Gov. Christie Slams Democrats — and GOP — Over Spending
By Neil King Jr.
Wall Street Journal Online
February 16, 2010
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came to Washington Wednesday to slam both parties for what he described as their “irresponsible” and “dangerous” game in not addressing the country’s shaky entitlement programs.
The Republican governor accused both the White House and Republicans in Congress of irresponsibility for failing to propose fixes for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, all of which face solvency problems in coming years.
“What game is being played here is irresponsible and it’s dangerous,” he told a packed house at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “We are on the path to ruin.”
In office just over a year, Mr. Christie has gained unusual prominence within Republican ranks as a brash cost-cutter who hasn’t shied from fierce battles with the state’s teachers union and other groups.
A national unknown when he won election in 2009, the former prosecutor is now mentioned as a possible 2012 presidential contender, mainly by conservatives yearning for someone to shake up what they fear will be a lackluster field. Mr. Christie has insisted he has no intention to seek higher office next year.
“What do I have to do outside of threatening to commit suicide to convince people I’m not running?” he told the gathering. He said he was simply not ready to run for president and had plenty of work to do in New Jersey.
“And besides, my wife would kill me,” he said.
Mr. Christie drew laughter when he tossed off his own plan to fix Social Security, which he said was both obvious and shunned as the kiss of death by most politicians.
“We hare going to have to raise the retirement age,” he said. “Uh oh. I said it, and I’m still here. I am not vaporized into the carpet. ”
The governor lashed into President Barack Obama for not addressing “the big things” and instead championing costly initiatives such high-speed rail and promoting electric cars when he should be addressing the country’s fiscal problems.
“Ladies and gentlemen, those are the candy of American politics,” he said of the Obama spending priorities. “Those aren’t the big things.”
Mr. Christie went out of his way to jab both the newly emboldened House Republicans and to praise Democrats who he said were doing the right things, particularly the newly elected New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The Republican Governors Association this week put Mr. Christie in charge of its policy shop, proof of his emergence as one of the GOP’s top thinkers.
Mr. Christie managed to close a $11 billion budget deficit this year with a mix of cost cuts and accounting maneuvers.