GOP Fair-Haired Gov. Chris Christie Not The Straight-Talker As Portrayed
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has become a media darling with the image of a straight-talker. However, a look at his statements by the New York Times paints a different picture.
“Clearly there has been a pattern of the governor playing fast and loose with the details,” said Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University. “But so far, he’s been adept at getting the public to believe what he says.”
Christie’s office responded to the charges as “splitting hairs.”
Some overstatements have worked their way into the governor’s routine public comments, like a claim that he balanced the budget last year without raising taxes; in truth, he cut deeply into tax credits for the elderly and the poor. But inaccuracies also crop up when he is challenged, and his instinct seems to be to turn it into an attack on someone else instead of giving an answer.
When New Jersey narrowly lost $400 million in the federal Education Department’s Race to the Top competition last summer because of missing data in its application, Mr. Christie held a news conference blaming “bureaucrats in Washington” and said state officials had tried to supply the missing numbers at a hearing. It did not take long for the Obama administration to release a recording showing that, in reality, federal officials had requested the information at the hearing, and the New Jersey team had not had it.
Mr. Christie fired Bret D. Schundler, his education commissioner at the time, accusing him of lying about the hearing. But Mr. Schundler said he had warned the governor before the news conference that what he was about to tell reporters was false.
Particularly troubling, especially in light of nationwide union-bashing, have been Christie’s claims about public employees.
In addition to claims about unions circumventing collective bargaining to “get what they want” from the Legislature, he has frequently said that “there are dozens of states in this country” that do not let public-sector unions bargain collectively (there are, experts said, eight); that New Jersey’s last round of union negotiations, under a Democratic governor, were not adversarial (there were heated protests at the State House); and that the vast majority of teachers in the state get free health care (they did until last year).Click here for reuse options!
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