Gov. Christie expressed "love" for collective bargaining rights this morning, saying he was eager to begin bargaining with union leaders as state employee contracts expire this June.
"Let me at them," Christie said at a town hall meeting in the central New Jersey town of Hillsborough. "Get me out of the cage and let me go!"
Christie said the "Democratic party and liberals in the media" are trying to compare Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker - who is hoping to get rid of some collective bargaining rights - with Christie, who is pushing for state workers to pay more for their pension and health benefits.
"Thinking people know that I haven't suggested once, nor will I, that we should take collective bargaining rights from people," he said.
Still, Christie vowed a different kinds of negotiations with unions. Under previous governors, such sessions were "done at a round table, holding hands, singing kumbaya, wondering how much of your money they were going to take."
Not anymore, Christie said.
"The good news for taxpayers of New Jersey is those contracts are up this June, and they're going to be negotiating with me." That statement drew applause from hundreds in the audience.