January 24th, 2016
01:39 PM ET

Christie: “that shows a real immaturity from Senator Rubio to be joking as families were freezing in the cold…some of them losing their loved ones”

SOTU

Today on CNN’s State of the UnionGovernor Chris Christie (R-NJ), GOP presidential candidate, joined anchor, Jake Tapper to discuss the blizzard that hit much of the East Coast, and 2016 presidential politics.

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”

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Zachary Lilly – Zachary.Lilly@turner.com

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Christie praises New Jersey’s response to the 2016 Blizzard: “I mean, this has been a model response.  And, as I said yesterday, this is my 17th snow emergency in six years.  We know how to do this.  And it went very well yesterday… I want to commend the people of New Jersey.  They played smart.  They played safe yesterday.  We were lucky that it was a Saturday, I think.  And they did a great job.  And so all of us worked together yesterday to make sure that New Jersey was kept safe.”

Christie on his low approval rating in New Jersey: “Well, Jake, listen, that approval rating has gone down once I started to run for president.  And it should be no shock. You know, the fact is that, when you start looking for another job, your current employer gets a little miffed.  And that's what has gone on here in New Jersey.  But I think they saw yesterday what strong, effective leadership can do for a state in the midst of a crisis. And that's what we have provided for the last six years.  So, my approval ratings have been anywhere from where you're saying right now to a high of 75 percent and every place in between.  I don't govern for approval ratings.  I govern for results. And what you see in New Jersey today are results…when the chips are down, I deliver.”

Christie on a potential Bloomberg 3rd Party run: “Well, listen, Mayor Bloomberg will have to decide for himself whether to run.  And no one can be evaluated about whether they would be a good president or not until they actually get into the race and go through the relentless nature of a presidential campaign.  That tells you a lot about what kind of a president a person would be. So, if Mayor Bloomberg were ever to get into the race, we all, and myself included, could then make an evaluation of him as a potential president.  But when you're not a candidate, you don't deserve to be evaluated as to whether you're going to be a good president or not… yes, he was a good mayor.  Sure.”

Christie responds to Rubio’s comments about the 2016 Blizzard: “Well, that's a difference between a United States senator who has never been responsible for anything and a governor who is responsible for everything that goes on in your state. Fourteen people died across the country.  And that shows a real immaturity from Senator Rubio to be joking as families were freezing in the cold, losing power, and some of them losing their loved ones.  But I don't expect that Senator Rubio would be able to understand that, because he's never had to make a decision of any consequence at all that he's had to be held accountable for.”

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: Let's get more on this from New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie.

Governor Christie, thanks for joining us.

Let's talk about the storm.  The mayor of North Wildwood, New Jersey, says the flooding there is worse than during Sandy.  Hundreds of people had to be evacuated.  Were officials in New Jersey caught off-guard?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Oh, no.

Listen, folks that were evacuated were evacuated.  And we planned to do that if the tide came in.  Let's keep this in perspective, Jake.  North Wildwood and the Cape May County area was the least flooded area during Hurricane Sandy and had almost no damage in that area of the state.

And so to compare it to Hurricane Sandy, you're not comparing it to what happened to the rest of the state.  And, also, from looking at what is going on in Margate, high tide is now over in Margate.  And the water will now recede.  And we have no concerns for flooding the rest of the day today.

And what we're hearing from the mayors is that there is no significant type of property damage there at all.  And so we have really done very well in this storm, and we have no concerns about flooding or damage from flooding any time soon.

TAPPER:  You worked with Governor Andrew Cuomo on closing the bridges and tunnels in and out of New York City.  They reopened this morning at 7:00 in the morning.  Governor Cuomo went the additional step of instituting a travel ban for New York City.  That has been lifted.

Do travel bans work in situations like this?

CHRISTIE:  Well, listen, it very much depends upon the area you're talking about.

For New Jersey, Jake, as you know, we didn't really need to have a travel ban, because we had been having a voluntary ban the entire day.  And people - I had been traveling the roads all day.  If I had seen a lot of people on the roads, I might have instituted a travel ban.

I can tell you that I was on the parkway, on the turnpike, and all day, the only - the only vehicles I saw were plows, emergency vehicles, and mine.  And so we didn't need to do it.

