Tag Archives: Chris Christie

New Jersey delays vote on Christie’s ‘revenge’ bill against newspapers

New Jersey lawmakers have postponed a bill that opponents call an act of revenge by Gov. Chris Christie against the state’s newspapers for their unflattering coverage of him as a two-time governor, failed presidential candidate and adviser to President-elect Donald Trump.

The measure seeks to scrap a law requiring local governments to publish legal notices in newspapers. Instead, the bill would allow local governments to post notices on their own websites.

The bill was scheduled for a vote yesterday, but following a furious lobbying effort by newspapers, action was delayed until after the new year.

Christie argues the current law burdens taxpayers, whose money goes to local government to pay newspapers for running their legal notices. In an opinion-editorial published over the weekend on the online publishing platform medium.com, Christie suggested that the New Jersey Press Association, which opposes the legislation, was “shameful” and self-serving.

“The Constitution guarantees a free press, not a government-subsidized one,” he wrote. Publishers testified that the legislation could decimate the industry, costing up to 300 jobs.

Lawmakers across the country have proposed eliminating the print requirement, but the New Jersey Press Association says New Jersey would be the first state to make the change.

One Christie opponent in the Legislature called it a “politically motivated crackdown on the press in New Jersey.” Democratic Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is running for governor in the Democratic primary next year, also called it a “revenge bill.” Phil Murphy, a fellow Democrat also seeking the governorship, called it a “vendetta.”

Christie argues the bill would save $80 million spent on legal notices by governments, businesses and residents. Christie’s spokesman Brian Murray said $60 million of that figure is for pending foreclosure notices, which are required to be publicized. The administration argues that the bill amounts to property tax relief since local government revenues come from property taxes.

But the state’s Office of Legislative Services says the fiscal impact is “indeterminate.”

When a similar bill was proposed in 2011, the New Jersey Press Association estimated in that local governments spent $20 million a year on the requirement, but about 60 percent of that amount was reimbursed by private entities, including banks paying for foreclosure notices.

Rates have not been raised since 1983, according to the association. Lawmakers last week didn’t consider a proposal from the association to cut the rate paid by governments by 50 percent while raising rates on businesses.

Sanders, Trump score big as races head south minus 2

Bernie Sanders sailed to a big win on Feb. 9 in New Hampshire.

And Donald Trump triumphed.

A week after placing second in Iowa, both men placed first in the nation’s first presidential primary. Going into the race, polls showed Trump and Sanders as the favorites, thanks to their mutual status as outsider, anti-establishment candidates.

Trump, AP reported early on Feb. 10, won New Hampshire with an 18-point lead.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, won the Granite State with a 21-point lead over Hillary Clinton.

“Together, we have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington and from Maine to California that the government of this great nation belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their super PACs,” Sanders told supporters crowded into a high school gymnasium.

“Nine months ago, we began our campaign here in the Granite State,” he said. “We had no campaign organization and we had no money. And we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America, a team that defeated Barack Obama here in the Democratic primary in 2008.”

In exit polls, backers of both said they are angry with the way things are going in Washington and they’re frustrated with politics.

But it’s a long way to the nominating conventions this summer, with votes in 48 more states and U.S. territories to come.

Clinton may have all the endorsements of her party’s bold-faced names, but Sanders is winning over the young people and independents who pushed Barack Obama to the White House.

Meanwhile, many Republican Party leaders may be terrified by Trump’s ascendance, but they’ve yet to divine a way to stop the billionaire real-estate mogul. 

On Feb. 10, establishment-minded Republicans from New Hampshire expressed a mix of frustration and shame that it was their state that delivered Trump’s first victory.

“I refuse to support him under any circumstance,” said Fergus Cullen, a former New Hampshire Republican Party chairman. “Trump would be a disaster.”

Cullen likened Trump to Pat Buchanan in 1996, the divisive former Nixon aide and conservative commentator who also won the New Hampshire primary. GOP leaders then quickly coalesced behind mainstream alternative Bob Dole, the former Republican Senate leader who went on win the nomination.

It wasn’t because they loved Dole, Cullen said, but because they feared Buchannan would embarrass the Republican Party. “The party was able to stop Buchannan 20 years ago,” Cullen said. “Today, they’re incapable of doing it.”

For those like Cullen who oppose Trump, it only gets worse. Marco Rubio’s underwhelming performance in New Hampshire calls into question the idea that the Florida senator might emerge as the GOP establishment’s favored alternative as the race heads for South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

Competing for the support of the same group of Republicans, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (who quit the race on Feb. 10, along with Carly Fiorina) and Rubio won enough votes combined to handily beat Trump. But as they fought among themselves — four political insiders against the lone outsider — Trump won with ease.

