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Chris Christie: Did primal scream help or hurt his presidential prospects? (+video)

Gov. Chris Christie tore into Speaker Boehner and the House GOP over the delay in a vote on Sandy relief. That could help him get reelected but hurt him in a Republican primary campaign.

By Staff Writer / January 3, 2013

This photo combination shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) of Ohio. Christie, a Republican who has praised President Obama's handling of Superstorm Sandy, on Wednesday blasted Boehner for delaying a vote for federal storm relief.

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Washington

Did New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie help or hurt himself on Wednesday by blasting his own political party? In case you haven’t heard, after House Speaker John Boehner delayed a vote on a $60 billion superstorm Sandy recovery bill, Governor Christie lit up Mr. Boehner and Republican House members like they were sparklers.

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Washington Editor

Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.

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The Sandy legislation “could not overcome the toxic internal politics of the House majority,” Christie said at a brutal Trenton news conference.

Adding that “palace intrigue” had helped scuttle a bill important to New Jersey, New York, and other areas hard hit by the Oct. 29 storm, Christie heaped disdain on you-know-who for something he (Christie) considered a debacle.

“There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims, the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner,” said Christie.

“It’s why the American people hate Congress,” he added, getting in another kick on the way out the door.

Christie’s bravura performance of a governor scorned is probably a big help for him in his current job, of course. For one thing, it worked, or at least appeared to. Under the pressure of negative comments from Christie, New York Rep. Peter King, and other northeastern Republicans, Boehner scheduled an initial vote Friday on a $9 billion Sandy flood insurance package, and promised that a vote on a further $51 billion in aid will take place on the first full legislative day of the next Congress, Jan. 15.

Christie is running for reelection, and his constituents are unlikely to be offended by his blunt, successful tirade. It could enter New Jersey lore, maybe as the subject of a Bruce Springsteen song. (Hey, Springsteen fan Christie can dream, can’t he? The Boss wrote a rocker about the prosaic subject of tearing down Giants Stadium in New Jersey’s Meadowlands, after all.)

But if Christie wants to run for president someday his primal scream may not help.

Yes, many voters will agree with him and admire a politician who’s willing to cross his own party to get things done. In a general election Christie would probably benefit from a press conference that looks like leadership – if you’re not John Boehner or a House GOP member.

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