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Christie vs. Colorado

Sunday, April 27, 2014

WNYC
Sean Azzariti, a veteran of the Iraq war, prepares to make the first legal recreational marijuana purchase in Colorado from advocate Betty Aldworth at the 3-D Denver Discrete Dispensary on January 1. (Theo Stroomer/Getty)

Chris Christie has picked yet another fight. This time, with the state of Colorado. The response from the Rockies was initially mild. Then it got ugly.

In recent weeks Christie has fielded an inordinate number of questions about the legalization of marijuana. He is, as always, unequivocal in his opposition, but he has recently stepped that up -- calling marijuana a "gateway drug" and painting Colorado, which legalized it in January, as a drug-addled hellscape.

"See if you want to live in a major city in Colorado where there's head shops popping up on every corner and people flying into your airport just to come and get high," Christie said last week on his monthly call-in radio show on 101.5 FM. "To me, it's just not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey and there's no tax revenue that's worth that."

At first,  the Republican governor's comments yielded a gentle reply from Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat: "I’m not surprised that we have a certain amount of jealousy from other governors. We accept that as part of the payment for success." 

His office also passed on an interview request from WNYC. But the local media is taking up the fight. Hickenlooper sent some stats comparing Colorado to New Jersey to a popular alternative newspaper in Denver, The Westword, which took those numbers and posted them along with images making fun of Christie. The resulting story -- "Top 8 Ways Colorado Kicks the **** Out of New Jersey" -- included images with added vulgar text, perhaps one of the rudest portrayals of him during his governorship.

And that's saying something. This is a guy who regularly gets the New York City tabloid treatment. When he went to visit the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, the headline over the New York Post's photo said: "Whale At the Wall."

Christie is known for public spats with a diverse group of famous people, from Sen. Rand Paul to Snooki to Warren Buffett. But Democratic governors across America -- Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois, California -- have been his favorite targets.

For his part, Hickenlooper invited Christie to visit Colorado. But he already has. In 2011, he was secretly recorded at a Koch Brothers confab in Vail, Col., calling for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. 

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