You know, Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo made the decisions they made.  And I worked cooperatively with Governor Cuomo to close those bridges and tunnels, in respect for their mandatory travel ban, and because I didn't want anybody traveling in New Jersey anyway.  And so closing those bridges and tunnels were really of no moment for New Jersey.

TAPPER:  At one point, there were 100,000 people in New Jersey without power.  What is the latest on that?  And how long will it take to get the whole state back online?

CHRISTIE:  We're down to 22,000 without power this morning, Jake, as of 8:00 a.m., were the latest numbers I had; 18,000 of those are in Atlantic and Cape May County.

And so what you will see is, by end of day today, 90 percent of those 18,000 will be restored.  There's about 4,000 in the central part of our state.  And those folks will have their power back by this afternoon.  Hopefully, all of them will be - get their power back in time to watch the football this afternoon.

TAPPER:  Fourteen people have died in storm-related incidents from North Carolina up the East Coast.  How are the people of New Jersey doing today?

CHRISTIE:  We have no reported deaths here in New Jersey, thank goodness, Jake.

Our folks worked incredibly hard to keep people safe.  We only had to shelter 113 people in public shelters last night.  And those were in Cape May, Atlantic, and Cumberland counties.  And so our folks listened to our warnings.  They stayed in.  We were prepared.  We had 3,800 pieces of equipment on the roadways.

All of New Jersey's roadways are open this morning.  New Jersey transit, buses, and light rail will be ready by noon today.  And by later this afternoon, all of New Jersey transit will be back up and running, so that when we get to our morning rush tomorrow morning, we will be ready to go with no problem at all.

I mean, this has been a model response.  And, as I said yesterday, this is my 17th snow emergency in six years.  We know how to do this.  And it went very well yesterday.

TAPPER:  What do people in your state need to know about Sunday and then returning to work and school maybe Monday?

CHRISTIE:  Well, on Sunday, Jake, what people should do is, again, it's very cold out here.  People are going to want to start to go outside and start shoveling, clearing their walks and their driveways.  This is very heavy snow.  So, I ask them to please be careful as they are starting to clean up their own property today or their businesses.

Second, we're keeping lower speed limits on the turnpike and the parkway because there is still some icing.  We're going through and salting and continuing to salt.  By midday today, we should be back to regular speed limits.  But please drive with caution, and especially on the secondary streets that can be a bit slippery.

And, third, I want to commend the people of New Jersey.  They played smart.  They played safe yesterday.  We were lucky that it was a Saturday, I think.  And they did a great job.  And so all of us worked together yesterday to make sure that New Jersey was kept safe.

And let's face it, Jake.  We had a lot more snow up here north, where I live, than we thought we would, 24 to 30 inches.  Newark Airport had 31 inches of snow.  And so this is a lot of snow to move.  And our folks at DOT, Department of Transportation, did an extraordinary job, as did the people in the state.

TAPPER:  In the few minutes I have left, Governor, with your permission, I would like to turn to a few political matters, given that the Iowa caucus is just a week and a day away.

I recognize that the storm is the most important thing for you right now, but if I could turn to that.

CHRISTIE:  Sure.

TAPPER:  Your approval rating right now among New Jerseyans is at all-time low.  Only 31 percent of New Jerseyans support you.

Why should Americans elect you, when the people in your state do not think that you're doing a particularly good job?

CHRISTIE:  Well, Jake, listen, that approval rating has gone down once I started to run for president.  And it should be no shock.

You know, the fact is that, when you start looking for another job, your current employer gets a little miffed.  And that's what has gone on here in New Jersey.  But I think they saw yesterday what strong, effective leadership can do for a state in the midst of a crisis.

And that's what we have provided for the last six years.  So, my approval ratings have been anywhere from where you're saying right now to a high of 75 percent and every place in between.  I don't govern for approval ratings.  I govern for results.

And what you see in New Jersey today are results.  And that's why the people of the United States should strongly consider supporting me for president of the United States, because, when the chips are down, I deliver.

TAPPER:  With all due respect, sir, Governor Kasich has been spending a lot of time in New Hampshire and on the campaign trail as well.  His approval rating among Ohioans is 62 percent.

CHRISTIE:  Well, he's governed a lot less time than I have, Jake.  And so, when you're here a lot longer, that's the result of it.

But the fact of the matter is, I'll tell you this.  When I'm the Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton will have to compete in New Jersey to win the state in the general election, because I will do quite well here.

