Why Chris Christie is a top-tier 2016 candidate — in 91 seconds

July 30, 2013

Chris Christie is more moderate than many of the Republican voters in Iowa and South Carolina that he will court if he runs for president in 2016. He's more willing than any other Republican in that potential field to say nice-ish things about President Obama.

But, but, but....Christie has one thing that no other candidate -- not Marco Rubio, not Jeb Bush, not Rand Paul, not Scott Walker -- who is thinking about running for the GOP nod in 2016 does: An ability to talk like a normal person.

As Mitt Romney, John Kerry and Al Gore can attest -- and not in a good way -- being, or at least seeming, like an average Joe is critically important to your chances of winning.

Listen to this 91 seconds from an answer Christie gave today when asked about his comments about libertarianism last week in Colorado:

Here's the key nugget (although there's also an extended hit on Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul that's worth listening to):

"I was asked a question at a forum in Aspen and I gave an answer. Now I know that for politicians in Washington, D.C. this is a completely foreign concept. They think there has to be some master plan behind every utterance you make...If you ask me a question, I give an answer. That's what people expect from people in public life."

With an American electorate who loathes Washington and most politicians, an ability to speak bluntly about what's wrong in the nation's capitol and its occupants is a very powerful skill.

That's Christie through and through. And, in a field where two of the top contenders -- Rubio and Paul -- sit in the Senate, it's potentially a very powerful 2016 message.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.
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Chris Cillizza · July 30, 2013