Chris Christie is inching closer to a 2016 presidential bid, and Democrats have their arsenal ready: Christie's economic record.
A new attack ad from the DNC is in full sarcasm mode, with a voiceover proclaiming, for example, that Christie "turned around" the New Jersey economy — just before a string of clips that let us know about the state's budget shortfall and less-than-impressive job record. Check out the video below:
The Democrats have it right that Christie will have a tough time running on economic numbers — compared to the other governors considering 2016 bids, his state's job creation record is dismal. Of course, that's not something you can blame entirely (or even mostly) on a governor, as other, national-level and geographic factors have such heavy influence on a state's economy.
But the ad also gets a little misleading when they (via a Fox News anchor) claim that Christie presided over a record eight credit downgrades in his home state. It's true that there have been eight downgrades, and according to Bloomberg, it is a record for a New Jersey governor. But here's the tricky part: those downgrades have come from three different ratings agencies, as Politifact has pointed out. If one agency had downgraded New Jersey eight times, that would be a much different, much worse problem for the state.
Standard & Poor's has since 2011 knocked the state down from AA status (meaning the state has a "very strong capacity to meet financial commitments") to A status (meaning it has a "strong capacity to meet financial commitments" but is "somewhat susceptible" to economic weakness), a decline of three notches. That's not great, but a knockdown by eight notches would be truly ugly — a change from AA to BB+, a rating that generally puts a bond just shy of being investment grade, according to S&P, and would probably send the state's borrowing costs soaring even beyond their currently high levels.
The attack ad comes at a busy time for Christie — in addition to giving his state of the state address today, he's also getting in gear for a presidential campaign. He has managed to sign Ray Washburne, the RNC's top fundraiser, onto his team, the Chicago Sun Times reports.