August 2nd, 2015
10:31 AM ET

Gov Chris Christie: "I'm confident I will be there on Thursday night [for the GOP Debate].”

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ), joined anchor, Jake Tapper, for an exclusive interview.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

VIDEO HIGHLIGHT

Christie: Teacher's union deserves 'punch in the face'

Gov. Chris Christie bashed the national teacher's union, calling them the "single most destructive force" in education.

Christie on Trump: 'Anybody can do well for a month'

Gov. Chris Christie told Jake Tapper that it's "premature" to dismiss Donald Trump before the debates.

Chris Christie 'confident' he'll make debate stage

Gov. Chris Christie isn't worried that he won't make the Republican top ten qualifying for next week's debate.

Christie: Iran has been 'cheating for years'

Gov. Chris Christie called the search limits in the Iran deal "outrageous" and said Iran has been "cheating for years."

Christie: Impossible to forcibly deport 11 million

Gov. Chris Christie said Donald Trump's immigration proposals are impractical, pointing to the impossibility of deporting 11 million illegal immigrants.

Christie: Defund Planned Parenthood

Gov. Chris Christie called on Congress to defund Planned Parenthood after the release of "deplorable" sting tapes from an anti-abortion group.

Christie: Arm allies to defeat ISIS

Gov. Chris Christie said his plan to defeat ISIS would emphasize arming US allies in the Middle East, but said he wouldn't rule out boots on the ground.

Christie: Obama "caved in" on Cuba

Gov. Chris Christie said President Obama was wrong to ease sanctions on Cuba without requiring a show of goodwill first.

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Christie on if he believes he’ll be a part of the upcoming GOP debate: “…I will make it.  I feel pretty good.  Yes, I will be very happy on Tuesday when the 10 names come out and I'm in there, because I think it's important.  It's an important forum for me and for every one of us who is going to be on that stage, because, see, once you get on the stage, it's not going to matter whether you're number one, number five or number 10.  You're going to have your opportunity to make your pitch to the Republican primary voters across America.  That's what I intend to do.  And I'm confident I will be there on Thursday night.”

Christie on Donald Trump being a serious candidate: “…Listen, I think that Donald is going to be as serious a candidate as Donald wants to be.  And he's going to determine, through the depth of his answers and the seriousness of his answers, whether he's a serious candidate or he isn't.  That's what I mean by campaigns matter.  Anybody can do well for a month in this business, especially if you have talent and you have personality.  And Donald has both those things.  So, let's see how it goes over the course of time.”

Christie on shutting down the government to defund Planned Parenthood: “We should just defund Planned Parenthood.  We shouldn't be throwing around threats like that.  …we didn't do too well when we shut down the government the last time.  …we should be very firm as a party that this type of conduct by an organization, the harvesting and selling of fetal body parts, is just deplorable.”

Christie on his gun record: “I'm a law enforcement guy.  And so I always believe in making sure that public safety comes first.  But much of what I have seen over the last six years in the gun area has not been about public safety.  It's been about grandstanding by politicians.  And that's why I vetoed the .50-caliber rifle ban.  That's why I vetoed a reduction in the magazine capacity from 15 to 10.  That's why I vetoed a statewide I.D. card for gun owners.  Those things are not about doing anything with public safety.  I have always believed that public safety is paramount.  And we have got to make sure that we keep the guns out of the hands of criminals.  That's what I meant when I talked to Sean.  And that's what I mean today.  …I have changed a lot of my positions over time.  Here's the thing.  If you're a thinking, breathing human being, and life experience is something you take in, and you never change your mind, then you're stubborn.  I have learned from all my public service.  And the positions I have today are positions that come from a long time, nearly 20 years in public life.  And I think everybody should take that moment to be able to figure out where they stand after all their lives' experiences.”

