N.J. Governor Chris Christie has reportedly already attended out-of-state presidential campaign events on 141 days in 2015 so far.
A report by New Jersey Watchdog’s Mark Lagerkvist, in which he refers to Governor Christie as a “virtual phantom in the Garden State” since his presidential campaign began earlier this year, notes that a brief Tuesday speech at a N.J. hospital to draw attention to a drug addiction task force that he launched last year was Christie’s first in-state appearance as governor in 51 days.
Though NJTV News characterized Christie’s appearance on Tuesday in the above-embedded video as about “drug addiction and not about presidential politics,” Christie’s speech touted his record on drug treatment and included some of the same rhetoric that he used during an exchange with Senator Paul, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina about drug addiction at last week’s CNN Republican presidential debate.
“I often tease some of my friends in the Republican party who join me as being someone who believes in life and being pro-life, first of all you got to be pro-life for longer than just when they’re in the womb… And we have to be pro-life for the folks, like the 16-year-old drug addict laying on the floor of the county lock up,” said Christie at Tuesday’s speech.
NJTV News pointed out that Christie “was in a big hurry, as he did not answer any questions on his way in and out of [Tuesday’s] event.”
During CNN’s September 16 Republican presidential debate, Christie also emphasized his record on drug treatment to defend himself against accusations that he would lock up medical marijuana patients as president. Said Christie at the debate, “New Jersey is the first state in the nation that now says if you are a non-violent, non-dealing drug user that you don’t go to jail for your first offense, you go to mandatory treatment. You see… I’m pro life, and I think you need to be pro life for more than just the time in the womb… when there’s a 16-year-old addict in the floor of the county lock up, that life is just as precious as the life in the womb.”
Whether intended or not, Christie’s first appearance in-state as governor in 51 days also helped emphasize a part of his record that he recently injected into his 2016 presidential campaign messaging.
The Star Ledger’s Paul Mulshine wrote, “Whenever the governor is out of state… Kim Guadagno steps up from her post as lieutenant governor to assume the duties. Theoretically she could sign bills, issue executive orders and so on. She doesn’t, of course, but she could do so under our constitution. As of Tuesday, 265 days had passed in 2015. Guadagno held the title of governor for at least part of 141 of them. That’s well more than half. Meanwhile the governor has been governor for only 124 full days so far this year, or about four of nine months.”
Mulshine also questioned whether a Christie gaffe at CNN’s Republican presidential debate in which he said “when I was governor” was a “Freudian slip.”
Governor Christie, who appointed a new state comptroller on Tuesday, says that he is able to keep up with his duties as governor remotely via internet, email, and telephone.
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