Christie does post-budget morning news blitz, talks Camden

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Christie at budget address. (David Warren/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

The gov appeared on two national morning shows this morning in the wake of dropping his budget on the Legislature yesterday. After fielding softballs on "The Today Show" - where he (again) said he was losing weight, and (again) swore off running for president - Christie went down to MSNBC for a much longer, more substantive interview. 

Although it didn't start off that way.

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC "Morning Joe" host (and former Republican congressman), gushed after showing a clip from Christie's budget speech: "Was he not great? Don't you just wish every politician had the courage?"

Joe's first question: "What makes you so great?"

CNBC host Jim Cramer was also in the studio, and said his New Jersey property taxes now exceed the interest on his mortgage. Employee costs are the main driver of property taxes, Christie explained, and "I haven't gotten any cooperation yet from the unions in New Jersey, on any level."

Asked why the rich aren't also taking a hit in his budget (like through increasing taxes on the mega-rich), Christie dismissed the idea: "The top 1 percent pay 41 percent of the income tax."

Christie called Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd "courageous" for staring down the police unions and laying off cops because she couldn't get concessions. He also cited Camden County's plan to regional police forces as a way to save money.

"The taxpayers in New Jersey aren't going to pay any more for Camden's excess," Christie said.

"We're not trying to break the unions, the unions are trying to break the middle class in New Jersey through the expenses, and they're close to doing it. And this government, our government, is the only thing that can stand up and fight that."

Check out my story in today's paper looking at the politics of the budget, here, and my colleague Maya Rao's article on the details of the budget, here