We don’t hear Chris Christie’s name floated much as a vice presidential candidate much any more, although as an early Mitt Romney supporter that possibility always exists. But the role we’d most like to see for Christie in a potential Romney administration? Press Secretary. Think about it. Sure, it’s a step down is responsibility from being governor of New Jersey. But think of the thousand or so press briefings we’d get over a four-year span. That’s gold, my friends. And let this serve as a prime example.
The bad blood between New Jersey’s leading elected officials — Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg — spilled into the open again today, this time over the proposed takeover of Rutgers-Camden by Rowan University.
Within minutes of stepping in front of a town hall audience in Manchester, Christie lit into Lautenberg, who has sent letters to state and federal officials questioning the controversial plan.
Dismissing the veteran senator with a lash of the tongue, Christie said: “We’re not going to listen to partisan hacks like Frank Lautenberg. He should be ashamed of himself.”
But a spokesman for Lautenberg, Caley Gray, said the senator raised “reasonable questions about the impact of the merger.”
Gray accused Christie of teaming up with Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and his South Jersey ally, the Democractic powerbroker George Norcross, “to launch a personal attack campaign on Senator Lautenberg to distract from the backroom merger deal that they’re trying to keep hidden from the public.”
Norcross is chairman of Cooper Health Systems, which is partners with Rowan in a medical school to open in the fall in Camden.
It’s not the first time Christie and Lautenberg have traded punches in public. When the governor announced in 2010 that he was scrapping construction of a Hudson River tunnel. Lautenberg called the decision “one of the biggest policy blunders in New Jersey’s history.”
Since then Christie has called Lautenberg someone who can only “blow hot air,” and the senator has referred to Christie as “the king of liars.”
Who are you going to take in a public slapfight, the burly governor who can quip with the best of them or a senator whose best days passed him by around 1950? I know where my money is.
And putting an even finer point on his insults, Christie said some people say the 88-year-old Lautenberg should retire.
“Let me say this, I don’t disagree,” he said.
Believe it or not, Lautenberg actually plans on running again in 2014. Here’s the video: