Christie walks back Boehner criticism

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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In an interview before his Tuesday State of the State Address, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie walked back the brutal tongue-lashing he gave House Speaker John Boehner last week over the House’s handling of the Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill.

In an interview with The Star-Ledger, Christie said it was unfair to “judge” the Speaker for his decision last Tuesday night to not bring the Hurricane Relief bill to the floor, ensuring that it would not be passed before the end of the 112th Congress. In a speech delivered the following day, Christie said Boehner and his Republican caucus bore sole responsibility and “blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims.”

“We had a bad night with the speaker. He had a better next day,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair for me to judge John Boehner just in that moment.”

The House has since passed a bill sending $9 billion for flood insurance to affected areas.

The Governor said his State of the State Address will focus on the superstorm that ravaged his state.

“It erased the blackboard. Absent Sandy, the speech would be totally different,” he said. “But once Sandy came, I can’t imagine that there’s anything else that’s relevant as governor to talk about.”

He also set some high goals for the upcoming 2013 gubernatorial election, telling the paper he wanted to win re-election with 50 percent of the vote or more, something no Republican has accomplished in the past 25 years.

At the moment, it seems to be an accomplishable goal. A Farleigh Dickinson University poll released Monday found the governor with a 73 percent approval rating, and beating three of his potential opponents — state Sens. Barbara Buono, Stephen Sweeney, and Richard Codey with 59 percent of the vote or more.

As for any future elections for more nationally prominent positions, Christie was somewhat cagey.

“Life is life; you never know what it’s going to confront you with,” he said. “But I’m asking for four years and I intend to serve four years.”

But if donors come a-courting in advance of the 2016 presidential election, he said he’d be far more prepared for it than he was before the 2012 election.

“Yeah, you’re damn right I’d be more ready,” Christie said.

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