New Jersey GOP gubernatorial candidate Christopher Christie appeared on Hannity alongside former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a possible candidate for Governor of New York himself, and pledged to lead a resurgence of the Republican Party in the northeast. His prescription is an approach that emphasizes traditional conservative ideas of low taxes and spending cuts.
We've got to get back to basics as a party. [When] we put good candidates up to talk about our core principles...that's a winning argument. And especially in a place like New Jersey where people are suffocating. There suffocating from the taxation."
Giuliani agreed, saying that Christie's core conservative message, coupled with a strong effort in the Virginia governor's race, will set the table for a Republican comeback in the 2010 Congressional elections. "We did it in 1994. This is how a political party comes back, with good candidates that can win." Christie seems to be making good on that promise. The most recent polling shows him maintaining a nine point advantage over incumbent Governor Jon Corzine (D).
Christie pressed his advantage against Corzine in answering a question on the issues that are motiviating New Jerseyans to give his campaign a close look. He hit Corzine on the twin issues of taxes and spending, calling the governor's economic proposals, "crazy."
"Jon Corzine is proposing to raise taxes next year $2 billion, while people can't pay their mortgages, they're losing their homes, losing their jobs, and he won't cut the state payroll by one person.
Tens of thousands of people are losing their jobs in the private sector, and he's raising taxes to keep every one of those public sector people employed. Crazy."
Demonstrating his commitment to holding the budget line, Christie aligned himself with staunch conservative Republican governors Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, and Mark Sanford who have all refused to accept parts President Barack Obama's federal stimulus handouts to fill gaps in the budget.
HANNITY: What do you think of some of these governors who aren't taking some of the stimulus money: Gov. Palin, Sanford, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, what do you think of that?
CHRISTIE: I think it makes sense. If they're [the federal government] going to put strings on that money, tie your hands, make you expand programs, and not have the freedom of choice that the people elected you for, then you shouldn't take the money.
There was not much discussion on social issues, but Christie did declare himself to be pro-life, saying, "I believe that protecting the sanctity of human life is...very important."
It was a good performance for Christie, who despite being a very active U.S. Attorney in Newark, still needs to raise his profile among the voting public. He presented a calm and intelligence demeanor, attacked Corzine on his weaknesses, taxes and spending, and demonstrated a commitment to turning New Jersey around.
New Jersey's Republican primary election is June 2. Christie is expected to easily beat a spiritied challenge from former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan for the right to take on Corzine in the fall. In this interview, Christie showed himself to be mopre than prepared to take on the governor, and lead New Jersey and national Republicans in a possible resurgence this November.