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May 282013
 

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(ASBURY PARK, N.J.) — Nearly six months after superstorm Sandy ravaged the Jersey Shore, President Obama will return to New Jersey on Tuesday to get a firsthand look at the recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Obama will join Gov. Chris Christie Tuesday afternoon in Asbury Park, N.J., where he will speak about the rebuilding efforts. The pair will tour areas that were hard hit by last September’s storm.

In addition to the tour, President Obama will meet with citizens and business owners from the area, who “have shown such resilience in the face of the destructive storm, and make clear that while the rebuilding efforts to date have been extensive, the administration will continue to stand with the impacted communities as the important work of recovery continues,” says a White House press release.

Obama and Christie took a similar tour of the damaged areas of New Jersey near the end of Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign.

The stop in New Jersey comes just one day after the president toured Moore, Okla., to see firsthand the damage following last week’s tornado.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Mar 042013
 

D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra(NEW YORK) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Monday blasted President Obama over what he said was a failure of leadership to prevent the sequester.

“Real leadership would get this fixed. You get everybody in the room and you fix it, and you don’t let them leave until you fix it,” Christie said at a press conference in Jersey City.

“That’s what real leadership is, not calling a meeting two hours before the thing’s going to hit to have a photo-op in the driveway at the White House,” he said of Friday’s eleventh-hour meeting.  ”That’s not real leadership.”

Christie, who has downplayed the much-hyped impact from the automatic spending cuts, also said he’s dumbfounded that both sides have failed to tackle the root causes of the deficit and debt problem. “Seems to me it should be pretty easy to fix,” he said.

On Friday, Obama dismissed the notion that he could have – for lack of a better word – sequestered congressional leaders in the Oval Office until they reached a deal.

“I am not a dictator, I’m the president,” he said at a White House press conference.  ”Ultimately, if Mitch McConnell or John Boehner say we need to go to catch a plane, I can’t have Secret Service block the doorway, right?”

“What I can do is I can make the best possible argument. And I can offer concessions and I can offer compromise. I can negotiate. I can make sure that my party is willing to compromise and is not being ideological or thinking about these just in terms of political terms. And I think I’ve done that,” he said.  “But what I can’t do is force Congress to do the right thing.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Feb 262013
 

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — an opponent of  the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare — announced Tuesday that his state will participate in Medicaid expansion that is a centerpiece of the law’s attempt to give health insurance to the uninsured.

Christie is the eighth Republican governor to buy into the Medicaid expansion, which was made optional by the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Obamacare.

“While we already have one of the most expansive and generous Medicaid programs in the nation, including the second-highest eligibility rate for children, we have an opportunity to ensure an even greater number of New Jerseyans who are at or near the poverty line have access to critical health services beginning in January 2014,” Christie said at the State House Tuesday during an address on the New Jersey budget.

Half of the states have agreed to participate in Medicaid expansion, according to the Advisory Board, a health consulting firm.

The program will get its funding from the federal government for its first three years and begin contributing 10 percent of the costs in 2020, Christie said.

The announcement came as a bit of a surprise as Christie has often criticized the Affordable Care Act, but it also comes in the wake of an announcement from the Obama administration that states can lower their Medicaid payments to doctors and health care providers.

The New Jersey governor was quick to distance himself from Obama’s signature health care legislation Tuesday.

“I am not a fan of the Affordable Care Act,” Christie said. “I think it’s wrong for New Jersey, and I think it’s wrong for America.”

The governor twice vetoed state legislation that would have created health care exchanges under the ACA, saying the federal government had not made clear how much such a system would cost his state.

But Tuesday he reasoned that if New Jerseyians refused the Obamacare funds in the Medicaid expansion program, they would simply be spent on health care ventures in neighboring states.

“I will make all my judgments as governor based on what I believe is best for New Jersey.”

The New Jersey Star-Ledger first reported Christie’s plans hours before his press conference.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Feb 252013
 

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) — There are almost 40 featured speakers at next month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, but one of the most popular Republican governors in the country has yet to receive an invite.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is “not being invited” to CPAC, according to a source close to the event who was not authorized to speak publicly. The source would not answer why Christie, who is widely thought to be interested in the 2016 presidential race, would not be invited to the confab of conservative activists.

The tough-talking governor hasn’t been afraid to take on his own party in the past. Last month he blasted the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, specifically Speaker John Boehner, for adjourning without approving a $60 billion relief package for the victims of superstorm Sandy (the money has since been approved).

Christie also angered some members of Mitt Romney’s team, and other Republicans, when just one week before the presidential election he praised President Obama’s handling of the storm, which slammed into his state on Oct. 29.

Officially, CPAC says the schedule is still being finalized.

“We still have three weeks to CPAC and have several more announcements to go,” Communications Director Laura Keehner Rigas told ABC News. “I encourage everyone to hold tight.”

The conservative confab is being held outside of Washington, D.C., next month and will feature Romney and almost 40 other featured speakers, many of them also thought to be interested in 2016, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, and House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan.

Other big names include former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and former presidential candidates Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, among many others.

What is unclear is whether the “not inviting” will stand, now that the news has broken. Christie is incredibly popular in his home state.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Feb 202013
 

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — “How high is up?”  That’s the question Wednesday from Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, which is out with a new New Jersey poll that’s a record breaker.

It shows a 74 percent approval rating for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the highest of any New Jersey governor in 17 years of Quinnipiac surveys.  New Jersey voters also say 71 to 23 percent that Christie deserves reelection this year.

Christie’s rating is currently the highest of any governor in the seven states surveyed by Quinnipiac.  Even 56 percent of New Jersey Democrats approve of Christie and 48 percent of them say he deserves reelection.  He leads his likely Democratic opponent, State Sen. Barbara Buono, 62 to 25 percent.

“Most governors would kill for a 56 percent job approval rating.  Republican Gov. Christie gets that from Democrats,” Carroll said in a release revealing the numbers.

This is similar to a Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll out last month that showed a 73 percent approval rating for Christie from Garden State voters.  The sky high numbers come after Christie’s response to Superstorm Sandy, which, at times, included him taking on members of his own party to get federal funds for rebuilding.

While Jersey Democrats approve of Christie, they appear to be split if he ends up running for president against Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, the poll shows.

New Jersey voters favor the former secretary of state 49 to 45 percent, according to the poll.  New Jersey has not gone red in a presidential election since 1988.

Christie, however, tops potential White House rival New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo 54 to 36 percent.

“If the 2016 presidential race shapes up to be the battle of the Hudson, native son Christie tops New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the west bank of the river, but is locked in a tight race with the Empire State’s favorite adopted daughter, Hillary Clinton,” Carroll said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio