Christie: Don't pick members of Congress for POTUS

I read a lot of complaints about Mitt Romney every week. (Many of them right here!) But whether you support him or not, Chris Christie clearly feels that Mitt has one thing going for him. Hey… at least he wasn’t a congressman.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stumped on behalf of Mitt Romney in a Chicago suburb today, telling the crowd packed into a student center at Elmhurst College that it would be a bad idea to send a member of Congress to the Oval Office.

“In our Republican primary, let’s be very leery, very wary of sending another member of Congress to the White House. Now see members of Congress they can be okay, but they don’t know the first thing most of the time about using executive authority. They don’t know the first thing about getting things done,” said Christie. “We don’t need Ron Paul, we don’t need Newt Gingrich , and we don’t need Rick Santorum. We need an executive. We need Mitt Romney in the White House.”

We don’t have a large sample to draw from in terms of men whose primary previous experience came from being members of Congress, though people from many different roles have held the office of President. We used to elect ambassadors to other nations on a fairly regular basis, but that pretty much ended with Buchanan. (George H.W. Bush was Ambassador to the UN, but he also served as VP and head of the CIA, so that doesn’t really count.) The last cabinet member to go straight to the Oval Office was Hoover. (Commerce) We’ve had three generals who never held elected office, with mixed results.

The only member of the House (who didn’t later move on to higher office) in living memory to serve was Ford, but he’s something of a wild card since he was never technically “elected” to anything except his House seat. And there aren’t many people left who could remember any Senators who moved on to the West Wing except for JFK and, of course, the current occupant.

So maybe Christie has a point. The Governor’s office is a far more common launching point, with nearly half of our presidents having held that office prior to being elected. But which governor is Christie really talking about here? Massachusetts or… New Jersey?

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