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Governor Chris Christie on the Campaign in Ohio (and Whether Its Tebow Time)

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Chris Christie joined me on today’s show after a day stumping for Romney/Ryan in Ohio. The transcript:

HH: Pleased to welcome now Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. Governor, welcome, it’s good to have you back on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

CC: Hugh, I’m really happy to be back on.

HH: I understand you’re in Trumbull County today, in Lordstown, which is next door to my hometown of Warren, Ohio. That’s Reagan Democrat land. How’d it go?

CC: It went great. Great crowd today in Lordstown, great reaction. People are so enthusiastic and fired up for this campaign. And we had a great crowd out there today and a lot of fun.

HH: Now, you know, that’s also Browns town, and in 2009, the Browns gave the Jets the draft choice that led to Shanchez. You still happy with that choice, Governor?

CC: Let’s just say I’m not ready to give up on Mark Sanchez, yet. So you know, listen, he has nobody who can catch the ball up there right now, he has nobody who can run the ball, and there’s only about three guys who can block. So I think Mark Sanchez is going to be just fine.

HH: So it’s not Tebow time yet for Chris Christie?

CC: No, it’s not Tebow time yet for me. No, sir. I’m going to stick with Mark Sanchez.

HH: All right. Governor, in a serious way, you’re also up in Catholic country. And I’m a Catholic, you’re…did the HHS regulations come up much as you’re campaigning in Ohio?

CC: They have not, yet. No, they have not. I suspect they may, but they have not yet come up, at least where I’ve been campaigning.

HH: You’re also in the area where fracking and energy matters a lot. And is that on the mind…Governor Romney’s talking a lot about that, but I’m not sure that the people of Northeastern Ohio figure out yet that Obama, the President’s going to be shutting down their fracking wells.

CC: Yeah, no, listen, I think Governor Romney’s talking about that, and talking about how key that is to energy independence for our country. And I know it’s on the minds of people here in Ohio. The jobs that it will create, the opportunity it will create, and the economic growth it will create is on their minds, too, and they want a president who’s actually going to stand up for American energy independence. And Governor Romney is the guy in this race who is standing up for that.

HH: Do you think the bottom has sort of fallen out of the President’s campaign in the last five days?

CC: Well, here’s what happened. The President went into that debate unprepared, and thought he was going to be swinging at a heavy bag. And he found out that Governor Romney has arms, and he was going to hit back. And the President’s been hit, and he’s been bloodied for the first time in his political career, and he doesn’t know how to take it. The fact is that there’s going to be more of that to come. And the reason for that is because his record is so lousy. And you know, what Governor Romney did last Wednesday was just stand up and tell the truth. He told the truth about the President’s record. And you know, I don’t know what the President was doing staring down at that pad the entire time. I think he was hoping for magical ink to come off to give him some explanation for his record for the last four years. But it’s not going to come up. There’s no magical answers for the President.

HH: What do you think happens in debate two and three with the President and Governor Romney? Does he come out hyperactive? Or is he going to stay back and do rope-a-dope again?

CC: Well listen, I think the President’s going to need at least two or three Red Bulls before the next one, just to make sure he’s awake. And then from there, he’s going to come out and he’s going to be mean. You know, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. He’s teeing that up. He’s saying you know, I was too nice the last time. So I think you’re going to see a mean and angry president in the next two debates, and Governor Romney will be Governor Romney. I mean, that’s a strength of Governor Romney. He’s going to be who he is. He’s comfortable with who he is and the positions he’s taking, and he’s just going to express those to the American people in the same calm and hopeful manner that he did last Wednesday night. And I think the public is going to respond very well to that.

HH: Now Governor, you’re in the most important region of the most important state on this map, because that’s where the votes are for Republicans to pick up that would otherwise just fall by rote to Democrats in the steel valley of Northeastern Ohio. When the Governor gets in there, what do you think is the key message he’s got to drive in the next three weeks, because Ohioans are voting right now. They can go out and vote today.

CC: Yup. No, listen, the key message is that Governor Romney’s the only person in this race who knows how to make the government a contributor to creating jobs and opportunity and not an obstruction to creating jobs and opportunity. The President has shown he doesn’t know how to do that. Governor Romney has shown through his whole career he knows how to do that. And those are the things he’ll be talking about over the next 28 days. Those are the things that matter most to the people of a region like Ohio. They want to see their friends and their neighbors, and maybe some of their own family members get back to work in a good-paying job that allows them to pay their mortgage and put food on the table, and send their kids to school. Those are the things that they really care about, and Governor Romney’s going to be talking about those things.

HH: Now Governor, I want to wrap up by asking you about if he becomes President-Elect Romney, and then President Romney, how quickly does he have to move to take on these issues that he’s been talking about out there? You jumped into the fray when you were elected governor. You didn’t wait very long to go after the big ones. Does he have to follow the same strategy?

CC: Yes, yes he does, and he will, because he knows that there’s an urgency that these things need to be done here in our country quickly, and he’s got the plan, and he’s going to execute it, and it’s going to work out extraordinarily well for the people in this country. So we need an experienced leader who’s not afraid to make hard decisions. He’s the experienced leader who’s not afraid to make hard decisions that we need, and that’s why he’ll move quickly once he’s elected president to be able to give people a sense of certainty that he has a plan and he’s ready to move.

HH: All right, last question, the New York Times said the Republicans are anti-urban. You took issue with that. Would you explain to the audience what you were objecting to coming out of the New York Times?

CC: Well listen, to say that the Republicans don’t care about our cities is just contrary. It’s been Republicans who have been at the forefront of the education reform movement in our cities. And you’re not going to reform our cities and repair our cities until you repair the education system. And so the fact is, to say Republicans are against that, it is the Democrats who have been the handmaidens of the teachers’ union throughout this country. It’s been the Republicans who have been willing to stand up for kids and against the teachers unions to be able to say we want to reform urban education in a significant way. That’s the thing that we need to be emphasizing as Republicans, and that’s why, listen, for the New York Times to say something bad about a Republican? What’s next? Are you going to tell me the sun’s coming up tomorrow morning? What other big news flash do you have for me? We’re not worried about that.

HH: Have you seen the new movie Won’t Back Down about teachers unions?

CC: Pardon me? I didn’t hear that question.

HH: There’s a new movie, Won’t Back Down, about teachers unions from the same people that made Waiting For Superman. Have you had a chance to…

CC: That’s exactly right. I’m off the Christmas card list for the teachers union, but that’s just fine, because I’m getting on the Christmas card list of kids in urban areas in our state that are finally going to get a chance to have a successful life, because they’re going to get a great education.

HH: Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, thanks for joining us.

End of interview.

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