Christie says he’s ‘traveling, not campaigning’ – Watch
Speaking on the May edition of Ask The Governor on NJ 101.5 Wednesday, Gov. Chris Christie addressed a question regarding his recent trips around the country, but continues to insist he's not visiting other states as part of an effort to campaign for a spot on the ballot in the 2016 presidential election.
As rumors continue to swirl about Christie and a possible run for president, the governor has been away from the Garden State 46 percent of the time, so far, this year. But he still insists it's not an effort to ease into a capaign.
"Let's call it traveling," Christie said.
The governor said that while the possibility of announcing a bid for the 2016 ballot might come in June, there's still work to be done in New Jersey and he doesn't want anything to distract him from those tasks.
"As I’ve said all along, it’s a difficult deliberation but I have a day job,” Christie said. "My main focus is on the job I come to every day,” Christie said.
The governor said that despite his travels, he's never out of touch with his home state and the job he was elected to do.
"I'm never out of touch. I’m never off duty," he said.
Although he wouldn't say what, exactly, he believes sets him apart from the the crowded Republican field chasing a spot on the 2016 ballot, he believes he's honest and outspoken, but he refused to give an "elevator speech" just yet.
"If I decide to run, the next I'm on or the time after, I'll give you the elevator speech. But now's not the time to do that," Christie said. "I speak differently than most people. I'm very direct. I'm very honest. I'm very blunt. I'm thoughtful about what I do, and I'm willing to take the ramifications for my conduct and my actions."
The governor said anyone who's been watching him in recent years should already be familiar with his credentials.
"In the end, if people have been watching me and they don’t know what sets me apart then they haven’t been paying attention," he said.
The program was streamed live on the New Jersey 101.5 YouTube channel. Among other topics covered:
- Gov. Christie said he'd support a move to put a question on the ballot that would extend gaming to the northern part of the state. The governor said expanding gambling to other areas of the state would require a constitutional amendment. "Even though I have no role in the process, because it's a constitutional amendment and the governor doesn't play a role in it, I certainly would be supportive of getting this question done as quickly as we can, so we could move to expand it, if that's the will of the people," Christie said.
- The governor, in response to a caller, said there has been very little in the past five years that he's been more passionate about than fighting drug abuse in New Jersey. "As governor, I've done more in a concrete way...than anybody in this office has done before," Christie said.
- Christie told a caller he would absolutely pursue asking the United States Navy to commission a new submarine named the USS New Jersey in the Garden State. The Navy has announced recently that the vessel is in the process of being built and is set to be completed in the next five years.
- During Ask The Governor, Christie once again discussed pension and health benefit reform, stating that "we're gonna have to do something about this at some point." He said the conversation will continue in the state.
- Christie also briefly discussed Bridgegate in the wake of the recent indictments. The governor believes that for him, the book has been closed on the Bridgegate scandal.
- Gov. Chris Christie, for the second time on Wednesday, attacked members of Congress who are opposed to renewing the Patriot Act in its current form. The act, which expires on June 1, includes the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone data. It was introduced shortly after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. “There’s nobody who’s engaging in this national conversation, other than me, who’s used these tools,” the governor said.
Dino Flammia and David Matthau contributed to this report.