Christie on racism and police brutality: “…there's a problem across the country with our citizens and our police force interacting with each other in a positive, constructive way.  And we have seen it manifest itself in those examples and others, Ferguson or a number of other places you could talk about that that's happened.  We need to engage in a different way. …There will always be some police officers that don't act appropriately and there will always be some be some citizens who don't act appropriately towards police officers.  But we have a bigger problem.  And I think that is re-teaching both the community and the police force on how to work together. …I think that there's still racism in our society.  …And every leader in our country should be speaking out against that and should be doing everything that we can to provide opportunity for everyone, regardless of your race or your ethnicity or your gender.  So, I think we still have work to do.  We are much better off as a country than we were 40 or 50 years ago.  But we still have a lot of work to do.”

Christie on his immigration plan: “There are not enough law enforcement officers, local - local, county, state, and federal combined, to forcibly deport 11 to 12 million people.  I mean, and this is like building a 2,000-mile wall across the border that Mexico is going to pay for.  It sounds really good.  You pound your chest, but then the question is, how?  How are you going to do it?  I think the way to do this is E-Verify.  If folks knew that they weren't going to get jobs, they would not come. …the folks that are here now, we're going to have to come to a solution on that that's going to involve using E-Verify as well.”

Christie on the Iran deal: “Let's talk the facts of the deal.  We shouldn't be getting the hyperbole.  We should talk about the facts. The fact that we have to wait 24 days to inspect a site if the Iranians object is outrageous.  Jake, as you know, as U.S. attorney, that would be like me getting a search warrant, coming to somebody's house who I think is committing a crime and saying, here, I have got a search warrant, I will be back in 24 days to search.”

Christie on who he would like to “punch in the face” on the national level: “…the national teachers union, who has already endorsed Hillary Clinton 16, 17 months before the election.  …they're not for education for our children.  They're for greater membership, greater benefits, greater pay for their members.  And they are the single most destructive force in public education in America.  I have been saying that since 2009.  I have got the scars to show it.  But I'm never going to stop saying it, because they never change their stripes.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST:  One poll suggests, if Trump were not in the race, Christie would be in the top three in New Hampshire.  But, as of today, we still don't know if Christie will make the cut for Thursday's debate.  I asked him about it on the campaign trail in Dubuque, Iowa.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER:  Thanks so much for joining us.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Happy to be here.

TAPPER:  Normally, I know, when reporters bring up polls, it's a horse race question, and politicians and media critics look down on it.  But it actually is important in terms of whether or not the 10 top Republican candidates get on the debate stage.  And I know you want to be on the debate stage.

CHRISTIE:  Yes.

TAPPER:  My understanding is that you're kind of on the bubble right now.  You might make it, you will probably make it, but you might not.  Are you worried?

CHRISTIE:  No, I will make it.  I feel pretty good.  Yes, I will be very happy on Tuesday when the 10 names come out and I'm in there, because I think it's important.  It's an important forum for me and for every one of us who is going to be on that stage, because, see, once you get on the stage, it's not going to matter whether you're number one, number five or number 10.  You're going to have your opportunity to make your pitch to the Republican primary voters across America.  That's what I intend to do.  And I'm confident I will be there on Thursday night.

TAPPER:  What do you make of the fact that the people who are leading in the polls, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, who you characterize as being vague, what they're doing seems to be working, and what you're doing, with your specifics, does not right now?

CHRISTIE:  Let's all take a deep breath.  You know, four years ago, Herman Cain was winning right now.  Eight years ago, Rudy Giuliani was winning right now.  So, I think we all need to take a deep breath.  Campaigns matter, Jake.  They matter.  What you do matters.  And it doesn't happen overnight.  These folks in Iowa and New Hampshire particularly are notorious late-deciders on what they're going to do.  So, they want to hear everybody, they want to see everybody.  They want to digest all this stuff, and then they will make decisions.  And I think, when that times comes, the fact that we have been this specific for this long is going to really make it a benefit to us.

