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Governor Christie on Occupy Wall Street Protests: I Understand Why They Are Frustrated

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Uploaded on Oct 18, 2011

Kearfott Town Hall. October 17, 2011 (Transcript Below)

QUESTION: What do you feel about the protesters in Washington and New York City?
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: Well, listen, there are some folks who are protesting across the street from the Statehouse in Trenton. I hear it too. So I see them when I'm leaving at night and when I come in the morning. Listen, I think if you look at the Occupy Wall Street folks, and the Tea Party folks, that they come from the same perspective. They just have different solutions. What they're saying is the government's not working for me anymore. The government is not being fair. The government is not helping me in the way that government should. The Tea Party folks have one set of solutions for that problem. The Occupy Wall Street guys have a totally different set of solutions. Probably 180 degrees different. I don't happen to agree with the solutions of the Occupy Wall Street guys, but what I will tell you is I understand why they're angry. You look at what's happening down in Washington, DC, it should disgust all of us. The President is unwilling to drag people to the same room and bang heads and force solutions. You have congressmen of both parties who won't talk to each other, won't have a civil word for each other, to get anything done while at the same time you have people around the country who are suffering. And they're playing games in Washington, DC. So I understand why the Occupy Wall Street people sprung up while two years ago the Tea Party sprung up, because they're frustrated with what government is doing and not doing on their behalf. So even though if you told a Tea Party guy and an Occupy Wall Street guy that they were the same, they'd hate you. Right? Because a lot of people think the Tea Party are the worst people in the world and vice versa. But their frustration comes from the same place. Their solutions are different. So I think as a country you better listen to both of those sides. Not to their solutions necessarily. Some of them I like; some of them I don't like. But to why they're in the street, government has become dysfunctional, and listen, I'm a Republican and I have a Democratic Legislature. We don't always agree. In fact we disagree a lot, and with me and the Senate President we often disagree loudly with each other. But when push comes to shove we get things done. I realize that while I won't compromise my principles, I can't get everything I want. You have all decided you want a Democratic Legislature and a Republican Governor. OK. What you're telling me, just by that act, you're telling me, hey Chris, compromise. Find a way to compromise to get things done. It's unacceptable for government to say we can't get anything done. And as Governor, and I think as President, the people who are the executives, you have the obligation, you're the person who everybody in New Jersey elects, he's the one person everybody in America elects. He's the one who's responsible just like I'm the one who's responsible for getting things done, putting people in a room and banging heads together and saying hey people expect us to get something done, to compromise. We've done that in New Jersey. All the things I've talked about we've done. Balancing those budgets, capping property taxes, capping interest arbitration, pension and health benefit reform, have all been bipartisan. I couldn't do it without Democratic support. Why can't they figure out how to do that in Washington? I think that's where that frustration is coming from. I think that's why people look at New Jersey in a positive way right now. Because unlike some of the other states like Wisconsin and Michigan and Ohio, all Republicans, or New York, where it's almost all Democrat, and you expect them to agree with each other, in New Jersey we have split government and yet we're working well together.

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