Chris Christie Talks Politics, Taxes, Tesla And More

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CNBC’s John Harwood asks New Jersey Governor Chris Christie if he’s leaning towards running for president in 2016 at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha Conference.

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Chris Christie: Not thinking presidential run now


i know you haven’t decided and if you have i wouldn’t expect you to announce it here. that’s good. knowing what you know right now are you leaning towards it? are you thinking it’s likely to happen? this is another way of asking the question, isn’t it? yes. are you leaning? yeah. it’s another way to ask the question. no i’m not leaning. i’m not leaning in any way. i’m not giving it a lot of thought. i’m chairman of the republican governor’s association. my job is to elect as many republican governors as i can. i don’t have a 527 or a super p.a.c. or a c 4. we’re in the second half of 2014. if you’re going to do it — i’m aware. listen, let’s face it the folks who are leaning or actually doing stuff right now are oftentimes who folks don’t know that well. i suffer from a lot of things, that’s not one of them. i’m in no rush to make those decisions. i got a pretty busy day job as governor of new jersey and i’ve got, you know, a busy job politically as chairman of the rga. 37 governor races across the country. when do you have to decide? end of this year beginning of next. zion my own. whether i would tell you or anybody else at that point i’m not so sure about the timing of that. that’s more of a political judgment than it is a core judgment about whether you really want to do that or not. i’ve been clear. i certainly will consider it but whether i do it or not is something i honestly don’t know yet. i think people say that all the time. and folks are fairly cynical. oh, yeah he knows what he’s going to do. i don’t know what i’m going to do. if you have four relatively younger children like we have from 20 to 11, there’s a lot to consider in doing this on a personal level. putting aside the politics. so, you know, we’ll decide. i’ll decide coming year. let’s talk about your party

Chris Christie: Just be yourself

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie discusses divides in the GOP, saying the democrats have the “same problems.”


let’s talk about your party and what you or any presidential candidate faces if they decide to lead that party nationally. pew research center did a study and on the republican side you have a split between your business republicans who are all the people in this room, and your populace or tea party republicans, these guys have the money, the populace group has more votes. when you look attitudes on issues there are stark divisions. populists say international trade is bad for the country. business republicans say it’s good. populists say don’t even think about cutting social security. business republicans say of course we have to do that. immigration, populists say it’s bad. homosexuality the populist wing says not okay. people in this room, business republicans say it’s okay. how to you knit those together? carefully. listen, i think the only way to knit them together is to be yourself. every time you try to go towards one side of the party or another and the democrats have the same problems. just on different topics but the same problems. there’s always divides inside any vibrant political movement. the way to do is just be yourself. say here’s what i believe in. and, you know, try to convince people if what they are looking for is a candidate that they agree 100% of the time what they need to do is go home and look in the mirror. they are it. you are the only person you agree with 100% of the time on these issues. don’t try to be that. if you try to do that they will perceive you as a phoney and the reason they do that it’s because you are. so you shouldn’t look in their eyes and tell her i want to tell her what she wants to hear and pray to god she forgets when do i the opposite. own up to what your position are. say what they are. if that’s not good enough to win then you don’t want a governor under those circumstances anyway because you have to remember who you pretended to be yesterday and that’s not the way to govern. it’s complicated enough without trying to figure that out too.

Chris Christie: US has wretched tax system

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shares three ways the government can raise the standards of living for U.S. citizens, and help develop a vibrant economy.


we know and we’re beginning to feel again that we can make an economy produce high stock values, high corporate profits, do very well for the people who are best off in the country, the most educated. but if you were elected president, what do you do to raise the living standards of average people in this country, what’s the right approach for that? first off, the premise of the question if i were elected president pre-supposes i would actually run. it’s another way to get me into that topic. forget the president part. i would say say listen there are certain principles that help to create a vibrant economy. and i think things that we’re not doing at the moment. first off, we have a wretched tax system on the individual and corporate levels. including my state which disincentivize growth and job creation and which make us less competitive with the rest of the world. the fact is we need to get around the table and redo this tax system which i think is one of the real wet blankets on our economy. secondly, you need go through regulatory reform. in new jersey, we’ve eliminated a third of the regulations that existed and put into place by my predecessor, by governor corzine. i hear from businesses across our state what a relief that has been for them and how much easier it is to conduct business and our water and air is cleaner and there’s nothing awful happening in new jersey because we’ve decided to do regulation in a common sense way. we need to look at that federally as well if you want a vibrant growing economy in that direction. third is improving our educational system. the fact is we’ve gone from 20th to 30th in math. we’ve now gone from 10 toth 20th in reading amongst the industrialized nations. if you think we can continue that trend and still be the smartest, most competitive, most cutting-edge economy in the world, then you’re wrong. that’s why you support common core. listen, what i support is to try to change something that’s much more important than common core. the most important factor besides a family to successful education is the teacher in front of the classroom. more than anything else is what is the training and experience and effectiveness of that person standing in front of the classroom. and we have an educational system in this country that puts the comfort of adults ahead of the potential of children. what we care more about we don’t want to disturb anybody. we don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. we don’t want to say anything bad. that’s crazy. there are ineffective teachers that are protected by a tenure system that’s the essence of anti-competition. we’re for competition every where else in the world but not for compete shine the k to 12 classrooms in america. and we expect that from duce good results. it doesn’t. so from my perspective what’s the curriculum in the classroom and those other issues you first need to get to having a competitive educational system that rewards good teachers. we should have merit pay across this country and get paid more if they are good and shouldn’t have a system that allows bad teachers to be guaranteed a job for life. and if anybody in this room ran their business this way they wouldn’t be in this room. and so the fact is that if we like success around our country that’s based upon competitiveness and real vigorous back and forth that happens in that kind of circumstance, then we need to say we can manage our k-12 system. let me ask you about the

