ELECTIONS

Assembly GOP Leader Says Voters Choose Candidate, Not Party Platform

All week, New Jersey Republicans have been weighing in on the Democratic National Convention. Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that while President Barack Obama is a great speaker, his policies haven’t worked. He also discussed the Republican platform and his take on Gov. Chris Christie’s keynote address at the Republican National Convention.

Bramnick said the president is a great speaker, but hasn’t been successful. “The solutions are all government solutions and the problem has been that the solutions he’s come up with for four years really hasn’t solved the economic crisis the country’s in,” he said. “I enjoy listening to him and I root for him. I was rooting for him that he’d be successful the way Gov. Romney said, but statistics are against him.”

According Bramnick, Obama needs to discuss the economy because the average median household income has gone down $4,000 since he took office and 23 million people are unemployed. “What he needs to do is address an 8 percent unemployment and the statistics such as most people think America is on the wrong track,” he said. “That’s what he has to address.”

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Bramnick said the American public, particularly those who are unemployed, are somewhat angry with Obama who promised that money spent on a stimulus program would push unemployment down to 5.7 or 6 percent, not keep it at 8 percent.

“The history of President Obama even before he was president was not an economic plan or individual who was in the private sector,” Bramnick said. “So I think the choice is this. Which way do you want to go? Do you want to go in the direction President Obama’s talking about or do you want to go in a new direction facing the problems we have with the economics in this country?”

While Bramnick didn’t want to delve into the topic of infighting within the Democratic Party over the platform’s inclusion of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he said he believes the U.S. should show full support for Israel, an ally. “When you’re discussing whether or not you should give full support to Israel, I think that’s a problem for the Democratic Party,” he said.

The Republican platform has also been criticized for not appealing to Independents and moderates. Bramnick said the platform covers many issues, not all of which every Republican agrees. “I disagree with certain Republicans,” he said. “I don’t agree with everything in the platform but it is something that’s historically done.” He added that voters choose a candidate, not a party platform.

When asked about how Christie performed as the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention, Bramnick said, “This is a phenomenal communicator and every time he communicates, expectations are so high that if he’s not perfect — I thought he was great — but you’re going to pick that apart because everyone wants to find something wrong because he’s such a super star.”

Bramnick said he doesn’t believe Christie has been negatively affected by any criticism of his keynote address. “I don’t think he gets affected by much,” Bramnick said. “I think he’s pretty strong minded.”