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Governor Chris Christie on The Kudlow Report: Part 1

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Uploaded on Jan 27, 2011

Larry Kudlow from CNBC's The Kudlow Report interviewed Governor Chris Christie at his town hall in Middletown, New Jersey. 01-27-2011. (Transcript Below)]

LARRY KUDLOW: Welcome back to "The Kudlow Report." At the top of this half hour, as we've been saying, President Obama got it wrong last night. He failed to commit to aggressive budget cuts and entitlement reform. But who has it right? New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. It's no wonder people keep mentioning him as a 2012 candidate for president. I met with the Governor earlier today just after he held a town hall in Middletown, New Jersey. In this exclusive interview he breaks news about a presidential run and also breaks news about something I have long advocated, cutting taxes across the board for businesses and individuals in the State of New Jersey to spur economic growth. Take a listen.

KUDLOW: Governor Chris Christie, welcome to "The Kudlow Report." We're honored, sir.

NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Happy to be here, Larry. Thanks.

KUDLOW: All right. I really enjoy--and I got a chance to watch you in action in this town hall meeting today with your epic battle against the teacher's union and the other state unions. But I want to ask you, did you hear any of that--President Obama's State of the Union message last night, did you hear leadership on the fiscal breakdown issues from the president?

GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: I am--I said at the town hall meeting today, I was a little disappointed--I was encourage when I heard the president say we're going to do the big things, and then I didn't really hear about the big things from a fiscal responsibility perspective; you know, a five-year freeze on domestic spending, it's a relatively small item in the grand scheme of the big problems that we have. And I didn't hear about taking on any of those really big issues from a fiscal perspective. Heard about raising taxes, which I wasn't happy about. So in that portion of the speech I was--I was disappointed in what the president had to say.

KUDLOW: I mean, you've got this budget freeze from the elevated, highly inflated baseline. The numbers come to $400 billion for the next 10 years. His own deficit commission, from Erskine Bowles and Al Simpson, their plan cut the deficit over 10 years by $4 trillion. He's like one-tenth of his own commission. I mean, would you do that as governor? I mean, that is just a paltry reaction, it seems to me, compared on the state scale. I mean, did Obama miss the boat on this? Was it--this is the day of fiscal reckoning. I didn't see any reckoning last night.

GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: Well, I think what we got to look at is what is going on in the states because it really is the canary in the coal mine for what's happening to the federal government. We in New Jersey last year had an $11 billion budget deficit that we closed by cutting spending and not by raising taxes. And that means you had to cut every department of state government. We did 90 percent year over year reduction in spending, not reduction in the increase. Real reduction dollar for dollar in spending, and we're going to continue on that path, you know, for fiscal year '12 because we just have this huge structural problem that we've created because we've overspent and we've overtaxed and we've over borrowed. And, you know, I think the president needs to look at what's happening in the states. And this is part of the job of the Republicans in the House, though, Larry. I mean, they're going to have to put a spotlight on this issue, they're going to have to remain firm and strong in their mandate that they were given by the people of this country in November, which was to rein in the size and scope of government.

KUDLOW: Have you spoken to President Obama?

GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: Yeah. I've met him a number of times.

KUDLOW: And have you talked to him about your epic battles here, and his own epic battle in Washington with respect to our bankrupt government that doesn't seem to be epic to...?

GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: We haven't had a substantive conversation like that, no. But I've met the president an number of times. We've had brief conversations, but nothing like that.

KUDLOW: Were you surprised in last night's speech--I mean, he talks about investment and competitiveness, but really he's spending even more on education, even more on energy, even more on infrastructure. Now, from the governor's standpoint, does that make any sense to you?

GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: Well, let's just get related to my own experience in New Jersey. In New Jersey, we spent $17,620 per pupil per year, the highest of any state in America. And we're not getting the results. I mean, it is not just about funding more, it is about doing better job at teaching kids. And in this area the president and I have some common agreement. I think we need to have more charter schools...

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