Preview: Chris Christie Takes New Jersey's Questions

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show,  Steve Adubato previewed his call-in special Thursday with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie that airs on WNYC AM 820 at 8pm. Tune in at 7pm for a preview conversation with Brian Lehrer about New Jersey politics.

Christie for president?

Time and again, Governor Chris Christie has said he is not running for president in 2012, but that doesn't stop people from asking him about it. Many in the Republican party also think he could be a lock for their 2016 nomination if he is indeed skipping the upcoming contest. Steve Adubato said it doesn't sound sexy, but it's probably smart for the governor to hold off. Leaving New Jersey's budget and pension problems unresolved could bury him in a national election.

The system is about to go bankrupt. If the governor doesn't get a compromise with Democrats in the legislature, and the system goes bust, you can forget about running for president. And to his credit, he's trying to get it done.

'I hope people ask the governor...'

Adubato said that he expected New Jersey residents to ask Christie how he plans to create a business-friendly climate in the state. That means addressing New Jersey's exorbitant taxes, which would have its own costs to the budget and other initiatives. What would suffer?

I hope people ask the governor, how are you going to do that without giving away the store? How are you going to do that without doing away with environmental regulations?

Adubato also said that he expected talk of taxes and burdens on average people to be tinted by another recent "scandal" involving Christie's preferred mode of transportation.

I also know people are going to ask about helicopters. It's not really the helicopter by itself, it's what it represents to people, and the governor is going to have to deal very directly with people saying, 'Let me get this straight: if I've got to go to my kid's practice and I can't take a helicopter and I gotta sit in traffic, or I may not be able to go, why should you be able to go?' He's going to have to deal directly with the question of how life is different for a chief executive.

Governing means never having to say you're sorry

Governor Christie is popular, but his methods are polarizing. He's been called a bully; indeed, his administration has a habit of posting videos of the governor laying into detractors on YouTube. Adubato said that with all the problems facing Jersey, the governor could expect questions about whether his management style is effective—and whether it would be at higher levels of government.

I'm going to ask him about regrets. I'm going to ask him about apologizing, whether calling individual legislators who disagree with him a jerk. I'm curious to ask the governor how you negotiate with someone when you call them a jerk.

But that's Chris Christie. Chris Christie actually doesn't care in many ways if he gets you angry. The problem becomes, unless you control the governorship and both houses of the heck do you negotiate getting things done for the state when you get in people's faces?

You have your own question for Governor Christie? Add it below.


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Comments [14]

John Weber from NJ

Governor, your DEP proposed changes in the rules regarding public access to waterways and frankly I don't think they expected the public outcry AGAINST their proposal which was evident at the public hearings and the newspaper editorial pages. Clearly they touched a nerve. We all understand what you were trying to do by giving more control back to municipalities, but are you willing to say that your DEP overreached, and they should either withdraw or make significant changes to the public access rule proposal?"

Jun. 16 2011 09:52 AM

what's up Brian? You let Adubato just editorialize NJ and C.Christie? Why did you allow for Adubato to make the comment about Christie and pensions/health benes? Why does S. Adubato get to just pontificate and articulate his views? He's supposed to be a reporter. I'm disappointed in you BRIAN and in WNYC. This is pathetic!

Jun. 15 2011 04:40 PM

I remember growing up after my father died and my mother went back to teaching -- we lived on very little.

While I was still in HS, her district was unionized. My dear mum was a dyed in the wool Republican and disliked/feared unions. However, she decided to vote for one in order to make teaching more attractive to men. Since men were considered the breadwinners (what was she, chopped liver?), real living wages were necessary to make the profession one men could consider.

So, yes, Gov. Chris "We dasn't raise taxes on the Uberwealthy!" Christie sure looks like he's going after teachers to this former teacher and child of a teacher.

And he acts like a bully. Someone needs to make him sit in his room for a timeout.

Jun. 15 2011 11:48 AM

'NYC why did you censor my comment? I said Christie and Abudato - perfect together. 'Cause they both stink!

I think Christie is jerk and I think the Abudato family are the biggest pigs at the trough. Is that not permissible at this site? Why? Is it because the Abudato's have already taken over?

Jun. 15 2011 11:46 AM
Jean from NYC

Mr. Adubato's words suggests that he does not view Christie with enough critical distance.

Jun. 15 2011 11:46 AM
benjoya from brooklyn

a question for all political leaders, actually: is long-term debt

a) more important than short-term unemployment

b) less important than short-term unemployment

and please don't say "they're the same thing"

also, with online shopping booming and malls closing down all over the country, why would governor christie put so much additional taxpayer money into the failed xanadu mall?

Jun. 15 2011 11:44 AM
Barbara Lifton from NYC

Gov Christie's self-indulgence at the expense of the people of New Jersey extends to thing other than helicoptors: if he amount of food he eats by one half each day, he would not only improve his health, but save the people of the state thousands of dollars.

Jun. 15 2011 11:42 AM

Comments have been edited to keep in line with the commenting guidelines. Please remember to keep comments civil.

Jun. 15 2011 11:42 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

I would like to ask Gov. Chris "We dasn't raise taxes on the Uberwealthy!" Christie why he has agreed to bisect the state concerning NJ Public Television. What I noticed when I moved out here over 20 years ago was a lack of coherence as a state. NJN, to me, seemed to help pull the North and South together.

I'm saddened to see Christie view that a seemingly good thing. I will miss news about areas that I don't know about within the state.

And, of course, crazy that he is so solicitous of the Uberwealthy and so cavalier about the rest of us. Are we supposed to just hurry up and move out of state????

(Hint for coverage: A map showing county name when discussing something happening. I wasn't schooled to memorize all the counties; just a little map in the corner, giving geographic context.)

Jun. 15 2011 11:40 AM

How can the governor justify raising the cost of health benefits for NJ State University employees from 1.5% to 14%? I'm not just talking about professors but about ALL university employees. This will result in a 5% to 6% cut in pay for all university employees

Jun. 15 2011 11:40 AM

This is crazy. Adubato is nothing but a shill for Christie. He was just handed a tv station. Please.

Jun. 15 2011 11:40 AM

ask why malls are better for NJ than a commuter tunnel to NYC would be

Jun. 15 2011 11:37 AM
Joel Kellner from Jersey City NJ

What, specifically, is the status of the 6 P.M. Nightly News once WNET takes over?

Jun. 15 2011 11:37 AM

Having Abudato, Jr. interview Christie is like have Greta Susteren interview Sarah Palin. Take a look at this from

"Dudley Burdge, spokesman for the Communications Workers of America, said it was "delusional" to expect to have the same quality broadcast with a fraction of the workforce. In his critical remarks, Burdge also charged the WNET-Adubato partnership was "an inside deal."

"Last September Steve Adubato Jr. confidently told several of our NJN members that he and WNET would be taking over NJN," Burdge said. "Through a process a with marked lack of transparency, that’s exactly what happened."

And then there's this also from

"WNET will create a new nonprofit corporation called New Jersey Public Media, which will partner with Caucus Educational Corp., a public broadcasting outfit run by Steve Adubato Jr., son of Newark power broker and Christie ally Steve Adubato Sr. Christie asserts that controls are set in the five-year deal to ensure that New Jersey-specific content, including New Jersey-based nightly news, be broadcast."

Christie and Abudato - perfect together.

Jun. 15 2011 11:23 AM

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