Jan 20, 2016 11:57 PM
NH1 News Political Director
CONCORD – Chris Christie says Republican presidential rival Marco Rubio is “the most negative candidate in this campaign.”
And the New Jersey governor also said during a sit down interview Wednesday at the NH1 News headquarters that he considers climate change “a long term challenge” rather than an immediate crisis, and touted that part of his “job as governor is to veto stupid bills.”
Christie and Rubio, the first-term senator from Florida, have been firing verbal attacks at each other for two weeks on the presidential campaign trail, which included a war of words at last week’s Republican presidential debate.
Last Friday, Rubio told NH1 News that “the truth of the matter is that Chris Christie supported a liberal justice, Sonya Sotomayor. We’re not having justices like that when I’m president. He ran for office in order to achieve gun control, the first time he ever ran for office. He’s a supporter of Common Core, a supporter of an internet sales tax. These are significant policy differences and our next president cannot be someone who has those positions.”
Responding to Rubio, Christie disputed Rubio’s claims, and said that “it’s just a shame that Sen. Rubio’s decided to be the most negative candidate in this campaign. He prefaces everything by saying ‘I don’t like to be negative’ but then he sticks the knife in you. You know it’s something I’m used to in New Jersey but I didn’t expect it from a guy like Marco Rubio.”
But Christie wasn’t done. He resurrected his criticism of Rubio’s large number of missed votes in the U.S. Senate.
“Marco wants to play the old Washington insider games and I know that’s what a United States senator does. They’re never accountable for anything. All they’re accountable for is what comes out of their mouth. They talk and talk and talk and talk. And Marco now doesn’t even show up for work. So I don’t know what exactly he’s trying to prove,” Christie continued.
“The biggest difference between a governor and a senator is when you’re a governor you have to do things, you have to be held accountable and responsible for them. You can’t just run away from your job if it gets too hot. You can’t just run away from your job if you’re bored. You can’t just run away from your job when you want a new one. And Sen. Rubio will have to answer to all that,” he added.
Moments later, after his powerful counter attack against Rubio, Christie touted that “I just got approached today by couple of folks at lunch who said to me ‘we’re so glad that you’re the only one in this Republican race who’s not being negative, who’s not running these horrible negative ads. We hate them we’re glad you’re rising above it both at the debates and on the television screens’. And I’m going to continue to. So Sen. Rubio should be ashamed of himself. He knows better.”
Christie says vetoing ‘stupid bills’ part of his job
Christie spoke one-on-one with NH1 News hours after government scientists reported that 2015 was the Earth’s warmest year ever. Asked if he considers climate change a crisis, Christie said “I don’t. What I consider it is a long term challenge. And the fact is that climate agreement that the President just signed is ridiculous. It allows the Chinese to pollute unabated for the next 15 years, until 2030, while restrictions get placed on the United States immediately. This puts us in an economic disadvantage. And I just don’t believe that it’s that type of crisis at this point.”
Christie was in New Hampshire after vetoing a bill passed by New Jersey’s legislature that would have mandated 20 minutes of recess each day for kindergartners through fifth graders. Asked why he struck down the legislation, Christie responded “because schools should make this decision. Parents and schools should make these decisions. One-hundred and twenty legislators sitting in Trenton, New Jersey shouldn’t decide how long recess is.”
“Part of my job as governor is to veto stupid bills. And that was stupid bill and I vetoed it,” he relished.
Christie stopped by the NH1 News studios a couple of hours after a visit to the State House to address the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Christie, who’s battled a Democratic dominated legislature during his entire six years in Trenton, joked “how completely fabulous to be in a House dominated by Republicans.”
The line was received with by cheers and boos from the state lawmakers in the chamber.
Christie spent much of his speech discussing the fight against substance abuse.
“We need to be talking about this. We need to be accomplishing things surrounding this,” Christie urged.
And he highlighted his efforts in the Garden State, saying “this year in New Jersey drug overdose deaths declined because we have put narcan across the entire state for the last 18 months.”
Later, at NH1 News, Christie added that “we’ve seen our prison population go down 10%. We are now able to close a state prison. I announced that last week. We are closing a state prison in New Jersey and we’re converting that prison into a drug treatment facility for folks who are in the criminal justice system.”
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