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Christie Blasts ‘Washington Attitude’ But Doesn’t Mention Scandals in Inaugural.


Image: Christie Blasts 'Washington Attitude' But Doesn't Mention Scandals in Inaugural

Governor Chris Christie didn’t mention the New Jersey controversies threatening a possible 2016 presidential run as he began his second term by blasting political gamesmanship and called for bipartisan compromises.

“We cannot fall victim to the attitude of Washington,” the 51-year-old Republican said in remarks prepared for his inaugural address in Trenton. “The attitude that says I am always right and you are always wrong. The attitude that puts everyone into a box they are not permitted to leave. The attitude that puts political wins ahead of policy agreements. The belief that compromise is a dirty word.”

Challenges such as investigations of his office’s Hurricane Sandy spending and ties to politically motivated traffic jams come “out of nowhere, to test you,” Christie said last week. This weekend, another arose as a mayor accused his administration of threatening to withhold disaster aid unless she endorsed a redevelopment project. Today, with snow bearing down, the 51-year-old governor canceled an inaugural celebration at Ellis Island, a high-profile venue that had been taken as a sign that he might court a national electorate.

The governor and his family attended a prayer service today at Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church. The pastor, the Rev. Joe A. Carter, reminded the audience that hardships are ever present.

“All of us, at one time or another, have to deal with times of testing and seasons of frustration,” Carter said.

Muted Tones

The governor, ordinarily a clear-voiced, high-energy speaker, has appeared tired since Jan. 9, the day he told reporters he was “a sad guy” during an almost two-hour news conference to address the jams on the George Washington Bridge.

“He knows he’s in trouble,” said Peter Woolley, a politics professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey. “He’s concerned that long-time friends and associates are clearly in trouble.”

Christie’s calls for smaller government and lower taxes made him a national figure during his first term. He turned down calls to run for president in 2011, but hasn’t ruled out a 2016 bid. He became chairman of the Republican Governors Association in November.

“I do not believe that New Jerseyans want a bigger, more expensive government that penalizes success and then gives the pittance left to a few in the name of income equity,” he said today after taking the oath of office. “What New Jerseyans want is an unfettered opportunity to succeed in the way they define success. They want an equal chance at the starting; not a government guaranteed result.”

Broad Assessment

Last month, Christie was neck and neck with Democrat Hillary Clinton, 48 percent to 46 percent, in a CNN/ORC International poll based on a hypothetical 2016 presidential race. The edge was within the margin of error.

Now he is at the center of an inquiry unprecedented in the New Jersey governor’s office. Democrats, who control both houses of the legislature, are examining whether Christie or members of his administration had knowledge of the lane closings and whether they tried to cover it up.

Legislative committees on Jan. 16 issued 20 subpoenas to individuals and organizations.

Bridge Game

The administration’s ties to the traffic messes came to light in a cache of e-mails and text messages obtained on Jan. 8 by news outlets. “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Kelly wrote on Aug. 13 to David Wildstein, a Christie ally at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the George Washington Bridge. “Got it,” Wildstein replied.

For four days starting Sept. 9, two of three access lanes from Fort Lee to the bridge were closed. Typical half-hour delays on the New Jersey side stretched to four hours or more.

Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat who hadn’t joined colleagues to cross party lines and endorse Christie for re- election, asked the governor’s appointees at the Port Authority whether he was being punished. He got no answer.

On Jan. 9, a day after the e-mail trail was published, Christie apologized and said he was “outraged” and “saddened” by lies within his administration. The governor said he had nothing to do with the tie-ups.

His troubles grew Jan. 13, when the independent inspector general of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said it was auditing Christie’s expenditure of $25 million in federal Sandy disaster aid on a “Stronger Than The Storm” ad campaign featuring Christie, his wife and their four children.

New Accusation

Then, this weekend, Hoboken’s mayor accused Christie’s administration of muscling her over the redevelopment project.

Christie’s office immediately rebutted the claims by Dawn Zimmer, a Democrat. But Zimmer said in a statement that she met Jan. 19 with federal investigators.

Her allegations will be included in lawmakers’ probe, said Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Democrat co-leading the probe. The Assembly and Senate plan to conduct a joint investigation with help from Reid Schar, the lead prosecutor in the corruption trials of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Christie ran up record public approval in the wake of Sandy in October 2012. He beat his Democratic challenger, state Senator Barbara Buono, by 22 percentage points in November.

“It matters what the public believes,” said Woolley of Fairleigh Dickinson. “It’s the tide of public opinion that will stay with him or turn against him. Where that tide turns, or doesn’t, is not always on the facts of the case.”
© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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Under Cloud of Scandal, Christie to Be Sworn In Again.


Tuesday’s celebrations to mark the start of Gov. Chris Christie’s second term could be tempered by multiple investigations into traffic tie-ups that appear to have been ordered by his staff for political retribution and an allegation that his administration tied Superstorm Sandy aid to approval for a real estate project.