TAPPER:  Leading nationally, leading in New Hampshire, doing well in Iowa is businessman, your friend Donald Trump.  Rand Paul was recently asked about the fact that Trump is ahead in polls.  And Rand Paul wrote, "I think this is a temporary sort of loss of sanity, but we're going to come back to our senses and look for somebody serious to lead the country at some point." Do you think Dr. Paul is diagnosing the problem correctly?  (LAUGHTER)

CHRISTIE:  No, I don't.  Listen, I think that Donald is going to be as serious a candidate as Donald wants to be.  And he's going to determine, through the depth of his answers and the seriousness of his answers, whether he's a serious candidate or he isn't.  That's what I mean by campaigns matter.  Anybody can do well for a month in this business, especially if you have talent and you have personality.  And Donald has both those things.  So, let's see how it goes over the course of time.  I think Dr. Paul's diagnosis is premature.  We will see what's going to happen.

TAPPER:  You had a conversation with a voter who was asking about your record on guns.  You said to him: "I'm still waiting for one fact from you, one fact about me being anti-gun.  Give me one, one fact.  You got one?" Back in 2009, when you were running for governor, Sean Hannity asked you for an area where you might be moderate to left.  This is obviously running for governor of New Jersey, not for the Republican primary in Iowa or New Hampshire.

CHRISTIE:  Right.

TAPPER:  And you said guns was an area where you would be moderate to left.

CHRISTIE:  I'm a law enforcement guy.  And so I always believe in making sure that public safety comes first.  But much of what I have seen over the last six years in the gun area has not been about public safety.  It's been about grandstanding by politicians.  And that's why I vetoed the .50-caliber rifle ban.  That's why I vetoed a reduction in the magazine capacity from 15 to 10.  That's why I vetoed a statewide I.D. card for gun owners.  Those things are not about doing anything with public safety.  I have always believed that public safety is paramount.  And we have got to make sure that we keep the guns out of the hands of criminals.  That's what I meant when I talked to Sean.  And that's what I mean today.

TAPPER:  But you did earlier in your career support the ban on what gun control advocates called assault weapons.

CHRISTIE:  Yes, when I was 31 years old.

TAPPER:  You don't agree with it anymore?

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE:  Listen, I think it's a lot more complicated than I thought it was at 31 years old.  And I have learned a lot in the last 21 years.  So, yes a long time ago - by the way, I have changed a lot of my positions over time.  Here's the thing.  If you're a thinking, breathing human being, and life experience is something you take in, and you never change your mind, then you're stubborn.  I have learned from all my public service.  And the positions I have today are positions that come from a long time, nearly 20 years in public life.  And I think everybody should take that moment to be able to figure out where they stand after all their lives' experiences.  So, the only thing somebody can point to is something 20 years ago, then that means I have been fairly accident for the last 19.

TAPPER:  There have been a lot of cases this year, and especially recently - in Cincinnati, we saw it recently, with that traffic pullover that ended up with a black man dead, killed by the police officer.  We saw the Sandra Bland incident in Texas.  Do we have a problem here?  Is there a problem nationally with police not treating African-Americans fairly?

CHRISTIE:  I think that there's a problem across the country with our citizens and our police force interacting with each other in a positive, constructive way.  And we have seen it manifest itself in those examples and others, Ferguson or a number of other places you could talk about that that's happened.  We need to engage in a different way.  And you see what we have done in Camden.  You know, in Camden, we brought in an entirely new police force and we trained them in a different way in community policing. They're on foot.  They're on bicycles.  They're doing town hall meetings with the citizens, where they go and they talk about these issues.  There will always be some police officers that don't act appropriately and there will always be some be some citizens who don't act appropriately towards police officers.  But we have a bigger problem.  And I think that is re-teaching both the community and the police force on how to work together.

TAPPER:  On Friday, a number of candidates went to the Urban League and gave speeches.  Hillary Clinton said - quote - "Race still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind." Do you agree?