Chris Christie: Government has fundamental role

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says U.S. citizens need less government being intrusive in our lives in every way that it is.


essentially what you hear from republicans in washington is government needs to do less, needs to spend less, we need to borrow less, get out of the way. from democrats you say we need as hillary clinton in a speech recently said the building blocks of the 21st century economy. more infrastructu more science, more education and training. the difference between republicans and democrats are democrats believe that the government are the people who should be doing those things that mrs. clinton mentioned and republicans believe that the private-sector is the place that’s better to do that. that’s the fundamental core disagreement. now having run a government for five years, i agree with my party. even more. than i did before. do you see her as a big spending democratic liberal who wants to grow government. no, i think you said that. right. do you say that? no, no. listen i’m not going to get into talking about the secretary and characterizing her in anyway. let her speak for herself. my view is she said those things. then all of you out there who get to vote and judge elected officials can judge what you think that makes her. you think we need less government. what i think is we need less government being intrusive in our lives in every way that it is. now, there are absolute fundamental roles for government which is protecting the health, safety and welfare of its citizens. so i believe in a strong and vigorous national defense, i believe that government has an appropriate role in regulating different activities that go on in the country. but i think what’s happened there’s a divide between the two parties where who can do most of that best. it’s not that republicans don’t believe government doesn’t have a role, of course we believe government has a role. do you think it’s wrong the government need to spend more money on infrastructure, education and science? i would say this. i for certain believe it’s wrong for government say it need to spend more money on education. we spend $17,700 per pupil on k through 12 education. we do not have a spending problem in education in new jersey. we have a quality problem in many parts of our state. what about infrastructure science — infrastructure is something that’s uniquely governmental role. now the question is, you know, i look back on this, in this administration and say they squandered the stimulus that they did on things that were for their constituencies rather than building infrastructure. with all the money they spent they did very little infrastructure spending and now complaining we need to do more infrastructure spending. where were you back in 2009 when we were allowing the government to spend all this money in the midst of a financial crisis and wind up spending it on public sector union friends which is what they did. now it makes the choice much harder because you spent all that money already. now you want to spend more. where is this money coming from exactly? we do need at some point to take a deep breath and say there’s a bottom. do i think infrastructure is something the government need to invest in and needs to partner with folks on? absolutely do i. but the way you laid out the things that secretary clinton said is a rather simplistic silo approach to this which only the government can do it.

Chris Christie: Economic recovery ‘unimpressive’

Discussing the economic recovery and slow job creation in the U.S., and the beginning of New Jersey’s comeback, with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.


and so, you know, if the job of the president was merely to avoid catastrophe, congratulations. but i don’t think that’s what the only job of the president in attempting to steward an economic recovery is and so whether you judge it a failure or success or whether you judge some of the predictions by republicans to be failure or a success is something that historians can look at. what we know is what has hit us today which is that a large number of our citizens in my state and across the country or unimpressed. what makes you feel that job growth has been slower. some. you’re the guy in charge and you have some responsibility for it. i haven’t been able to put in a lot of policies i wanted to put into effect because i have a democratic legislature that passed in this context of what we’re talking about, four income tax increases in the last five years. i vetoed all of them. so forget about — why aren’t you cutting taxes. like i’m the guy at the gate trying to keep the barbarians away. a week and a half ago i vetoed another significant income tax increase. because they have to continue to feed the beast of their patrons in the public sector unions. you don’t have a new jersey miracle to talk about. an economic success. the miracle in new jersey is that every day we get up and still like each other. that’s a miracle in new jersey. but, you know, there’s great stuff. i said a few years ago the new jersey come back has begun, and that got morphed somehow the new jersey calls it a come back. i never said it happened. the come back has certainly begun. when i came into office unemployment was 10%. it’s now down below 7. we created in the state 145,000 new private-sector jobs since february of 2010. taxes haven’t been increased in our state for five years for the first time in 25 years. now everything is within context, right. if you’re dealing in a blue state like new jersey, high cost, high tax state and can keep things stable for 4 1/2 years, i’m fairly content with what i’ve been able to do. let me ask you about other

