Christie: I think ‘mop’ questioner in New Hampshire ‘was a plant’
Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday he thinks the woman who asked him why he was in New Hampshire campaigning for president instead of surveying blizzard damage in New Jersey was a plant.
The governor said that when he asked the woman — who said she went to school in New Jersey — for the names of those sending her pictures of damage from the blizzard "she wouldn't give them to me. I think she was a plant. I don't think she had any friends or family (in New Jersey). Because not did I ask her but a whole bunch of reporters asked her and she wouldn't give them to anybody."
Christie said he genuinely wanted to call her family after the campaign event in Hooksett, New Hampshire on Monday.
"Either she's a really shy person who decided to ask the first question in a town hall meeting and overcame her shyness for that period or something else was afoot and I suspect the later," the governor said.
Christie, on Sunday, had taken a question from the woman, who said she'd been sent pictures from "all over the state" showing severe flooding.
Christie jumped in and replied, “All over the state? Really? There’s been one county that’s flooded in the state. That was Cape May County. I don’t know where from ‘all over the state’ since we have 21 counties where that’s happened. I don’t know what you expect me to do. Do you want me to go down there with a mop?”
Cape May County was hit by severe flooding in this weekend's storm — the worst of it on Saturday, but some continuing Sunday as Christie left New Jersey to continue campaigning in New Hampshire. Officials in the Wildwoods and other far-Southern New Jersey coastal towns said they evacuated hundreds of residents, and some businesses took significant damage.
Christie has taken criticism by some officials and commentators who said he minimized the damage from the storm, eager to return to the campaign trail.
Christie on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Monday, accused Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein of “making up” stories about criticism for ignoring heavy damage. “I don’t even know what critics you’re talking about,” Christie said, “There is no residual damage, there is no residual flooding damage. All of the flooding receded yesterday morning.”
When asked by a reporter at a press conference Tuesday whether his response to her question was too much, Christie told a reporter, "it was a joke. If you don't like the joke, tell me you don't like the joke."
Christie also said Tuesday that he called North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello to apologize for calling him a "crazy South Jersey mayor" after Rosenello compared the flooding caused by the blizzard to Sandy.
"I got carried away," said Christie, who said Rosenello was a longtime friend. Before the press conference, Rosenello told New Jersey 101.5 he accepted the governor's apology.