John Jordan, a California winery owner who runs an outside group backing Rubio, said that “candidate logjam is all going to break in one night,” and suggested that night will be March 15, when Florida is among the states to hold their presidential primaries.

“One of them will do better than the other, and it will be impossible for the relative loser to make the case to donors that he should continue,” he said, referring to the state’s native sons, Bush and Rubio. “Donors will simply move to whoever wins that state, and it will happen nearly instantly.”

But between now and March 15 is South Carolina, Nevada and the more than a dozen states that vote on March 1. That’s time that Trump and others could use to increase their support.

Despite questions about the strength of his ground game, Trump continues to hold a commanding lead in many preference polls in the South’s first primary — and he could get a bump from his New Hampshire success.

Sanders may, too, but he has much farther to climb.

South Carolina and Nevada are more racially diverse states than Iowa and New Hampshire, which should play to Clinton’s longstanding strength with minority voters.

And unlike Republicans, Democrats give hundreds of party insiders a vote at the national convention to cast as they choose.

Among those so-called superdelegates, Clinton already has a commanding 352-delegate edge. Winning the nomination requires a total of  2,382 delegates.

“This is not a two-round boxing match, it’s a 12-round boxing match,” said Bob Mulholland, a longtime California Democratic strategist. “And I want to remind everybody that the last three presidents came in second in New Hampshire — Clinton, Bush and Obama.”

Rubio campaign reeling after sharp attacks during last Republican debate

Marco Rubio faced withering criticism of his readiness to be president and his policy depth in the last Republican debate before tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other candidates launched an aggressive campaign to slow the Florida senator’s rise.

Rubio’s responded with an uneven performance on Saturday night that could hurt his bid to emerge as an alternative to Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. If anything, his showing gave new hope to Christie, Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, all of whom need strong finishes in New Hampshire to keep their White House bids afloat.

Cruz, the Iowa caucuses winner, also took criticism at the debate for controversial political tactics, with one candidate disparaging him for having “Washington ethics” and being willing to test the campaign’s legal limits.

New Hampshire’s primary could further winnow an already shrinking GOP field or leave the primary muddled. Hard-fought, expensive and far-ranging, the campaign has become a fight for the future of the Republican Party, though the direction the GOP will ultimately take remains deeply uncertain.

Rubio, a first-term senator from Florida, has sought to appeal both to mainstream Republicans and those eager to upend the status quo. But his rivals, particularly Christie, have been blistering in their criticism of what they see as his slim qualifications to serve as commander-in-chief.

“You have not been involved in a consequential decision where you had to be held accountable,” Christie said. “You just simply haven’t.”

Christie has built his closing argument around his criticism of Rubio, and he kept up that approach on the debate stage. He accused the senator of being a candidate governed by talking points — then pounced when the senator played into his hands by repeating multiple times what appeared to be a planned response to criticisms about his qualifications.

“That’s what Washington D.C. does,” Christie said. “The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him.”

Rubio wavered in defending his decision to walk away from the sweeping immigration bill he originally backed in the Senate — perhaps the legislation he’s most closely associated with — and said he wouldn’t pursue similar legislation as president.

“We can’t get that legislation passed,” Rubio said of the bill that would have provided a pathway to citizenship for millions of people in the United States illegally. The senator found his footing later in the debate when outlining his call for more aggressive action to fight the Islamic State and emphasizing his anti-abortion stance.

Cruz was the victor in Iowa, triumphing over billionaire Trump by drawing heavily on the support of evangelical voters. But he’s faced criticism for messages his campaign sent to voters ahead of the caucuses saying rival Ben Carson — another favorite of religious conservatives — was dropping out and urging the retired neurosurgeon’s supporters to back him instead.

Cruz apologized for his campaign’s actions Saturday, but not before Carson jabbed him for having “Washington ethics.”

Those ethics, he said, “say if it’s legal, you do what you do to win.”

Trump was back on the debate stage after skipping the last contest before the Iowa caucuses. After spending the past several days disputing his second-place finish in Iowa, he sought to refocus on the core messages of his campaign, including blocking Muslims from coming to the U.S. and deporting all people in the country illegally, all while maintaining he has the temperament to serve as president.

“When I came out, I hit immigration, I hit it very hard,” Trump said. “Everybody said, ‘Oh, the temperament,’ because I talked about illegal immigration.”

Kasich, who has staked his White House hopes on New Hampshire, offered a more moderate view on immigration, though one that’s unpopular with many GOP primary voters. He said that if elected president, he would introduce legislation that would provide a pathway to legalization, though not citizenship, within his first 100 days in office.

