COLUMBIA, S.C.— A meet-and-greet between Gov. Christie and South Carolina Republicans in a bar here Tuesday evolved into a town-hall-style meeting as the governor took questions on subjects from foreign policy to Common Core to Obamacare.
Facing a crowd gathered by a county GOP in the Liberty Tap Room for more than an hour, Christie tried to sell himself as a tested executive in his first trip in months to the early presidential primary state.
“The fact is that no matter who’s running Congress, it won’t be easy,” Christie said, after describing his dealings with a Democratic-led Legislature. “We need to have the experience of dealing with folks who don’t wake up every morning looking to make your day a happy one.”
Gov. Christie continued to advocate for government intelligence gathering Wednesday, arguing criticism of the efforts reflected complacency since Sept. 11.
In an interview on Fox & Friends, Christie said that the Patriot Act, provisions of which are due to expire June 1, hadn't forced a choice between civil liberties and national security. “We can protect our civil liberties and the homeland,” he said.
Referring to remarks by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee questioning how the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records had curtailed terrorism, Christie said he had used the Patriot Act -- which has served as the basis of the NSA program -- successfully in prosecutions as U.S. attorney for New Jersey.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H.—Gov. Christie will outline a foreign policy approach today that will call for bolstering the military and supporting U.S. intelligence programs.
The Republican governor, who returns today to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire as he eyes a 2016 bid, will also target President Obama over a preliminary nuclear deal with Iran and the administration’s strategy in the Middle East, including toward the Islamic State group, according to speech excerpts released by his political action committee.
“The price of inaction is steadily rising,” Christie is expected to say. Referring to the “embarrassment” of King Salman of Saudi Arabia skipping a summit last week with Obama, Christie will accuse the president of failing to work effectively with allies.
On the pre-presidential-campaign trail in New Hampshire, Mary Pat Christie acknowledged enthusiasm for a candidacy by her husband isn’t as strong as when he was urged by some donors to enter the 2012 race.
“It certainly is disappointing when you had throngs of people encouraging you to do this and maybe the enthusiasm isn’t as crazy as it was,” she said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that aired Wednesday morning.
“But what I will tell you, because I do make a lot of phone calls, is that everyone always says that I know he’d be a great president,” Mary Pat Christie said, her husband seated beside her in an American Legion hall in New Hampshire. “When you have those conversations, it’s reassuring that deep down they know he can do the job and certainly believe in his ability.”
Ahead of a speech today in New Hampshire, Gov. Christie is proposing changes to the federal tax code, including a cut in the top income tax rate.
Christie, who will give a speech on promoting economic growth in the state that hosts the first presidential primary, outlined his proposals in an op-ed today in the Wall Street Journal, saying he would lower tax rates “for every American” as part of a proposal to stimulate growth.
His plan would reduce the number of income tax rates to three, dropping the top individual rate to “no higher than” 28 percent. Currently, the top income tax rate is 39.6 percent.
Gov. Christie said Friday that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of domestic phone records should continue, after a federal appeals court ruled the program illegal.
“I’m not one of these folks who believe that we should bring our guard down, especially during this really dangerous time,” Christie told reporters outside a diner in Amherst, N.H., where the Republican governor greeted patrons Friday morning on a two-day pass through the early presidential primary state.
In a contrast with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and the libertarian-minded wing of his party, Christie said he did not consider the NSA program an overreach. “We have people in the Justice Department who can oversee whether the law is being followed or whether the law is being violated,” he said.
As he tried to win over New Hampshire Republicans Thursday with stories about his parents and jokes about his Jersey bluntness, Gov. Christie promoted his willingness to work with Democrats as a leadership skill lacking in Washington.
Addressing the Cheshire County Lincoln Day Dinner in Keene, Christie said that New Jersey – and its Democratic-controlled Legislature – had taught him “hard truths.”
“You have to work with the other side,” Christie said, He said leadership sometimes requires using “the bully pulpit,” but “if it means reaching my hand across the aisle in friendship, I'll do that.”
In the 2016 presidential race, a new poll shows New Jersey Republicans prefer a governor who isn’t theirs.
Their choice would be Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. According to a Monmouth University poll released today, in a matchup between Walker and Gov. Christie, 44 percent of New Jersey Republicans would pick Walker, while 30 percent would go with their own governor. Three months ago, the state’s Republicans had favored Christie over Walker, 51 percent to 30 percent.
New Jersey Republicans still prefer Christie to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 47 percent to 34 percent.