By Neil Schulman
Long Branch — When Governor Chris Christie has high level advice for presidential candidate Mitt Romney, he’ll tell him directly, not wait until Romney reads it in some New Jersey newspaper.
While Christie’s main purpose for being in Long Branch on Monday was for the groundbreaking of the George L. Catrambone School (see front page story), many of the reporters there were clearly interested in other topics. When he opened the floor to questions from the media, there were none about the school, but plenty about his thoughts on Romney and issues in the state.
Romney had a bad time last week when a video was released where he called 47 percent of Americans “victims” who depended on the government, and said he wasn’t getting their support. Polls showed Barack Obama pulling ahead, but Christie wasn’t impressed.
“It seems to me these days anyone with a calculator and a telephone runs a poll,” he said. “Romney may have had a bad week, but the election isn’t for 42 more days, which gives him plenty of time to regroup, especially with the debates coming up.”
When one reporter asked if he would like to give Romney advice and what would it be, Christie said that he has Romney’s cell phone number, and advises the Republican nominee. He declined to share exactly what he’d said.
“I give him advice directly, even though it’s very nice of you to pass it on for me,” he told the reporter.
Romney isn’t the only candidate the governor’s been supporting. He’s held rallies and raised cash for every Republican incumbent running in New Jersey, and numerous people outside.
Those include Iowa Congress-man Steve King, even though King defended Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, the senate candidate who said that women couldn’t get pregnant through “legitimate rape.”
Christie has denounced Akin’s comments, and called for him to not only resign from the senate race, but from public life. However, he said he supports King on many other matters, and that King was one of his big supporters at a congressional hearing.
“If I only campaigned with people I agree with everything they say, I would only campaign for myself,” Christie said.
The governor also dismissed suggestions the state’s economy is doing poor, although Standard and Poor has given New Jersey a negative outlook, and the unemployment rate is up 0.2 percent according to the latest report.
Christie said the S&P report is being emphasized by Democrats crying doom and gloom. He noted that they had “not downgraded” the state, only changed the rating. In addition, neither of the other two major credit agencies had expressed concern.
As for unemployment, he said the state added 10,000 jobs last month.
“The unemployment rate is a poll,” he said. “It’s not just me who thinks this is wrong … given the objective data we’ve seen, not from a poll, but payroll data.”
Christie also displayed what his critics would call a short temper and his proponents honest, straight talk, cutting off one, Jim Hoffer from WABC, who asked why, out of $300 million allocated to help those in foreclosure, only four million had been distributed to date.
Christie answered the question, but when the reporter asked him to clarify, Christie cut him off and asked, “Where are you from?
“Channel 7 News.”
“Oh, I don’t watch you anyway,” he replied then ignored him while asking another reporter to bring up a topic to drown that speaker out, but then turned his attention back to the Channel 7 reporter.
“Don’t show up once every blue moon and think you’re going to dominate my press conference,” he said.