September 20th, 2015
10:54 AM ET

Gov Christie on the Pope & Cuba: "I just think the pope was wrong - so the fact is that his infallibility is on religious matters, not on political ones."

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, 2016 GOP Presidential hopeful, Governor Chris Christie (R-NY), 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 HIGHLIGHTS

Gov. Chris Christie on State of the Union: Full interview

Gov. Chris Christie: 'The Pope is wrong'

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ), 2016 GOP Presidential hopeful, disagrees with the Pope on diplomatic relations with Cuba: “I just think the pope was wrong.  And so the fact is that his infallibility is on religious matters, not on political ones.  And the fact is that, for me, I just believe that, when you have a government that is harboring fugitives, murdering fugitives, like Joanne Chesimard, who murdered a state policeman in New Jersey in cold blood, was broken out of prison, and has been harbored for the last 40-plus years by a Cuban government that has paid her and held up her as a hero, that this president could extend diplomatic relations with that country without getting her returned so she can serve the prison sentence that she was sentenced to by a jury of her peers in New Jersey, is outrageous.  And so I just happen to disagree with the pope on this one.”

Gov. Christie clarifies why he called out Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina during the GOP debate: “What I took issue with is that these folks, Donald and Carly in that interchange - and there were a lot of others that night - they are spending all their time talking about themselves and none of the time talking about the people who really matter.  If you're a middle-class American sitting on a couch watching that debate and hearing billionaire Donald Trump and multimillionaire Carly Fiorina argue about who made more money or who lost less money, you know, that doesn't do anything for their lives.  And what I wanted to do was bring the debate back to what it should be back to, which is, how are we going to help create opportunity and jobs for those folks and their children?  How are we going to help them pay off their student debt?  How are we going to try to make their lives better?

That was my point.  It wasn't about a critique of their answer.  It was their attitude.  Their attitude was, look at me.  Look at me.  It's all about me.  It should be about the people out in the audience and about their problems and their concerns.  And that's what the American people really want to hear from us on.  How are we going to help them fix their problems?”

Gov. Christie explains why he would be a better President than Carly Fiorina: “…look at what I have been able to do over the course of six years now, nearly, I have been governor of New Jersey, and what we have - what we have done is stood up for the people in New Jersey who needed to be stood up for. You know, taxes had been increased monumentally in the time before I became governor.  We have now vetoed more tax increases than any governor in American history, according to Americans for Tax Reform.  We have done the work that needs to be done to create jobs in New Jersey, to be able to give people opportunity, and make them understand the law is going to be enforced and things are going to be better in our state and across our country if we do that.  And so, you know, I just think that what I have done and the vision I have laid out, which is much more specific than anybody else in this race on entitlement reform and education reform, are the things that people are going to want to hear over the course of time.”

Gov. Christie discusses his stance on shutting down the government over Planned Parenthood funding: “I said you shouldn't be throwing around threats.  You should be taking action.  And that's what I have done as governor of New Jersey, to defund Planned Parenthood six years ago, and not worrying about what the pundits and the critics were going to say, but actually acting. And what I have said is that my disappointment with this Republican Congress is, they haven't put tax reform on the president's desk.  They haven't put a repeal and replacement of Obamacare on the president's desk.  And now they're not doing anything on Planned Parenthood. If the president wants to veto these things, I understand the way the system works.  But let's let the American people see who the obstructionist is in Washington, D.C.”

Gov. Christie responds to the Care Bear Central endorsing his choice of “True Heart” and calling him “huggable”: “Jake, if you agree I'm huggable, and the American people agree I'm huggable, then I'm going to be the 45th president of the United States.  I don't think there's any doubt about that.”

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: Now, Governor Christie may have been stage left, but he has - also found himself in the center of the debate throughout that night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  While I'm as entertained as anyone by this personal back-and-forth about the history of Donald and Carly's career, for the 55-year-old construction worker out in that audience tonight who doesn't have a job, who can't fund his child's education, I have got to tell you the truth.  They could care less about your careers.  They care about theirs.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CHRISTIE:  Let's start talking about that on this stage, and stop playing - and stop playing the games.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  Joining me now from New York City, Governor Chris Christie.  Governor, thanks so much for joining us.

Three people seemed to get the most positive reviews from pundits coming out of the debate, yourself, Senator Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina.  But you - to put it nicely, you didn't seem too impressed by Ms. Fiorina.  Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE:  Carly, Carly, listen, you can interrupt everybody else on this stage.  You're not going to interrupt me, OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  You also made a point of interjecting when Fiorina and Trump were going at each other about who had the worst record as a CEO.  She's now in second place.  Why do you think you're a better candidate than her?

CHRISTIE:  Oh, listen, Jake, you look at what I have been able to do over the course of six years now, nearly, I have been governor of New Jersey, and what we have - what we have done is stood up for the people in New Jersey who needed to be stood up for. You know, taxes had been increased monumentally in the time before I became governor.  We have now vetoed more tax increases than any governor in American history, according to Americans for Tax Reform.  We have done the work that needs to be done to create jobs in New Jersey, to be able to give people opportunity, and make them understand the law is going to be enforced and things are going to be better in our state and across our country if we do that.  And so, you know, I just think that what I have done and the vision I have laid out, which is much more specific than anybody else in this race on entitlement reform and education reform, are the things that people are going to want to hear over the course of time.

TAPPER:  The question I asked Carly Fiorina that prompted that whole exchange was, why should voters seeking somebody with private sector experience who want the creation of American jobs, why should they like you over Donald Trump?  You seemed to take issue with her answer.

