But Monday that tough talk was in tatters, with both governors having walked back the policies while claiming they hadn't.
Kate Zenike and Thomas Kaplan have a devastating summary of the Christie/Cuomo journey from tough to tatters in the NY Times this morning:
Shifting stances and a lack of clear standards from the governors of New York and New Jersey over their Ebola quarantine policy left critics and even some allies questioning on Monday whether the two men had fully worked through the details before they announced it.
Govs. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey said on Friday that they were imposing their strict new mandatory quarantine because standards from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been inadequate.But on Monday, faced with criticism from the nurse who had been detained in Newark as the test case of the new quarantine, Mr. Christie said the C.D.C. — not New Jersey — had been responsible for hospitalizing her and giving her the Ebola test in the first place.By Monday, the White House, the United Nations secretary general and civil-liberties groups, with varying degrees of anger, were accusing Mr. Christie and Mr. Cuomo of putting politics ahead of science, at the risk of deterring health care workers needed to treat the disease at its origin in Africa.The governors, who recently appeared side by side to declare their resolve and strategy against the Islamic State, said on Friday that they needed clear policy to combat hysteria. But three days of apparent reversals — though both governors said there had been none — only helped to fan public confusion. (A re-released, but inaccurate, transcript compounded matters.)
The Times journalists report that health officials in both New Jersey and New York have gotten no guidance from the governors on how to carry out the new policies.
They also report that Governor Cuomo's PR flak sent a transcript of the Friday Cuomo/Christie presser that was edited to make it sound like Cuomo's Monday policy shift (quarantees could stay at home) was what the governor had intended overall.
When the Times noted the transcript was edited for inaccuracy, the Cuomo PR flak said the "omissions" in the transcript were a mistake.
Christie and Cuomo wanted to look tough and decisive with this Ebola policy.
They wanted it to be a master stroke of political maneuvering, which is why they announced it on Friday without giving any heads up to anybody in the various municipal or federal agencies who would be helping to carry out the protocols, let lone their fellow politicians.
But as I first thought on Friday when I heard these two clowns talk tough at their press conference, they put the politics before the policy and had no plan to carry out their tough talk.
I've said a couple of times on Twitter that these two schmucks can't get the PATH to run right, how can they put together a complex quarantine policy overnight without the help of health officials?
And the reality was, they couldn't.
Health officials are still waiting for the policy details from both Christie and Cuomo.
Maybe the public only pays attention to the tough talk part and the poll numbers of both men rise as a result of this fiasco.
That's possible - there's a lot of fear out there over Ebola and I could see many people supporting Christie and Cuomo on this.
But if you're really paying attention to what these two men did, you have seen them exposed as buffoons who put their political careers over the public's health and did it rather ineptly.