WashPost Mag Editor Compares Chris Christie to Tony Soprano

Cathy Areu, of the Washington Post Magazine, compared Sarah Palin to unsophistocated redneck Larry the Cable Guy back in 2010. She was back to her old self Thursday morning on CNN's Starting Point, railing against Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) as "a Tony Soprano" character.

CNN host Soledad O'Brien also had some fun with Christie's weight, chuckling at Piers Morgan's compliment that governor was doing well in his weight loss regimen. 

"He's not a governor. He's a character. He's a Tony Soprano," Areu ranted against Christie. When the question was asked if Republicans wished him in the presidential race, she spat out incredulously "How could you think that?"

She also sharply questioned the governor's debate abilities. "He's a mess. He doesn't listen. He just says whatever he's thinking. There's no filter."

After playing a clip of Christie discussing his weight with CNN host Piers Morgan, O'Brien snickered at Morgan's parting compliment that the governor's weight loss regimen was working. "Piers throwing the compliment, it's working. You're a shadow of your former self," O'Brien said mockingly.

[Video below the break. Click here for audio.]



Earlier in the segment, the panel was discussing Christie's challenge of Warren Buffett's plea for higher taxes. Christie said the billionaire "should just write a check and shut up, really." O'Brien credited Buffett's response, hinting that Christie wasn't treating the issue seriously enough with his brash comment.

Former NPR host and ABC News correspondent Farai Chideya blamed the Bush tax cuts for creating the current unsatisfactory tax systsem. "It's like no, there was a decision made in the last administration to cut taxes on wealthier Americans that did help dig us into the hole," she claimed.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on Starting Point on February 22 at 7:44 a.m. EST, is as follows:


O'BRIEN: President Obama on Tuesday called on Congress to consider the Buffett rule again, force anyone who is earning a million dollars a year to pay 30 percent taxes. The name, of course, comes from the billionaire Warren Buffet. And he says he thinks it's wrong that his secretary is paying a higher tax rate than he does. Last night, Piers Morgan asked New Jersey Governor Chris Christie about Buffett's stance.

(Video Clip)

Gov. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-N.J.): Well, he should just write a check and shut up, really. Just contribute, okay? I mean, you know, the fact of the matter is that I'm tired of hearing about it. If he wants to give the government more money, he's got the ability to write a check. Go ahead and write it.

(End Video Clip)

O'BRIEN: Michele Bachmann and the Heritage Foundation made similar calls in the fall to which Warren Buffett said this.

(Video Clip)

WARREN BUFFETT, CHAIRMAN & CEO, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: It's kind of cheerful to see – makes you cheerful to see the childlike faith in the American public. We have a deficit of $1.2 trillion or something like that, and they say the way to solve it is by voluntary contributions. I mean, if they really think that that's sound tax policy, you know, God bless them. I mean, they have a different view of human nature than I do.

(End Video Clip)

O'BRIEN: You know, I thought Warren Buffett had a real point there, because Chris Christie – he always can make headlines in his comments but, at the same time, what underlies the comment is a serious issue. It's really about your tax rates.


FARAI CHIDEYA, author, journalist and radio host: Well but it's – no one's asking the one percent to pay all the taxes. I think that the reality is that the framing around the taxes is about whether or not you think that the Bush era tax cuts should be repealed because they did help dig us into a hole. It's not about – you know, I think a lot of times people are like, these are new taxes. It's like no, there was a decision made in the last administration to cut taxes on wealthier Americans that did help dig us into the hole. And I think that it's really about the structure of the tax system.

O'DONNELL: I think that's up for debate as well. I would argue that it wasn't the taxes that dug us into the hole, it was the spending that started in the Bush administration and now has got, you know, to where we're a trillion dollar deficits every year.

O'BRIEN: When you see Chris Christie, you have to say, the man comes across on the screen. You know, Piers asked him about his weight, which is something he doesn't talk about a lot, and here's what he said.

(Video Clip)

CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R), governor of New Jersey: I'm trying to be healthier. I'm eating better. I've been working with a trainer on a regular basis and worked before we met today. And I'm trying. Because, you know, I'm getting ready to be 50. I'll be 50 this fall. And I'm starting to feel my own mortality. And I got to be around for my kids and hopefully for grandchildren. And so you start to think about it in that way that you don't really think about as a younger man.

PIERS MORGAN, host Piers Morgan Tonight: Well, it's working.

CHRISTIE: We're trying.

MORGAN: Keep going, Governor.

(End Video Clip)

O'BRIEN: Piers throwing the compliment, it's working. You're a shadow of your former self.


CATHY AREU, contributing editor, Washington Post Magazine: He's not a governor. He's a character. He's a Tony Soprano. I'm thinking of –

O'BRIEN: Republicans watching that do you think, god, I wish Chris Christie were in this race?

AREU: How could you think that?

O'DONNELL: Well, I mean, he has done an incredible job in New Jersey. He said he doesn't want to run for president right now. I respect that.

O'BRIEN: But as a guy who's – yeah, yeah, yeah. A guy who's –


AREU: – governor of New Jersey. He's cutting back on schools. He's cutting back on so many programs that people need.


AREU: He's a mess. He doesn't listen. He just says whatever he's thinking. There's no filter.

-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center