CHRISTIE:  What I took issue with is that these folks, Donald and Carly in that interchange - and there were a lot of others that night - they are spending all their time talking about themselves and none of the time talking about the people who really matter.  If you're a middle-class American sitting on a couch watching that debate and hearing billionaire Donald Trump and multimillionaire Carly Fiorina argue about who made more money or who lost less money, you know, that doesn't do anything for their lives.  And what I wanted to do was bring the debate back to what it should be back to, which is, how are we going to help create opportunity and jobs for those folks and their children?  How are we going to help them pay off their student debt?  How are we going to try to make their lives better?

That was my point.  It wasn't about a critique of their answer.  It was their attitude.  Their attitude was, look at me.  Look at me.  It's all about me.  It should be about the people out in the audience and about their problems and their concerns.  And that's what the American people really want to hear from us on.  How are we going to help them fix their problems?

TAPPER:  Capitol Hill facing a big moment of truth coming up, the big question about whether or not Republicans in Congress should force the issue of whether or not to defund Planned Parenthood, to the extent that there would be a government shutdown.  It sounds like you kind of switched your views on whether or not Republicans should make that case.  Take a listen to what you said in Wednesday's debate, and compare it to what you said when I asked you about it last month.  Let's play that tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE:  We should be doing these things and forcing the president to take action.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT:  So you would support a shutdown.

CHRISTIE:  Let's force him to do what he says he's going to do.  We shouldn't be throwing around threats like that.  It doesn't help.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  Have you changed heart on this?  Do you feel more strongly than you did last month that - that Republicans should force the issue when it comes to Planned Parenthood defunding?

CHRISTIE:  No, I don't think there's any difference in those two things at all, Jake. I said you shouldn't be throwing around threats.  You should be taking action.  And that's what I have done as governor of New Jersey, to defund Planned Parenthood six years ago, and not worrying about what the pundits and the critics were going to say, but actually acting.

And what I have said is that my disappointment with this Republican Congress is, they haven't put tax reform on the president's desk.  They haven't put a repeal and replacement of Obamacare on the president's desk.  And now they're not doing anything on Planned Parenthood. If the president wants to veto these things, I understand the way the system works.  But let's let the American people see who the obstructionist is in Washington, D.C.  And that's my frustration with the Republican Congress.  We gave them majorities in 2010 in the House and then in 2014 in the Senate, and they have done nothing with them.  They need to do some things.  Now, if the president is going to veto them, that's the president's choice.  But at least then the American people will know who the obstructionist is.  We look like we're obstructionists now, as Republicans, by getting nothing done and making excuses.

TAPPER:  Right.  But...

CHRISTIE:  And now the latest excuse is, well, we need 60 in the Senate.  I mean, come on.  You have got 54 Republican senators.  Let's get something done.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER:  But, sir, you said in August - quote - "You know, we didn't do too well when we shut down the government the last time, so everyone should take a deep breath."

CHRISTIE:  Of course.  Jake, I absolutely agree that we didn't do well when we shut down the government before, and I stand by what I said.  That's not - you should put a defunding of Planned Parenthood on his desk.  If he's going to veto it, let the American people see that he stands with the folks who believe that the systematic murder of children in the womb, in a way that preserves the body parts to be sold on the open market for profit, is something that he stands for.  That's an important differentiation between our party and the president's party, if that's the position he wants to take.  So, let's take action, put them on his desk.  If he wants to veto them - I know the way the system works - let him veto them.  And then we go from there.

TAPPER:  The pope will soon be in the United States for his first ever visit. Right now, the pope is in Cuba.  He helped broker this new step in diplomatic relations between the United States and the leadership, the communist leadership of that country.  Do you think the pope made a mistake?

CHRISTIE:  I just think the pope was wrong.  And so the fact is that his infallibility is on religious matters, not on political ones.  And the fact is that, for me, I just believe that, when you have a government that is harboring fugitives, murdering fugitives, like Joanne Chesimard, who murdered a state policeman in New Jersey in cold blood, was broken out of prison, and has been harbored for the last 40-plus years by a Cuban government that has paid her and held up her as a hero, that this president could extend diplomatic relations with that country without getting her returned so she can serve the prison sentence that she was sentenced to by a jury of her peers in New Jersey, is outrageous.  And so I just happen to disagree with the pope on this one.

TAPPER:  Donald Trump has come under fire for comments he made at the debate falsely linking vaccines to autism.  As you know, the medical community is horrified that he keeps repeating this falsehood.  They call it dangerous.  Do you think Donald Trump should stop saying this?

CHRISTIE:  Listen, I'm not going to get anywhere in this race telling Donald Trump what to say and what not to say.  I can only say what Mary Pat and I do in our family.  Our children are all vaccinated.

TAPPER:  At the debate, I asked all the candidates what they would like their Secret Service code name to be.  You answered True Heart.  Folks on the Internet noted that True Heart is also the name of a Care Bear.  Care Bear Central told TMZ that you and True Heart have a lot of common.  They're both - quote - "kind, affectionate, attentive, and obviously very huggable." I don't know if you have any response to that, but we found that an interesting note.

(LAUGHTER)

CHRISTIE:  Jake, if you agree I'm huggable, and the American people agree I'm huggable, then I'm going to be the 45th president of the United States.  I don't think there's any doubt about that.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER:  All right, Governor Christie, thanks so much.  We want to invite you back, obviously, to talk more about foreign policy, Iran, Syria, and all the other issues we have on our plate.  Thank you for joining us.

CHRISTIE:  Look forward to coming back, Jake.  Thanks for having me this morning.

###END INTERVIEW###

 


Topics: CNN • Jake Tapper • State of the Union
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