After Romney’s debate win, Chris Christie takes a victory lap

Chris Christie and Mitt Romney. ()
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On Sunday morning, Chris Christie offered the hopeful prediction from Mitt Romney's camp, the one that eschewed the expectations game and forcefully asserted that a dominating performance in last night's debate would fundamentally change the dynamics of the race.

This morning, after an undisputed Romney victory, Christie crowed about his prediction to Don Imus on the Fox Business Network.

“You bet your butt I did," he said. "Because I watched this guy do it before. When they thought Gingrich had him down, he had his back to the wall, he went to Florida and he wiped the floor with Gingrich. When they thought Perry had him, he went in and kicked Rick Perry around. Every time this guy has had his back to the wall he comes up with a big performance in the debates. All I will say is what I believe. I don’t have any crystal ball.”

(One of his advisers said after the debate that Christie was the only one who had the "guts" to offer such a prediction, which conspicuously conflicted with the Romney campaign's official attempts to lower expectations.)

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Christie's pre-emptive assertion that it would be a whole new ballgame appeared to have the desired effect. Immediately after the debate concluded, David Gregory—one of three Sunday morning hosts who had been treated to Christie's prediction—brought it up on NBC, endorsing the idea that Christie might have been right.

Romney's performance was certainly a big step for a campaign that appeared to be on the ropes. It certainly satifisied the pundits, but it's less clear what the enduring impressions will be on the all-important swing voters.

“I think it resets the campaign," Christie said. "I think everybody now says wait a second, we need to take another look at Mitt Romney. This is far from over. And that’s what I said on Sunday. What I said on Sunday was Mitt Romney will give a performance on Wednesday that will make everybody wake up on Thursday morning and say ‘Okay, there’s 33 days left. There’s a new start to the campaign.’ And I think that’s exactly what’s happening."

Christie said the president's night looked bad from the beginning.

“I knew it was not going to be a good night for the president when he couldn’t even get a 'happy anniversary' out," Christie said. "Right? I mean he fumbled over that line. I mean you got to figure you could at least say happy anniversary to your wife without fumbling it around.”

After his speech to the Republican National Convention last month, Christie was widely criticized for giving a speech that focused only tangentially on Mitt Romney, in favor of plugging his own achievements in New Jersey.