But the 55th governor of New Jersey has a full schedule of inaugural events.

His day is scheduled to start with a service at Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church before a swearing in and address in Trenton and an evening party on Ellis Island, a symbolic spot synonymous with the promise of the United States. The island where some 12 million immigrants first entered the U.S. is divided between New Jersey and New York, but his party is to be in a hall on the New York side.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who was drawn into the controversy surrounding Christie this weekend, is also to be sworn in for her second term.

Christie won re-election in November by a 22-point margin over state Sen. Barbara Buono, a Democrat.

The Republican governor built a national following as a blunt-talking and often funny politician who strived to show that he could find common ground with Democrats on some key issues, including overhauling the state’s public-worker pension program and making it easier to fire teachers who are found to be underperforming.

Christie became a fixture in speculation about who would seek the 2016 presidential nomination with his leadership after Superstorm Sandy slammed into his state in October 2012.

He worked with President Barack Obama and took on Republican members of Congress who were reluctant to approve aid for storm victims, receiving high marks from his constituents and plentiful national attention.

But his reputation has been battered somewhat since revelations this month that a staffer ordered two of three approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge from the town of Fort Lee shut down for four days in September apparently as political retribution against the mayor there, perhaps for not endorsing Christie for re-election.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and two state legislative committees are now investigating.

Christie has apologized, denied any involvement with or knowledge of the plot and fired a deputy chief of staff at the center of the controversy. But questions have continued.

Christie’s administration also faces an allegation from the Democratic mayor of Hoboken that it tied the delivery of Superstorm Sandy aid to the low-lying city of 50,000 across from Manhattan to support for a prime real estate project.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer said that she was told by Guadagno that the ultimatum came directly from Christie. Guadagno strongly denied those claims Monday and described them as “false” and “illogical.”

“Any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false,” she said.

Also on Monday, nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis said Christie dropped a plan to appoint him the state’s first physical fitness ambassador when he launched a political campaign against a Christie friend. Christie’s administration hasn’t returned an email seeking comment.

In his re-election campaign, Christie did not make big new promises, but said he would continue to work on recovery from Sandy, seek tax cuts and push for other previous priorities with which the Democrat-controlled Legislature has not been willing to go along.

Christie has not ruled out a 2016 presidential run.

But last week in an event with storm victims in Manahawkin, he emphasized his New Jersey roots and the task before him as governor.

“Come next Tuesday, I’ve only got about 1,400 days to go as governor. We’ve got plenty of time to get this job done,” he said. “You asked me and I accepted the task of leading this state for eight years, not four years.”

The $500 tickets to the inaugural celebration and other contributions will be used to help support three charities: Save Ellis Island, The New Hope Baptist Church and New Jersey Heroes, which was founded by first lady Mary Pat Christie.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

National Guard comes to aid of flooded Hoboken, NJ.


  • A firehouse is surrounded by floodwaters in the wake of superstorm Sandy on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Hoboken, N.J. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

    Enlarge PhotoAssociated Press/Mike Groll – A firehouse is surrounded by floodwaters in the wake of superstorm Sandy on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Hoboken, N.J. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple …more 

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HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey National Guard arrived Tuesday evening in Hoboken to help residents of the heavily flooded city on the Hudson River across from New York City.

Officials announced the Guard’s arrival in messages on the city’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. It says Guard members will use high-wheeled vehicles to help evacuate residents and deliver supplies to flooded areas in the mile-square city.

Hoboken was hard hit by Superstorm Sandy, which flooded roughly half the town of 50,000 people.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer had asked for the Guard’s help late Monday, saying thousands of residents were stuck in their homes.

“We have two payloaders and we’re trying to go in where we can to help people, but we have small city streets and payloaders cannot fit down” them, Zimmer said Tuesday night on MSNBC.

“We’ve got live wires in the waters, and the waters are completely contaminated and getting more contaminated,” she said. “It’s rain water mixed with sewage water; it’s becoming more sewage water.”

Hoboken resident Polina Pinkhasova, a 27-year-old engineering student, has been volunteering at a shelter in the city, where water is still 3 feet deep in spots and the power remains out.

“Once the sun sets, complete darkness,” she told The Associated Press. “You really can’t see anything.”

Her house is on dry land, but she has seen evidence of price-gouging, saying she paid $14 at one store for three small bags of chips and a small bottle of cranberry juice, both expired.

P.J. Molski, a 25-year-old graphic designer who lives in Hoboken, said that his place is dry but that his car, which he left parked on a flooded street, won’t start.

Almost every basement apartment he has seen in the small city, which makes the most of its housing stock, is flooded, he told the AP.

“There are just pumps going all over the city of people trying to get the water out of their basement apartments,” he said.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

Associated Press

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