CHRISTIE:  Listen, I think that there's still racism in our society.  All you have to do is look at Charleston and know that there's still racism in our society.  And every leader in our country should be speaking out against that and should be doing everything that we can to provide opportunity for everyone, regardless of your race or your ethnicity or your gender.  So, I think we still have work to do.  We are much better off as a country than we were 40 or 50 years ago.  But we still have a lot of work to do.  And there's still racism in our country.  And for that, leaders have to speak out and be strong.  And I think we have to continue to do that if we're going to be credible as a leader in, you know, America in the 21st century.

TAPPER:  With all these tapes, these sting tapes against Planned Parenthood, I know that you defunded Planned Parenthood as governor of New Jersey.  Ted Cruz says it - he's willing to force a government shutdown to defund Planned Parenthood.  Would you go that far?

CHRISTIE:  We should just defund Planned Parenthood.  We shouldn't be throwing around threats like that.  You know, it doesn't help.  And we didn't do too well when we shut down the government the last time.  So, I think everybody should take a deep breath, but we should be very firm as a party that this type of conduct by an organization, the harvesting and selling of fetal body parts, is just deplorable.

TAPPER:  Now, Planned Parenthood's response is that the tapes are misleading and that none of the federal funding goes to pay for abortion; it's all for cancer screening and reproductive rights and that sort of...

CHRISTIE:  No, all money is fungible, Jake.  And they can't say that none of the money goes towards abortion.  Of course it does.  Of course it does.  Money comes into Planned Parenthood, and it is fungible.  They can spend it on what they wish.

TAPPER:  In an interview this week with CNN's Dana Bash, Mr. Trump called for deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, and then letting what he called the good ones come back through an expedited process.  What should be done about the 11 million or so that are already here?

CHRISTIE:  Listen, first off, I have had seven years in law enforcement as the U.S. attorney.  There are not enough law enforcement officers, local - local, county, state, and federal combined, to forcibly deport 11 to 12 million people.  I mean, and this is like building a 2,000-mile wall across the border that Mexico is going to pay for.  It sounds really good.  You pound your chest, but then the question is, how?  How are you going to do it?  I think the way to do this is E-Verify.  If folks knew that they weren't going to get jobs, they would not come.

TAPPER:  Well, what would - what would you do with the 11 million who are here?

CHRISTIE:  Well, listen, the folks that are here now, we're going to have to come to a solution on that that's going to involve using E-Verify as well.

TAPPER:  Some sort of legal status, though?

CHRISTIE:  Well, I don't know.  We're going to have to see, Jake.  We're going to have to see.  But, first, we're going to have to convince the American people that we can actually control the border. And they have to come to the conclusion I have come to, that these folks are not going to self-deport, and that we don't have enough law enforcement officers to be able to forcibly deport 11 million people, and then we need to come to a commonsense solution on it.

TAPPER:  You will grant me that this is a specific you're not willing to offer, though, even though you're...

CHRISTIE:  Oh, not yet, but I will.

TAPPER:  You will?

CHRISTIE:  Yes.

TAPPER:  At what point?

CHRISTIE:  Campaign's not over yet.

TAPPER:  OK.  At some point...

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE:  It's the next thing I'm working on.

TAPPER:  Let me touch on foreign policy.  You have said that we have to be willing, if need be, to put boots on the ground to fight ISIS.  What's the threshold?  When would you do that?

CHRISTIE:  Well, you have to see what success our allies were having. My first alternative and preferred alternative is to arm the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Emiratis and the Saudis to bring this fight to those folks.

TAPPER:  Well, then why aren't they in it?

CHRISTIE:  Well, they need more help.  They need more help.  They need better arms.  They need more support from an intelligence perspective and they need to know that America's going to stand with them when the polls are up or down.

