Politico Misleads on NJ Gov. Chiristie’s Immigration Position

July 1, 2010 | Filed Under Chris Christie, Congress, Democrats/Leftists, GOP, Government, Immigration/Immigrants, Liberals, Media, New Jersey, Politico, President, Security/Safety, Warner Todd Huston | 1 Comment

-By Warner Todd Huston

This morning Ben Smith of Politico posted a story that essentially mislead readers about what newfound conservative hero Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey thought about immigration. Smith’s article spun Christie into an “amnesty” supporter when it doesn’t seem he is. One has to wonder why Smith did this?

Among many other issues, in the multipage interview with Gov. Christie Smith broached the immigration issue. Being a governor, Christie is faced with as much trouble over the issue as any other, of course, but Smith’s characterization of Christie’s position on immigration would tend to make one feel that Christie is an amnesty supporter. In fact, Smith seems to impute several ideas or feelings into Christie’s replies that may not have been in them at all.

First off, Smith says that Christie had “long declined to ‘demagogue’ the issue” of immigration. It does not seem, however, that Christie has ever claimed to have a long record of refusing to “demagogue” the immigration issue.

Next Smith asserts that Christie says that “stringent state-by-state laws – such as in Arizona – are the wrong approach” for immigration. However, there is no sentiment about stringent anything in Christie’s reply to Smith’s questions. The word stringent did not appear at all.

Lastly, Smith claims that Christie said he wanted to see a “‘clear’ path to legalization for immigrants.” Naturally it doesn’t seem that Christie said word one about any “clear path” to citizenship.

In fact, it seems even Smith’s readers were suspicious of his reporting of Christie’s replies on the subject of immigration. They were so suspicious that Smith had to post a more full accounting of Christie’s replies on immigration during the interview.

Here is that expanded post on Christie’s answers on immigration:

“What I support is making sure that the federal government [plays] each and every one of its roles: Securing the border, enforcing immigration laws, and having an orderly process — whatever that process is — for people to gain citizenship.”

He added: “It’s a very easy issue to demagogue and I’m just not going to participate in that.”

Christie said more resources — specifically, “money” — were needed to support federal law enforcement and border security, along with “having a clear understandable law that people can follow.”

“Until you have both of those…you’re not going to fix the problem,” he said.

Christie also said he thinks state and local law enforcement don’t have appropriate training to enforce immigration laws, and that it can distract from their overriding goal of keeping the public safe.

Notice that Christie did not characterize Arizona’s law as “stringent”? Notice that Christie did not say he wanted a “clear path” to citizenship as Smith claimed? Also notice how Christie just said he wouldn’t demagogue the immigration issue but did not say he “long declined” to demagogue the immigration issue?

Christie is certainly an enforcement first guy. He feels the federal gov’t is failing to do its duty to protect the border, certainly. He would like to see the feds do their duty so the states wouldn’t have to and in that way he obviously feels that Arizona shouldn’t have a role in border enforcement. But Christie did not pass judgment on the “stringency” of Arizona’s or any other state’s actions.

For some reason, one I’ll leave to you to imagine, Smith decided to impute all sort of sentiments into Christie’s replies on immigration. Needless to say, Chris Christie is a current hero to many conservatives and knocking him from that pedestal would certainly benefit the left.

For what ever reason Politico’s Ben Smith and co-writer Maggie Haberman did so, on the immigration issue their story adds emotional sentiment to Christie’s answers that it doesn’t appear he said in the interview. Nor does it appear that Christie has a history of holding such sentiment.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

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