TAPPER:  Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is reportedly alarmed at the prospect of a potential presidential race between Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side and either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz on the Republican side.

Now, I know that you're convinced that you will be the nominee, but given the reality of where the poll numbers are right now, Bloomberg is considering running for president as an independent.

You worked with Bloomberg when he was mayor of New York City.  I know that you're going to support the Republican nominee.  But, based on your experience, do you think Michael Bloomberg would be a good president?

CHRISTIE:  Well, listen, Mayor Bloomberg will have to decide for himself whether to run.  And no one can be evaluated about whether they would be a good president or not until they actually get into the race and go through the relentless nature of a presidential campaign.  That tells you a lot about what kind of a president a person would be.

So, if Mayor Bloomberg were ever to get into the race, we all, and myself included, could then make an evaluation of him as a potential president.  But when you're not a candidate, you don't deserve to be evaluated as to whether you're going to be a good president or not.

TAPPER:  Was he a good mayor?

CHRISTIE:  Oh, yes, he was a good mayor.  Sure.

TAPPER:  Up in New Hampshire, Marco Rubio, with whom you have been exchanging a lot of words, said that - I guess he was joking - that the storm would at least freeze the federal agencies from creating regulations.  It would freeze Obama's veto pen.

As somebody who is having a hands-on experience with the storm, I wondered what you thought of that.

CHRISTIE:  Well, that's a difference between a United States senator who has never been responsible for anything and a governor who is responsible for everything that goes on in your state.

Fourteen people died across the country.  And that shows a real immaturity from Senator Rubio to be joking as families were freezing in the cold, losing power, and some of them losing their loved ones.  But I don't expect that Senator Rubio would be able to understand that, because he's never had to make a decision of any consequence at all that he's had to be held accountable for.

Voting yes or no in the United States Senate every day, sitting where they tell you to sit, coming when they tell you to come, leaving when they tell you to leave, it sounds like school to me, and not like the kind of job that the presidency is.

So, unfortunately, I'm not surprised that Senator Rubio made those kind of ill-advised comments.  That shows his level of preparedness for the presidency, I suspect.

TAPPER:  There's a new term that appears to have entered the political lexicon, being "Christied."  It was coined by Matt David, the person running the super PAC for John Kasich.

Kasich came under attack from Jeb Bush this week.  Matt David tweeted that they were going to push back with ads against Jeb Bush.  And they said, "We're" -  Matt David said, "We're not going to be Christied," the idea being that you were rising in New Hampshire until Rubio's super PACs came in and carpet-bombed you with negative TV ads, and then, in some polls, your numbers went down.

How do you feel about this term?

CHRISTIE:  Well, listen, I don't expect anything different from Governor Kasich's campaign.

All these folks have been relentlessly negative.  We have not.  And we're not going to engage in that.  We're not going to win the presidency and defeat Hillary Clinton by beating each other up.  So, Governor Kasich has been negative.  Senator Rubio has been relentlessly negative.  Governor Bush has been negative.  Senator Cruz has been negative.  Mr. Trump has been negative.

We're simply not going to engage in that game.  We have remained focused, whether it's in the debates or in our campaign, of putting our vision forward and moving ahead.  So, just because the Kasich campaign made up a new word, I congratulate them that they're expanding their vocabulary.  That's good for America's education, I guess.

TAPPER:  So, you're not going to go negative against anyone?

CHRISTIE:  Well, listen, Jake, we will punch back if we feel like we need to, but we're certainly not going initiate that kind of thing.

And you haven't seen us do that at all.  We haven't initiated any negative campaigns against anyone.  Now, if people continue to go after us, will we punch back?  We will certainly consider that.  But, right now, I don't think we need to, given what I'm feeling is going on in New Hampshire.  I think we're doing just fine.

TAPPER:  Governor Christie, thank you so much for being with us today.  Good luck to you and the people of New Jersey dealing with this storm.  We will see you on the campaign trail.

CHRISTIE:  Well, Jake, thank you very much for the time.

And the people of New Jersey are grateful that we have gotten through another crisis, and we will be ready to move forward with our workweek tomorrow.

TAPPER:  All right.  Thank you, sir.

 

###END INTERVIEW###

tmpl
soundoff (No Responses)

Comments are closed.