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PunditFact: Chris Christie talk dominates the Sunday news shows

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dodged questions about whether he'd run for president in 2016 while at the same time presenting himself as a problem-solving executive on the Sunday news shows.

In interviews on CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox, Christie said he was focused on being governor of New Jersey, a post to which he was convincingly re-elected last week.

"In New Jersey … we confront problems, we debate them, we argue about them, we get to the table, we come to an agreement," Christie said on ABC's This Week. "In Washington, that seems to almost never happen."

Christie hedged on a question from Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace about gun control, saying he supported "violence control." Christie also largely brushed off criticism from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., about Christie appearing in a government-funded ad campaign (to encourage tourism in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy) while simultaneously running for re-election.

"I'm not going to get into the Washington, D.C., game," Christie said.

But by appearing on the four major Sunday shows, Christie did just that, leaving the talk show pundits to speculate about Christie's potential run and the pitfalls he might face.

To some Republicans, Christie might be too moderate to win the GOP nomination.

But to Democrats, he's a wolf in sheep's clothing.

On CNN's State of the Union, Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen argued the latter, saying that Christie has taken anti-women positions that make him a fundamentally flawed national candidate.

"Women consistently bring Democrats over the top," Rosen said, pointing to the results of Tuesday's Virginia gubernatorial race, where Democrat Terry McAuliffe bested Republican Ken Cuccinelli. "When you look at Chris Christie and you try and take that forward … you've got an anti-choice candidate who vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times over the course of his governorship."

The veto claim rates Mostly True. Christie's first budget in 2010 left out $7.45 million in grants to family planning centers, some of which are run by Planned Parenthood.

Christie then vetoed Democrat-led efforts to restore that funding four times.

Additionally, Christie twice vetoed stand-alone measures that would expand low-income residents' access to family planning services, which Planned Parenthood supporters argued would come back to them in the form of reimbursements.

On Fox News Sunday, conservative columnist George Will offered a different analysis. Will said Christie's ability to win a decidedly blue, Democratic state is something Republicans cannot ignore if they want to take back the White House.

His proof? Will cited the last six presidential elections.

"He will turn to the Republicans now and say, 'Your problem is the 18 states and the District of Columbia that have voted Democratic in six consecutive presidential elections,'" Will said. "Those 18 states, which include New Jersey by the way, have 242 electoral votes. If the Democratic presidential nominee can assume those states, he or she will spend the autumn of 2016 looking for 28 electoral votes, and he or she will find them."

Will had his numbers right. While about a third of the states have moved from one party to the other over the past 24 years, Democrats have held onto a larger number than Republicans.

Democrats can count on the two big prizes of California and New York, while Republicans can counter with just one super-sized state, Texas. The average state in the blue column delivers 13 electoral votes; the average on the red side is 8.

Will's claim rates True.

Times staff writers Jon Greenberg and Katie Sanders contributed to this report. Aaron Sharockman is the editor of PunditFact.com.

The statement

Says 18 states and the District of Columbia have voted Democratic in six consecutive presidential elections.

George Will, on Fox's "Fox News Sunday"

The ruling

PunditFact ruling: True
Democrats have had a stranglehold on the electoral votes along the West Coast and in the Northeast, which eases their path to the White House. We rate Will's statement True.

The statement

Says Chris Christie "vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times over the course of his governorship."

Hilary Rosen, on CNN's "State of the Union"

The ruling

PunditFact ruling: Mostly True
Christie removed $7.45 million from his first budget for family planning centers, including Planned Parenthood. He then vetoed efforts to restore that funding four times. We rate Rosen's claim Mostly True.

PunditFact: Chris Christie talk dominates the Sunday news shows 11/10/13 [Last modified: Sunday, November 10, 2013 9:57pm]

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