Chris Christie: When America does better

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie discusses whether the U.S. needs the Export-Import Bank. He says the U.S. needs more free trade agreements around the world.


be. the fact is that the government, i think, does have a role in trying to make our country has competitive as we can be with the folks around the world. many of whom have programs like that in those other countries. f course. right. so the fact is we got to decide how we want to compete and on what basis we want to compete. i don’t disagree with folks who say there are times when that goes overboard and that’s with the congress is supposed to be vigilante about. if they believe that’s the case they are the voice of the people then they need to step in and do something about it. and, if the people don’t library what the congress is doing then they step in and kick some people out. you do think we need an export/import bank. that’s not what i said. i think we need have those type of programs that the president and congress believe make us more competitive. we need have more free trade agreements around the world. we ought to be encouraging more trade around the world because when america trades with other countries in a free way america usually does much better because of the ingenuity. i’m the governor of new jersey. i don’t spend a lot of time focusing on the export/import bank. if i run for president i’ll spend for time on it. i don’t believe you’re not ill-informed. you can’t imagine how ill-informed i am. the fact is if and when there’s a time that comes that i need to be telling people in this country what my view is on those issues i will. until that time i think it’s quite frankly immature to be expressing a lot of those opinions just because i’m sitting up here in front of this room and you ask. you can ask whatever you like. i don’t have to answer. if i don’t think my answer will be smart and stand the test of time you can be damn sure i’m not going to answer because you

Chris Christie: Looked away for a year from Tesla

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he gave Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) a year to sell directly to customers, and gave the company time to work with the legislator, but it didn’t, and he had to enforce the law.


i was reading an article this morning in national review which said you were an alleged free marketeer but what you did on tesla and not having your motor-vehicle commission change a rule to prevent them from selling directly to consumers showed the power of special interest in new jersey, auto dealers and you were not a free market — that’s complete crap. here’s what it shows. the legislature passed a law and previous governor signed a law requiring in new jersey that if you’re going to sell automobiles you must do it through a dealership. now, tesla comes in with their new model to sell direct and i give tesla a year to sell direct. operating completely outside of the law. and i just say to them, listen you need to get together with the legislature, i’m not going to step in and enforce this law vigorously right now because i’ll give you time to work with the legislature to get a law to my desk to selleck directly. for a year they don’t do anything. you know after a while, you know, i take an oath to enforce the laws. not just the ones i like but all of them. your motor-vehicle commission did change the regulation. we didn’t change the regulation we enforced a regulation that already existed based upon a statute. the fact is we looked the other way for a year, to allow tesla to do what they were doing. i couldn’t look away any longer. i just can’t pick and choose the laws i like to enforce and don’t. i gave them a reasonable period of time to operate the way they were operating and to go to the legislature to get it changed. they say you opposed them at the expense of new jersey consumers. what would you expect the home say? thanks? listen, you know, elan is unhappy because in new jersey there’s a law that says he can’t do what he did. i don’t like the law either. i didn’t vote for it. i didn’t sign it. i don’t like it. but i don’t get to just ignore the laws i don’t like. so i love the national review. i’m a subscriber. i read it all the time. but they are just dead wrong on this. and the fact is that’s a problem with all due respect to some of you national guys who parachute in to a state specific issue, listen to a particular interest group that’s in your ear and say i figured it out. well like i said about the other stuff — do you say sometimes the press gets things wrong as much as it pains me to say that, john, yes. and the thing is it’s a mirror — it’s an absolute mirror example of what i was saying why i won’t talk about some of the issues you’re asking me about. i know i don’t know enough to give a cogent, intelligent answer. elan musk has a view. get the law changed. now there’s a law sitting on my desk now that will let them do something but in the same token makes our state even more anti-competitive from an automobile manufacturer’s perspective. that’s the kind of stuff you wind up getting put on your desk and then you have to make decisions about how you balance it and what you do. anybody looks at new jersey with the drop of regulations and says i’m someone not in favor of free markets is someone that has a personal interest in it like elan does and he’s wrong.

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