Back in October, the New Jersey Star-Ledger endorsed Chris Christie for a second term as governor of that state, citing his “remarkable political talent” and “skill at playing Trenton’s inside game” while admitting it had “deep reservations” about him as a public official. It was a strange, bifurcated endorsement, and now, Tom Moran, the paper’s editor, sounds like he wishes he could take it back.

In a column entry titled “Chris Christie endorsement is regrettable,” Moran goes in on the governor, admitting that his paper’s stamp of approval on Christie may have been a bad idea. From the Star-Ledger:

Yes, we knew Christie was a bully. But we didn’t know his crew was crazy enough to put people’s lives at risk in Fort Lee as a means to pressure the mayor. We didn’t know he would use Hurricane Sandy aid as a political slush fund. And we certainly didn’t know that Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer was sitting on a credible charge of extortion by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

“Yes, we blew this one,” writes Moran. Yet when the editor looks at the leading lights of the GOP — he cites Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Huckabee — he says he’d rather see Christie win a Republican presidential primary:

Now ask yourself this: If the Republican primary came to a choice between Paul and Christie, which candidate would you endorse?

At the risk of repeating a mistake, I’d pick Christie in that primary, even now. And if you think that makes some sense, then you understand how excruciating the endorsement process can be.

(Photo: Gage Skidmore)