Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Crowley: Memo to Chris Christie -- did you get the memo?

By Candy Crowley, CNN Chief Political Correspondent
updated 2:52 PM EDT, Mon October 1, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Both sides have played low-expectations game about Wednesday's debate
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defies GOP, predicts debate will be game-changer for Romney
  • Christie's prediction sets high expectations for Romney, who is running behind

Washington (CNN) -- Apparently, Chris Christie didn't get the memo.

"Wednesday night is the restart of this campaign, and I think you're going to see those numbers start to move right back in the other direction," the Republican New Jersey governor said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Christie raises the bar for debate

Note to Gov. Christie: No, no, no, no, no. Standard operating procedure for pre-debate chatter is to lower expectations for your guy by raising expectations for the other guy.

The way Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, did on Fox:

"President Obama is a very -- he's a very gifted speaker. ... The man's been on the national stage for many years, he's an experienced debater."

And because this is a bipartisanly accepted strategy, Obama's guy David Plouffe did it too:

Peter Hamby on 1st presidential debate
McCain lowers debate expectations
Axelrod on Obama's closing strategy

"We have expected all along that Gov. Romney will have a good night. He has prepared more than any candidate in history. And he has shown himself to be a very, very good debater through the years."

Obama campaign: Don't expect zingers

Further, governor, since you are supporting the candidate who is running behind (You are supporting him, right?), then you also need to lower the stakes for Wednesday's first of three presidential debates.

As John McCain told me: "Frankly, I can't remember the last time there was one of these comments that grabbed everybody's attention because, frankly, the candidates are too well-prepared. They're well-scripted."

What does Romney need to do to change the race?

And as Ryan did (obviously he got the memo):

"I don't think one event is going to make or break this campaign."

But definitely, Gov. Christie, definitely not the way you did:

"And I'm telling you, Thursday morning, you're all going to be scratching your heads and saying, 'Wow, we have a barn-burner now for the next 33 days.' "

What questions would you like to ask the candidates? Share a short video question.

Because the thing is, when you say that, Plouffe says stuff like this:

"They expect to come out of this with the race fundamentally changed. Now, what does that mean? If it's going to fundamentally change, that means in seven or 10 days from now you'll see states like Ohio tied, the state of Iowa tied, because that's what really matters here."

You know what they say, governor -- there's no heavier burden than great expectations.

On the other hand, you may be onto something: Actually believing (you do, right?) and saying out loud (which you did) that you think your guy will do great.

Talk to you Thursday morning?

-- CC

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Get all the latest news at CNN's Election Center. There are race updates, a delegate counter and much more.
A black man is returning to the White House. Four years ago, it was a first, the breaking of a racial barrier. Tuesday night, it was history redux. And more.
The 2012 presidential election shattered spending records, further polarized a divided country and launched a thousand hashtags.
updated 1:41 PM EST, Thu November 8, 2012
Democratic and Republican congressional leaders continue to sharply disagree over the key issue of whether top tax rates should be raised to help resolve the looming crisis.
updated 2:24 PM EST, Wed November 7, 2012
In a historic turnaround, the ballot box is showing America's shifting attitudes about same-sex marriage.
Even though voters indicated to pollsters that their financial situation is the same or worse than it was four years ago, they put their trust in the president.
updated 4:19 AM EST, Thu November 8, 2012
The president faces a long and familiar set of challenges after riding a wave of support from moderates, women and minorities to victory.
updated 9:27 AM EST, Wed November 7, 2012
Republicans kept a lock on the U.S. House of Representatives, a crucial victory after the party failed to wrest away the presidency from Barack Obama and the Senate from the Democrats.
updated 7:34 PM EST, Wed November 7, 2012
Democrats will retain their control of the Senate after winning several closely contested races on Tuesday.
ADVERTISEMENT