachusetts governor, said he was concerned about the elongated process but it appears party leaders are now uniting behind Romney.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, for example, recently went public with their backing of Romney.

Christie's remarks came during a question-and-answer session with the audience at the Hoover Institution, where the governor spoke as a featured guest of Hoover's Leadership Forum. Past guests have included Romney, Sen. John Kerry and House Speaker John Boehner.

Christie used the speech to talk about his tenure as governor, touting a balanced budget, job growth and spending cuts.

He also offered campaign-style critiques of the Obama administration, saying the domestic fiscal crisis threatens the U.S. position in the world.

"We are whittling away our influence around the world because of our unwillingness and our inability to get our own affairs in order. If we do not step up to the plate now, America's role in the world will be diminished," he said.

Christie, who has said he would consider a vice presidential run if Romney asked him, also knocked Obama's leadership.

"On the critical issue of debt and deficit, he simply has not led," Christie said. "The public is ready for action."

Asked whether Romney was pugnacious enough to lead in Washington, Christie readily came to the governor's side.

"Do not confuse not being pugnacious with not being tough," Christie said. "I think when he gets on the stage with the president this fall in debates – and I believe he will be our nominee – you're going to see a guy who's plenty tough."

Before his speech Christie met with Hoover scholars for a roundtable discussion that addressed issues including the economy, jobs and education.