Thursday, February 11, 2016

Archive: August, 2013

POSTED: Friday, August 30, 2013, 9:50 AM

After asking Gov. Christie yesterday for his opinion about the controversial Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act -- and after he once again refused to answer -- I wrote this story in today's Inquirer:

POINT PLEASANT BEACH - Jersey-guy bluntness apparently has its limits.

Gov. Christie made it clear Thursday that despite his rising national profile - and the corresponding increase in questions he now gets about national issues - he's under no obligation to opine about everything.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 27, 2013, 11:32 AM
Gov. Christie.

Coming to a spirited and perhaps journalistically unprecedented defense of one of its reporters, The New York Daily News -- the fifth highest circulated paper in America -- called Gov. Christie a "fatso" on its front page today. 

The tabloid was responding to Christie's repeated ad hominem attacks yesterday against the Daily News reporter who covers the New York Jets, Manish Mehta. As I recounted here, Christie spent four hours yesterday co-hosting a sports radio talk show on WFAN in New York, and the topic du jour was Jets Coach Rex Ryan's decision to play quarterback Mark Sanchez at the end of a meaningless pre-season game. Sanchez got hurt, and reporters were aggressive in their questioning at the subsequent news conference.

Christie -- who is friends with Ryan, and even received lap-band advice from him before the gov underwent his own surgery -- defended the coach and slammed Mehta. He called Mehta a "complete idiot, self-consumed, underpaid reporter," and said he would have told him, "you're an idiot, don't ask stupid questions."

POSTED: Monday, August 26, 2013, 12:10 PM
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tells a funny story about Ilene St. John Monday, July 29, 2013, in Morristown, N.J., at a ceremony naming the Morris County clerk of the board's office after Ilene St. John. St. John was the clerk when Christie was a Morris County Freeholder. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Gov. Christie spent four hours this morning co-hosting the Boomer & Carton show on WFAN 660, the sports radio station in New York. He listens to the show every morning, he says, and is a friend of one of the hosts, Craig Carton, since Carton's controversial days at New Jersey 101.5 FM. In case you didn't get up at 6 am to listen this morning, as I did, here's eight things you missed:

1) "What do you want him to do, hang himself?" The topic of the morning was Jets Coach Rex Ryan's decision to put quarterback Mark Sanchez into the end of a meaningless pre-season game against the Giants Saturday night. Sanchez got injured, and Ryan refused to acknowledge the mistake at a subsequent news conference. A jazillion times this morning, Christie defended his friend Ryan for not admitting guilt: "What do you want him to do, hang himself?" 

2) "When reporters act like jerks you need to treat them that way back. They don't have some vaulted status in our society that they get to act like jerks and not be treated like a jerk back." This was the governor going off on New York Daily News Jets beat reporter Manish Mehta, who had the temerity to question Coach Ryan's decision. Christie said he would have told the reporter: "You're an idiot. Don't ask stupid questions." He called Mehta a "complete idiot, self-consumed, underpaid reporter." 

POSTED: Saturday, August 17, 2013, 7:27 AM

Last night, at the start of the weekly 36-hour lull in the 24/7 news cycle, Gov. Christie announced his three most controversial vetoes of 2013. (The rejection of these anti-gun bills came shortly after issuing another veto on another highly controversial bill.) Here's my story in today's Inquirer:

Gov. Christie rejected three major pieces of gun-control legislation Friday that Democrats passed following last year's fatal school shootings in Connecticut.

Despite proposing a ban on purchases of the Barrett .50-caliber gun and similar weapons in April, Christie vetoed a bill that would have done just that. He said Friday that the bill went too far, in that it would have criminalized current and future ownership of all .50-caliber guns, which have never been used in crimes in New Jersey, but are used by marksmen for long-range, precision shooting.

POSTED: Thursday, August 15, 2013, 4:11 PM
Gov. Christie addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

1) Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: This is a new one. At a closed-door Republican National Committee meeting today in Boston, speaker Christie told the crowd (according to several reporters who heard from sources):

“I’m not going to be one of these people who goes and calls our party stupid." 

That was seen as a direct slam against Jindal, chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a possible 2016 presidential rival to Christie. Jindal said in January that Republicans needed to stop "insulting the intelligence of voters...We must stop being the stupid party. I’m serious. It’s time for a new Republican party that talks like adults."

POSTED: Monday, August 12, 2013, 2:20 PM

Updated at 5:48 pm

In a surprise move that adds another chapter to the saga of New Jersey’s judicial crisis, Gov. Christie announced Monday that he will seek to replace Republican Supreme Court Justice Helen Hoens with Camden County Superior Court Assignment Judge Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina.

The Cuban-born judge, who in a ruling last year helped pave the way for the controversial new Camden County police force, would be the high court’s only representative from South Jersey. Christie said Fernandez-Vina is a Republican, although election records listed him as a Democrat.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 7, 2013, 3:13 PM

NEPTUNE -- New Jersey may be stronger than the storm, as the jingle in the advertisement goes, but Gov. Christie isn't better than the victims of the storm.

That's the message Christie's Democratic challenger, Sen. Barbara Buono (D., Middlesex), sought to send Wednesday at a news conference staged in front of a home gutted by Sandy and owned by two school teachers who said they've been denied rebuilding funds from the state.

In her most direct attack yet on the Republican governor's chief political strength -- his shepherding of the state after Sandy -- Buono seized on a report last weekend from the Asbury Park Press indicating that Christie picked a high bidder for a federally-funded, post-Sandy tourism advertising campaign. Another advertising agency would have cost $2 million less -- except that agency didn't plan to include Christie in its commercials.

POSTED: Monday, August 5, 2013, 11:05 AM
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie answers a question during a campaign event in Manville, N.J., Monday, May 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

An otherwise softball and uneventful question-and-answer session with Gov. Christie turned starkly emotional last week, as the below video reveals, when an interviewer asked him about the lowest moment of his life.

Christie often speaks about his mother, and the story about her last words to him on her death bed close out many of his town hall meetings. But I had never heard the anecdote he shared last week about the time his mother told him that she was going to die. It contains a startling detail about his mother's painful past. 

The clip was filmed at a conference in Las Vegas for KIPP, a national school operator with facilities in New Jersey. Reporters were not allowed in to hear Christie's speech, but KIPP later posted the complete interview online. Here's an excerpt I took from that speech:

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