Entries in Sandy (6)


Chris Christie Says He’d Like Congress to Listen

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was cautiously optimistic on Wednesday morning that Congress will be able to pass a federal relief aid for the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

“I met with the congressional delegation yesterday, I’m hopeful,” he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America.  “But at the end of the day, it’s never done ’till it’s done. ...It’s never done ’till it’s done but I’m going to keep the pressure on.”

Christie, who had particularly pointed criticism at House Republicans after the relief bill was held up in the lower chamber, said that Sandy was “above politics,” and he hopes that both parties can learn to rise above, and learn to listen.

“Sandy is and was above politics.  There are certain things that happen in our lives that have to be above politics and both parties should rise above, as hard as that is for them sometimes,” he said.  “I’d like them to learn to listen.  Listen to people in my state, listen to the people in the state of New York.  They’re suffering, they’re hurting, and they don’t understand why they’ve had to wait seven times longer than the victims of Katrina to get any federal aid.”

Christie also discussed the question of gun control in the wake of the tragedy last month in Newtown, Conn., saying that an assault weapons ban has to be part of a larger conversation.

“We have one here,” he said.  “I think that’s got to be part of the entire conversation.  But if you stop there…You’re short changing the problem.”

The governor left the door open on his 2016 plans, saying his political focus right now is on his re-election campaign in New Jersey.

“You know, anybody who tries to plan four years from now, George, you know, is crazy. The fact of the matter is I’m going to follow the advice my mother gave me, which is to do the job that you have right now as well as you can do it and the future will take care of itself,” Christie said.  “What I want to do now is be the governor of New Jersey, as I said, for the last three years, I’d like to do it for the next four.”

However, Christie said he believes he will be more prepared to run in 2016 than he was in 2012.

“I will be more ready than I was in 2012 because I will have done my job for longer and hopefully gotten better,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


After Sandy, Chris Christie Says NJ Is 'Model' for How Government Should Work

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that rebuilding New Jersey after superstorm Sandy's devastation had to be his priority and called on Congress to swiftly approve disaster aid, at the same time praising both friends and foes in the state legislature for working together in the aftermath of the storm.

"You have helped define New Jersey as a community, one which -- when faced with adversity -- rolls up its sleeves, gets back to work, and in word and deed shows that New Jersey will never, ever give up," Christie said of his fellow New Jerseyans in his annual state of the state address in Trenton.

"One thing I hope everyone in America now clearly understands -- New Jersey, both Republicans and Democrats, will never stand silent when our citizens are being short-changed," he said.

He said the superstorm that devastated the state was "above politics" and he now looks forward "to what we hope will be quick congressional action on a full, clean Sandy aid bill -- now, next week -- and to enactment by the president."

Christie urged Washington, D.C., to deliver quick financial relief to the state in a speech that was at times reminiscent of the angry dressing down he gave members of his own party, notably House Speaker John Boehner last week, when Boehner decided not to bring a $60 billion Sandy aid bill to the floor, despite assuring northeastern Republicans he would.

"We have waited 72 days, seven times longer than victims of Hurricane Katrina waited," Christie said. "The people of New Jersey are in need and not from their own actions but from an act of God that delivered a natural, human, and financial disaster -- and let me say on behalf of all New Jerseyans we are thankful to the people of America for honoring the tradition of providing relief."

He said it could take "years to repair" some of the devastation in his state and touted his state's bipartisanship, digging the federal government to do the same. He even praised his foes in the state legislature, including Democratic State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who just a day before accused Christie of "pray(ing)" for the storm to hit New Jersey.

"We are working together, not just as a people, in digging out from Sandy and rebuilding our economy," Christie said. "Here in Trenton, in this chamber, we have had our fights. We have stuck to our principles. But we have established a governing model for the nation that shows that, even with heartfelt beliefs, bipartisan compromise is possible. Achievement is the result. And progress for our people is the payoff."

"The folks in Washington, in both parties could learn something from our record here," Christie, who is considered a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, said.

Congress approved $9.7 billion last week to help pay for Sandy-related insurance claims, and Boehner promised a second vote on disaster relief would be held on Jan. 15.

Sandy slammed into New Jersey on Oct. 29, killing more than 125 people and causing billions of dollars in damage. In the days after the storm and before the election, Christie stood with President Obama and praised him, irking some Republicans in the process.

