Christie not planning to return to NJ for storm

GOP 2016 Christie
Gov. Christie, campaigning in New Hampshire, said Atlantic City must “deal with all the mistakes that their elected officials have made.” Mayor Don Guardian said the city cooperated with state monitors.

CHESTER, N.H. -- With a storm threatening to slam New Jersey this weekend, Gov. Christie said Thursday he isn’t planning on leaving the campaign trail.

“I don’t plan to,” Christie said during a stop at the Olde Post Restaurant here. "But if circumstances warrant, you always do that.” He said "at this point, it's too speculative to know."

“We’ve gone through this rodeo a bunch of times before. We know how to do it,” said Christie, who is scheduled to be in New Hampshire through Monday. He said the state was "preparing for the worst," and that he “gave everybody their assignments” during a call Wednesday night.

As for the financial storm surrounding Atlantic City, Christie criticized Mayor Don Guardian, who had blasted Christie for vetoing a package of Atlantic City rescue bills.

“The mayor of Atlantic City should just do his job, OK? I’ve given him plenty of time to do his job,” Christie said. “He just has not had the guts to do his job, nor has the council.”

Christie said the Legislature has “some decisions to make” on Atlantic City. Senate President Stephen Sweeney “has a plan,” Christie said, but Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto “seems to be still shopping.”

Guardian said Wednesday that Atlantic City is considering filing for bankruptcy.

Christie said that “unless there are significant financial controls put in place, Atlantic City’s going to have to deal with all the mistakes that their elected officials have made over time.

“I’m not going to permit the people of New Jersey to pay for their excess any longer.”

Guaridan said the governor's comments about Atlantic City were based on inaccurate information. The city has cooperated with all state monitors, and made payroll and budget cuts according to their recommendations, the mayor said.

The city sent weekly reports of progress for the last year to Christie's chief of staff, Regina Egea, that detailed 300 jobs cuts and budget cuts, he said. If Christie did not get that information, Guardian said, he should fire his chief of staff.

"She knows 300 families are no longer working for the city, and that we cut $25 million from the budget," Guardian said, in an interview on local radio Thursday. "So if they don't have this information, then you need another chief of staff."

Christie also slammed state lawmakers while talking about a bill he vetoed that would prohibit people convicted of carjacking, gang criminality and terroristic threats from buying or owning guns, saying federal law already barred felons from owning firearms.

“That was another stupid bill,” Christie said, accusing lawmakers of passing a slew of bills at the end of the session in an effort “to throw the high hard one by me. They think I’m running for president and I won’t have time to read all this stuff. … I read all of it.”

State law already bans people convicted of certain crimes, like homicide and aggravated assault, from buying or owning a gun. The bill – which passed the Legislature without a single no vote – would have expanded those restrictions.

A new poll this week showed Christie with 6 percent support among likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters, down from 9 percent in December – though within the poll’s margin of error.

The poll also showed Christie’s favorability drop into negative territory, with 41 percent favorable and 47 percent unfavorable.

Christie made a point Thursday to undermine the accuracy of polls, saying that voters were getting so many calls from pollsters, “they’re just not answering the phone anymore. They’re like, leave me alone.”

“This is all going to come down to who’s going to work the hardest in the end, and who’s going to make a connection,” he said. “I can’t predict what’s going to happen.”

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