TAPPER:  Ted Cruz also said this week that, if the Iran deal is consummated, it will make the Obama administration - quote - "the world's leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism" because of the sanction relief, at least $100 billion that the Iranians would get.  Mitt Romney, who is an opponent of the Iran deal, as you are, said that this rhetoric was way over the line and didn't help the cause.  What do you think?

CHRISTIE:  Let's talk the facts of the deal.  We shouldn't be getting the hyperbole.  We should talk about the facts. The fact that we have to wait 24 days to inspect a site if the Iranians object is outrageous.  Jake, as you know, as U.S. attorney, that would be like me getting a search warrant, coming to somebody's house who I think is committing a crime and saying, here, I have got a search warrant, I will be back in 24 days to search.

TAPPER:  Well, if it was a radioactive crime - I mean, the idea - the inspectors say that they would be able to discern whether or not there was radioactive material there 24 days later.

CHRISTIE:  No, that's not any time anywhere, Jake.  The president promised any time anywhere.  And you cannot tell me that, in 24 days, the Iranians cannot move the elements of cheating from one area to another.  These are smart folks who've been cheating for years, by the way.  From my perspective, the president has put us in an awful mess in the Middle East, even worse than it was when he got there, which seems to be almost impossible.

TAPPER:  You say Cuba needs to change its behavior before the United States should extend to them any sort of olive branch.  The argument from the Obama administration is, that's what we have been doing for decades and decades, and it's not working.  It's the definition of insanity to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome.

CHRISTIE:  What he's doing is not going to work, to absolutely just cave in to the Cubans.  And you saw what Castro did after that.  After he's been given diplomatic relations, now he says he wants Guantanamo back and he wants reparations.  Does that show that they have any bit of gratitude for the fact that we extended them that, that they're changing their behavior in any way? The fact is, we're now going to send hundreds of millions of dollars down to Cuba in tourist activity and in other activities, in economic activity.  None of that is going to get to the people of Cuba.

TAPPER:  During your first term as governor, you were fond of saying that you can treat bullies in one of two ways - quote - "You can either sidle up to them or you can punch them in the face."  You said, "I like to punch them in the face." At the national level, who deserves a punch in the face?

CHRISTIE:  Oh, the national teachers union, who has already endorsed Hillary Clinton 16, 17 months before the election.

TAPPER:  Why?

CHRISTIE:  Because they're not for education for our children.  They're for greater membership, greater benefits, greater pay for their members.  And they are the single most destructive force in public education in America.  I have been saying that since 2009.  I have got the scars to show it.  But I'm never going to stop saying it, because they never change their stripes.

TAPPER:  This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the release of the amazing album "Born to Run."  I read something in the press that really upset me the other day, where you were quoted as saying - and maybe it was a misquote - but you were quoted as saying that, when it came to your favorite New Jersey musician, it was no longer the Boss, Mr. Bruce Springsteen.  It was Jon Bon Jovi.  If this is true, I have to warn you, I might form a PAC, a super PAC, and run ads against you.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER:  Would you clear this up?  And how can you justify such an egregious flip-flop?

(LAUGHTER)

CHRISTIE:  It's not an egregious flip-flop.  What she was asking was, what Laura Ingraham was asking both me and Mary Pat was, as a friend, who do you prefer, Springsteen or Bon Jovi?

TAPPER:  As a person?

CHRISTIE:  Yes, as a person.  And Jon and Dorothea Bon Jovi are friends of ours.

TAPPER:  Oh, they're lovely people, absolutely.

CHRISTIE:  And they're good friends of ours.  And that was the answer.  Bruce's music is still my favorite music.  Come on.  Are you kidding?

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER:  Thanks, Governor.

CHRISTIE:  Thanks.

TAPPER:  Appreciate it.

CHRISTIE:  Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER:  And our thanks to Governor Christie.

 END INTERVIEW

 


Topics: CNN • Jake Tapper • State of the Union
tmpl
soundoff (No Responses)

Comments are closed.