Christie singled out specific New Jersey residents in his speech -- who were also in the audience -- for going beyond the call of duty as the storm hit the state, such as Marsha Hedgepeth, an emergency room technician in Toms River who swam and then hitchhiked with a utility worker from Michigan in order to get to her hospital and put in a 12-hour shift.

After the address, state Democrats responded that while they agree with the Republican governor that there is much rebuilding to do, they criticized Christie for solely focusing on storm recovery and glossing over the state's economic problems.

"I believe that as government leaders we have the responsibility to be able to address more than one problem at a time," Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald said. "The governor must stand with us to recognize that after the first three years of his administration, in the policies of his economic recovery, the numbers don't ring true."

In a Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll released Monday, 73 percent of registered voters approved of the job their governor was doing.

In November, Christie officially announced his intention to run for re-election and in the 36-day period afterwards he hauled in more than $2.1 million.

In the survey, Christie also comes out on top against his opponents and potential opponents. Christie bests state senator Barbara Buono, who announced her bid last month, with 64 percent to 21 percent. He tops state senator Richard Codey, who served as the state's interim governor for 14 months after the 2004 resignation of Gov. Jim McGreevey, 59 percent to 26 percent. Up against Sweeney, Christie was picked 65 percent to 19 percent.

Neither Sweeney or Codey have announced campaigns, but have said they are considering bids for governor.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Chris Christie Foe Claims Governor ‘Prayed’ for Superstorm Sandy

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Hours before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was scheduled to give his state of the state address Tuesday afternoon, a political opponent claimed the tough-talking governor “prayed and got lucky” that superstorm Sandy slammed into the Garden State and drove attention away from the New Jersey economy.

In a news conference Monday, Democratic State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who has talked about taking Christie on in the 2013 gubernatorial race, referred to the state’s high unemployment rate and Christie’s jobs record while making the Sandy dig.

“His jobs package is a hurricane. I guess he prayed a lot and got lucky that a storm came,” said Sweeney, according to

Sweeney then immediately followed up the attack, saying, “I shouldn’t say that. I apologize for saying that.”

Christie’s office responded to Sweeney’s attack by saying, “It was shocking to hear Sen. Sweeney reduce Hurricane Sandy and its devastation to a heartless partisan attack.”

“Ask the thousands of New Jerseyans whose homes or businesses were destroyed or damaged if they view Hurricane Sandy as a partisan political issue, or if this is what they want to hear from their leaders at this time of recovery as we fight for disaster aid in Washington,” Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said in a statement. “No one ‘prayed’ for what New Jersey has endured.”

Drewniak added that Sweeney’s comment was “politics at its worst,” and that Sweeney should be “ashamed” and apologize to the state.

Last week, Christie, who is considered a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, drew attention for blasting members of his own party for abandoning a $60 billion relief bill for Sandy victims.

Sweeney’s “prebuttal” to Christie’s address this afternoon immediately drew attacks from Republicans around the state and took away from the main focus of the news conference, which was to  draw attention to the state’s 9.6 percent unemployment rate, the fourth highest in the nation.

Sweeney said he has seriously considered jumping into the Democratic primary to challenge Christie. State Sen. Barbara Buono, who has been in state government for 20 years, has already announced her intention to run. There had been speculation that Newark Mayor Cory Booker would also jump into the race, but Booker  announced a run for U.S. Senate instead. Last week, Christie’s campaign announced it had hauled in more than $2 million in a 36-day period since the governor announced a run for re-election.

Sweeney did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


White House Seeks $60.4 Billion for Sandy Recovery

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration has formally asked Congress for $60.4 billion in additional federal emergency aid for states hit by superstorm Sandy.

That is above the $50 billion figure floated earlier in the week as a possible request, but still below the amount sought by many states still reeling from the devastation.

“Today’s agreement … will enable our states to recover, repair and rebuild better and stronger than before,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in a joint statement. Both men visited Washington this week to ask for the funds.

The request was made Friday in a letter from OMB director Jeff Zeints to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. The money, if approved, will be directed toward rebuilding homes and public infrastructure in affected communities.

“Our nation has an obligation to assist those who suffered losses and who lack adequate resources to rebuild their lives. At the same time, we are committed to ensuring Federal resources are used responsibly and that the recovery effort is a shared undertaking,” wrote Zients.

“Private insurers must fulfill their commitment to the region; public assistance must be targeted for public benefit; resources must be directed to those in greatest need; and impacted States and localities must contribute, as appropriate, to the costs of rebuilding,” he said.

Zients wrote that the administration believes Sandy is on track to be the second or third most costly natural disaster in U.S. history, behind Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Read the full letter and breakdown of funds by federal agency.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Invokes Superstorm Sandy on the Campaign Trail

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) – After canceling campaign events for three days to oversee the response to the devastating storm, President Obama, back on the trail, told supporters in two key battleground states Thursday that Superstorm Sandy serves as a reminder that “when disaster strikes, we see America at its best.”

“All the petty differences that consume us in normal times somehow melt away,” the president told 4,500 Nevadans at a rally in Las Vegas. “There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm, just fellow Americans, leaders of different parties working to fix what’s broken, neighbors helping neighbors cope with tragedy, communities rallying to rebuild, a spirit that says, In the end we’re all in this together, that we rise or fall as one nation.”

The storm provided Obama with a chance to showcase bipartisan leadership in the final run-up to the election and to cast himself as a take-charge commander-in-chief.

He spent Wednesday touring damaged areas with Republican New Jersey governor and prominent Romney-backer Chris Christie. In a show of bipartisanship, and a budding political “bromance,” the president and Christie have publicly praised the others’ preparation for and response to the hurricane.

On Thursday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Obama for a second term, citing climate change and saying Sandy “brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief.”

“We are awed by the destructive power of nature. We’re mourning those who’ve been lost. And we’re — we’re going to pledge to those whose lives have been turned upside down that we will not quit until we have given them all the help they need to recover,” the president said in Las Vegas.

As he flew to Nevada from his first post-Sandy campaign event in Wisconsin, the president called state and local officials responding to the storm from Air Force One.

“The thing that I repeated to them every time that I talk to them is, America will not forget them. We are going to make sure they get everything they need. We’re going to cut through the red tape and the bureaucracy,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NJ Gov. Chris Christie Lauded for Storm Efforts

Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has earned high marks for his handling of the unprecedented disaster his state has witnessed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, assuring his constituents with his trademark bluntness and aplomb.

The governor has been praised for appearing in control of the situation, rattling off numbers about customers without power and the status of search and rescue operations, and lauded for his willingness to put aside politics just a week before Election Day.

The storm, which has affected seven states and left more than 30 people dead and millions without power, offers a rare opportunity to test our leaders and compare them side by side.

While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg each project his own brand of command – Cuomo comes off as cool under pressure and Bloomberg as a tough but loving manager – Christie with his extra-large podium and outsize  personality seems to be winning people over by just being his brassy self.

“I’m sure that while the national election is obviously very important, that the people of New Jersey, in this moment, would really be unhappy with me if they thought for a second I was occupying my time thinking about how I was going to get people to vote a week from today,” Christie told reporters Tuesday.

“So, I don’t give a damn about Election Day. It doesn’t matter a lick to me at the moment. I have much bigger fish to fry than that,” he said, before boarding a helicopter to assess the damage along the Jersey shore.

He took that sentiment even further Tuesday morning on Good Morning America, praising President Obama, despite Christie’s active support for Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

“I have to say, the administration, the president himself and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate have been outstanding with us so far,” Christie said.

But lest Christie be accused of being too soft, he has done plenty of chops busting too.

“It’s just stupid,” Christie said Monday, chastising both coastal residents who did not heed his warning to evacuate and the mayor of Atlantic City who offered them shelter.

“They are now in harm’s way,” he said. “These decisions were both stupid and selfish.”

The nattering classes from both sides of the aisle are each celebrating Christie via Twitter.

“Maybe it turns out that Christie is the October Surprise,” tweeted liberal New York magazine columnist Frank Rich.

“Kudos to Gov. Christie for putting people first as chief executive,” wrote Liddy Huntsman, daughter of onetime Republican presidential candidate John Huntsman.

And perhaps summing up a lot of people’s feelings, one tweeter wrote: “It’s hard to not like Chris Christie right now.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio