Can Chris Christie reassert himself as a serious 2016 contender?

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from The New York Times,

Following New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s controversial remarks in England about vaccinations, which set off a firestorm here in the U.S., the potential 2016 presidential candidate probably thought this week couldn’t get any worse. And then it did.

There was a New York Times report detailing the governor’s questionable luxury trips, hurting his everyman image. And then came news that federal investigators reportedly questioned a former assistant prosecutor who had previously brought a whistleblower lawsuit against Gov. Christie’s administration – sending a chilling reminder that authorities are looking into possible misdeeds and that indictments could be on the way.

The trifecta of problems have some convinced that Christie has shot himself in the foot even before officially making his 2016 plans known. The big question now is if the governor can reassert himself as a serious contender.

Inadvertently or not, Christie – who would surely run as a moderate, establishment candidate,– came across as a member of the fat right fringe when he said parents should have a choice when it comes to getting their children vaccinated, even as public officials work to contain an outbreak of measles in 14 states. Presumed Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton said it was a matter of science and that vaccines work. Christie’s potential GOP presidential competitors, save for for Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, also came down on the side of vaccines. And Paul later walked back his remarks.

Conservative columnist John Podhoretz tweeted, “So Chris Christie is going to run as the sensible establishment candidate – but pander on vaccines?” And Republican GOP strategist Rick Wilson wrote, “no, seriously. Being ‘a little bit of antivaxer’ is like being ‘a little bit of a 9/11 truther.’”

Things get even more bizarre when you compare Christie’s vaccinations remarks with his reaction to the Ebola crisis – which involved a controversial, government-mandated, 21-day quarantine on health care workers returning from West Africa who had contact with Ebola patients. “There’s an inconsistency in his ideology,” said Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University. “As a Republican primary voter trying to make a decision, there’s no clear pattern with Gov. Christie and what he’d do in the next public health crisis.”

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