The debate began shortly after North Korea defied international warnings and launched a long-range rocket that the United Nations and others call a cover for a banned test of technology for a missile that could strike the U.S. mainland.

Asked how he would respond to North Korea’s provocations, Bush said he would authorize a pre-emptive strike against such rockets if it was necessary to keep America safe. Cruz demurred, saying he wouldn’t speculate about how he’d handle the situation without a full intelligence briefing. And Trump said he’d rely on China to “quickly and surgically” handle North Korea.

Associated Press writer Holly Ramer in Concord, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.

GOP candidates reach out to poor voters but have nothing to offer them

Republican presidential candidates said Saturday their party must do more to convince poor Americans that conservative policy — and not an active federal government — will expand economic opportunity.

But the White House hopefuls, addressing a conservative economic forum in the early voting state of South Carolina, didn’t agree on the details and had nothing new or specific to offer other than their wish that poor people would vote for them.

Moderated by House Speaker Paul Ryan, the event gave a half dozen candidates the chance to champion long-standing conservative ideas about alleviating poverty, such as letting states spend federal money on safety net programs without federal strings. That’s already happening in Wisconsin, where Republicans have started testing food stamp recipients for alcohol and drugs and have created lists of what they can and cannot buy with public assistance.

Ryan also said that spending public money on independent charter schools and providing vouchers for private-school tuition would help the poor, although many such schools are run as for-profits and have lower standards and success rates than public schools. In addition, in many cases vouchers do not cover the entire tuition at good schools and poor people can’t afford to pay the difference, as wealthy and middle-class parents can.

For the past 30 years, conservative Republicans have said that eliminating taxes on corporations and the wealthy would help the poor, but that approach known popularly as “trickle-down” economics, has had the opposite effect. The gap between rich and poor is wider than it’s ever been. In states such as Wisconsin that have provided generous tax cuts to the wealthy, the middle class is shrinking at historically high rates.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie bragged that he doubled a key tax credit for low-income workers in his state, but he met opposition from 2016 rival Ben Carson, who countered that the federal Earned Income Tax Credit is a “manipulation” of the tax code.

Carson calls for an across-the-board tax rate, with no deductions or credits for any household or business. He criticized progressive income tax rates — the framework that has endured though decades of Republican and Democratic administration. “That’s called socialism,” he said. “That doesn’t work in America.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee pitched his “fair tax,” a single-rate consumption tax to replace all other taxes on wages, investments and inheritance. “It’s a powerful unlocking of the economy,” Huckabee said. However, he said he would allow something similar to the Earned Income Tax Credit to ease the tax burden on low-income households.

Responding to Carson, Christie said he does not necessarily prefer the complications of the existing tax code. “If we were starting from the beginning … we could do things a lot differently,” Christie said. But, “We have to be practical.”

Missing from the lineup Saturday were two leading GOP contenders: businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

During his remarks, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was interrupted multiple times by protesters angry about his immigration policy.

“He has brought fear to our community and we are here to tell him that our community needs to be treated with respect and dignity,” said Yadira Dument of New York, one of several protesters escorted from the forum by police and security guards. As a pair of protesters shouted, Rubio said, “We are going to enforce our immigration laws.”

Rubio was key in a bipartisan effort to overhaul immigration law in the past, but he backed away from the initiative when it failed to pass in 2013. Now, as a presidential candidate in a party whose grassroots voters support deporting Latino immigrants and building a wall on the Mexican border, he’s running away from it.

The conference came as Republicans try to improve their standing among poor Americans, who favored President Barack Obama in 2012, according to surveys of voters leaving the polling station.

Ryan said the old “War on Poverty,” a phalanx of government programs largely from Democratic administrations, “has been a stalemate.” Conservatism, he argued, “can open up a renaissance,” dismantling a system that “isolates the poor.”

He failed to explain, however, what he would do differently that might realistically help the poor.

About one in seven people lives below the federal poverty rate, which in 2014 was measured at about $19,000 per year for a two-parent household with one child, the government says.

The candidates Saturday mostly agreed that traditional welfare discourages work. They also rejected a minimum-wage increase and said the private sector and religious community should take on more responsibility for fighting poverty, but couldn’t say how the former tactic would work or how the latter one would be encouraged.

“Compassion is not measured by how much money you spend in Washington,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush contended. Instead, he said, “It’s acting on your sense of consciousness.” But considering the excesses of Wall Street and corporate America, it seems obvious that a sense of consciousness exists in the most influential sectors, which are overwhelmingly Republican.

Bush has proposed eliminating several federal programs and shifting money to states in the form of block grants to help poor families. He hasn’t explained how this would improve on the current system.

Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich said the federal government should empower states, but Christie said Obama “doesn’t trust governors,” Democratic or Republican, to enact locally tailored programs. Perhaps that’s because Republican states have ignored the poor and dismantled programs to help them.

Christie said his party must reach out in ways it hasn’t. “We need to be going into African-American churches … into the Hispanic community,” he said. “We need to go there, show up and campaign in places where we are uncomfortable.”

That last confession, perhaps, was the most genuine thing said on Saturday afternoon.

The guest lineups for Sunday news shows

The guest lineups for the Sunday TV news shows include:

ABC’s “This Week” – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump; Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders; Reps. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif.; Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

NBC’s “Meet the Press” – Trump, Sanders; Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina; Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

CBS’ “Face the Nation” – Trump; Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

CNN’s “State of the Union” – Trump; Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul.

“Fox News Sunday” – Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie; Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas.

Christie, Huckabee bumped from main stage at Milwaukee GOP debate

Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee have been bumped from the main stage at the GOP presidential debate in Milwaukee on Nov. 10.

George Pataki and Lindsey Graham have been cut from the lineup altogether. 

Debate sponsor Fox Business Network announced the moves earlier this week, dealing a blow to Christie and Huckabee as they struggled to stand out in the crowded Republican field amid signs of momentum in states where the first primary contests will be held.

The decision underscores concerns about the pivotal role that national opinion surveys have been playing in shaping the contest for the GOP nomination. Statistically, pollsters say, there is no significant difference between candidates lumped together near the bottom of the pack in national polls, which typically have a margin of error of 3 percentage points or more.

“I tell people, ‘Ignore the national polls and just follow those early states,”’ said Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who argues that early opinion surveys are notoriously unreliable. “Except that now national polls drive the debates, and debates drive the polling.”

According to debate criteria issued by Fox Business last week, candidates must score 2.5 percent or higher in an average of the four most recent major polls conducted through Nov. 4 to be featured in the prime-time debate. They must hit the 1 percent mark to qualify for an undercard debate airing before the main event.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry provides a cautionary tale of the potential impact. Fundraising dollars dried up after Perry was relegated to the undercard debate earlier in the year.

Pataki, the former New York governor, and Graham, a South Carolina senator, already faced a tough road to the GOP nomination. Their omission even from the undercard debates will make it even harder for them to convince voters — and donors — they have a viable path to the nomination.

“It is ironic that the only veteran in the race is going to be denied a voice the day before Veterans Day,” Graham campaign manager Christian Ferry said in a statement. “In the end, the biggest loser tonight is the American people and the Republican presidential primary process that has been hijacked by news outlets.”

Pataki spokeswoman Alicia Preston said the focus on national polling undermined candidates’ efforts in the early-voting states where they spend much of their time.

“National news networks are doing the job that has always been left to the people in individual states like New Hampshire,” she said. “It’s the voters’ right and responsibility to choose candidates. This national focus diminishes the significance of the Primary process.”

Vetting the 2016 presidential candidates? | You might be surprised at the top Google search questions

Google is compiling the most frequently asked questions posed to the search engine about presidential candidates.

During the summer, here were the top queries about each contender.

How tall is Jeb Bush?

Who is Ben Carson?

Who is Lincoln Chafee?

How tall is Chris Christie?

How old is Hillary Clinton?

How can Ted Cruz run?

How old is Carly Fiorina?

Who is Jim Gilmore?

Who is Lindsey Graham?

How old is Mike Huckabee?

Where was Bobby Jindal born?

How tall is John Kasich?

Is Martin O’Malley a Democrat or Republican?

How tall is George Pataki?

How tall is Rand Paul?

How old is Rick Perry?

How old is Marco Rubio?

How old is Bernie Sanders?

Where is Rick Santorum from?

How old is Donald Trump?

How old is Scott Walker?

Who is Jim Webb? 

Sunday TV news show lineups

Guest lineups for Sunday TV news shows:

ABC’s This Week: Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Donald Trump; New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

NBC’s Meet the Press: Republican presidential candidates John Kasich and Ben Carson; JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

CBS’ Face the Nation: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton; Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul.

CNN’s State of the Union: Kasich; Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie.

Fox News Sunday: Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina; Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington; Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman.

Sunday morning TV news lineup includes Scott Walker on ‘Meet the Press’

Guest lineups for the Sunday TV news shows:

ABC’s This Week: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders; Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal; Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

NBC’s Meet the Press: Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker.

CBS’ Face the Nation: Jindal; Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans.

CNN’s State of the Union: Sanders; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

Fox News Sunday: Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie.