POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Governor says he’s old news but still draws a crowd

By David Cruz
Correspondent

“The two best times to be governor, by the way, and this should be a point of emphasis for the people who are trying to do it now, the two very best times are when you first get in and when you’re about to get out. The middle can be sketchy.”

Yes, he’s one of the most unpopular governor in New Jersey history, according to the polls, but Chris Christie still draws a crowd wherever he appears, and such was the case today in Livingston, where he was making an announcement about an expansion of the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program.

“This database is used to identify and successfully prosecute health care professionals associated with pill mills that dispense narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose,” Christie told the audience of medical professionals at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. “Today I’m pleased to announce that five state are joining this proven lifesaving network and are now actively data sharing information with us.”

Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and West Virginia, bringing the network to 12 total states. The governor also announced that the state health department will allow for expanded patient history searches so doctors can get a deeper read of a patients potential for addiction. But, as is often the case with Christie appearances, the governor came ready to answer questions unrelated to the subject at hand, in this case the president’s new pick for FBI director.

“Christopher Wray is the gold standard, and the president deserves extraordinary credit for going through a really deliberative process and coming to the conclusion of picking not a politician, but a law enforcement professional who has the respect from both sides of the aisle,” he said. “When I had to retain legal counsel during a very, very troubling, confusing, difficult time for me, I made one phone call and that was to Chris Wray, so I can’t give a better recommendation than that.”

The Yale graduate was Christie’s personal attorney during the GWB lane closure scandal and was a prosecutor in the Bush 43 White House. Christie again refused to say what kind of recommendation he made to the president, but was happy to talk about the upcoming governor’s race on the day after he said he voted for Kim Guadagno.

Asked if he was over hyping the importance of this gubernatorial election since it’s the only one this year, along with Virginia, Christie said, “Sure, you always do. You always over hype it because there’s only two races and my guess is that you’ll continue to over hype it but that’s OK. These guys have been the nominees for less than 24 hours. Campaigns are determined by the candidates and the level of excitement that occurs and the level of newsworthiness that occurs, depends on the candidates, their ideas and how they present themselves.”

It was clear, though, that the governor is thinking about his place in history.

“I’m the only person in the history of the state who’s been U.S. attorney and governor and held those for 16 consecutive years. I do feel a little bit old. I mean, I got sworn in as U.S. Attorney when I was 39 years old,” he noted.

The governor said he was old news, but judging by the size of the audience inside and the size of the gaggle outside, the governor is still the biggest political attraction in the state. At least for now.