HH: Joined by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has spent the last week, I’m sure, talking to Jerry Jones about acquiring Johnny Manziel for his Dallas Cowboys. Has that been ongoing? Do you have anything to report to us, Governor?
CC: I’ve got to say, Hugh, as much as you’re begging me to, I will not. I will throw my body in front of the Johnny Manziel train if it heads towards Dallas.
HH: (laughing) You are not helping yourself in Ohio, Governor.
HH: I am here to tell you, you’re not helping yourself. Let me play for you, you’ve really got to go, I know this stuff, let me play for you some Donald Trump. You’re up against Donald Trump in New Hampshire. Here is the New York business mogul a couple of days ago on how loyal his voters are.
DT: The people, my people, are so smart. And you know what else they say about my people, the polls? They say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that, where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible.
HH: All right, Chris Christie, what do you make of that one?
CC: Well, you know, I’m sure, I pray he’s kidding. You know, but listen, I just don’t think that’s the kind of stuff presidential candidates or a president is supposed to say. And you know, I’ve spoken out against Donald when he does that kind of stuff. You know, it just, it’s braggadocio, and it’s, I’m over it.
HH: All right, second thing he had to say. A man was removed from his rally, which we believe is a Sikh man who was wearing Sikh traditional dress. Here’s what Donald said about that.
DT: Oh, he wasn’t wearing one of those hats, was he? Was he wearing one of those? And he never will. And he never will. And he never will, and that’s okay. But you know, we’ve got to do something, folks, because it’s not working. And all over the world, they’re talking about it, and people, frankly, I have friends that are Muslims, and they call me up. Not all of them, but some of them, and they said you’re doing a great service.
HH: Governor Christie, your reaction?
CC: (laughing) Listen, I just think Donald gets, that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And so you know, he looks at someone who’s Sikh, and he assumes they’re an Arab. And he doesn’t understand the difference, it’s because he’s never done anything like this before. So you know, those kind of stereotypes just are not helpful.
HH: All right, now let’s talk about the storm that just passed over Jersey. And I don’t think you got whacked as bad as D.C. and New York did. Am I right about that?
CC: Well, no, we got as bad as New York. I don’t know about D.C., but I mean, we had a foot and a half to two and a half feet of snow in our state. So we got a lot of snow. But our Department of Transportation was just…reach out. As of today, have only 500 people still without power from a high of 100,000. And the roads are all clear. And where did it go? And there’s a few southern counties where we had a little bit of damage. We’re down there doing assessments now, but nothing certainly on the scale of anything major.
HH: All right, so do you know what we call a two foot snowstorm in Ohio, Govenror?
CC: A dusting?
HH: And so I just found it amazing that that was, I know hurricanes are serious things, but two feet of snow. So New Hampshire is upon us two weeks from tomorrow. What’s the closing, Iowa is a week from tomorrow. What’s the closing argument? And who are you mostly making it against?
CC: Well, I’m making it for me, Hugh. And what I’m saying to folks is we want someone who can go down to Washington and disrupt the status quo, shake things up like I did when I came to Trenton, New Jersey and shook things up, but them as someone who knows how to rebuild it after we’re over. You know, the fact is you need someone who is prepared to be president of the United States. My seven years as a federal prosecutor makes me more prepared than anyone on that stage to fight terrorism on the first day we get there, because I’m the only one who has done it. And my six years as governor with a Democratic legislature makes me the best prepared person to break Washington gridlock and disrupt the status quo. You want somebody who’s ready on day one? I’m ready. Let us not make the same mistake that we made seven years ago when we elected a first-term United States Senator who never ran anything bigger than a 30 person Senate staff, and thought they were ready to be able to run the most complex government the world’s ever known.
HH: Now that particular, and President Obama told Glenn Thrush of Politico today that the Republican Party, a lot of it is outside of the mainstream, that it’s gone off the rails. What do you make of his assessment from a president, who I might add, has been overturned by the Supreme Court a few times 9-0, and is currently looking at a Court taking up the question for the first time of what it means to take care that the laws are faithfully executed.
CC: You know, listen, I’m amused by the President’s evaluation of the Republican Party. The President doesn’t even have good support within his own party at the moment for some of the things that he’s done on executive orders across this government. And so you know, the fact is I don’t quite frankly care what Barack Obama thinks of the Republican Party. He should worry to make sure that his nominee is not either going to be a socialist or indicted.
HH: Yeah, he says the Republican vision in the 2016 race is unrecognizable. What’s he trying to do here? Is he trying to set up Bernie or Hillary for a run?
CC: Yeah, I think he is, and well, listen, let’s face facts. I mean, you know, this is the two people that the Democrats have placed before the American people as their only two real candidates for president of the United States – an avowed socialist, and a woman who is almost certainly headed to indictment for the mishandling of classified information. That’s quite a Democratic Party he’s leading, especially when he came in, he had an overwhelming majority in the House, 60 Senators in the United States Senate, and the Republicans, and he had 29 Democratic governors. Today, he’s got 21.
HH: You just said almost certainly headed to indictment. I agree with that, and a lot of Democrats and Republicans alike are confronting whether or not she can run for president if she is indicted. What’s your assessment of that, not technically, of course, technically, she can run. But will she run if she’s indicted?
CC: Oh, I think that would be very, very hard to do, very hard to do. It’s her own decision, but boy, I think it would be very hard to do.
CC: I just think that the attention from the public would be relentless, that you’re facing criminal trial, but despite that, you’re running for president of the United States. I think that would be a great gift to the Republican nominee, and I intend that to be me. So I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, Hugh, but I think it would be hard to do.
HH: All right, now turning to the fight ahead, Jeb Bush’s superPAC is pursuing a Valentine’s Day massacre strategy, right? Everybody gets machine gun.
HH: Is that working?
CC: It doesn’t appear to be working for Jeb. You know, it doesn’t seem to move his numbers one bit. And I hope, and I’m sure that all of the loyal Americans, and the great Republicans who gave a lot of money to Jeb Bush to his superPAC didn’t intend for that money to be spent to kill me and John Kasich and Marco Rubio. And it’s a shame what’s happening there now, and it’s a shame that Jeb seemingly has no, absolutely no compunction about that being done in his name.
HH: Now he can’t do anything to control it. It’s Mike Murphy, right? It’s up to Mike Murphy. But what’s your message to Mike Murphy?
CC: Well, I don’t know Mike Murphy, and I doubt Mike Murphy would much care what my message is to him. But I’m sure if Jeb Bush said that he does not want to kill the rest of the Republican Party, then Mike Murphy would listen.
HH: All right, and so last question, do you have financial resources, or do superPACs that support you, but with which you cannot coordinate, have enough financial resources to make it a 50 state race, to stay in there with a decent showing in New Hampshire, make it through the SCC-ACC primary, and into the heartland, to Ohio, where you will not help us get rid of Manziel?
CC: Yes, sir.
HH: Who’s it come from? I mean, what’s the name of the superPAC that’s supporting you?
CC: Well, the superPAC that supports us is called America Leads.
HH: And have they been up and active on the airwaves as well?
CC: They have been up in New Hampshire every week with a substantial buy since October.
HH: And last question, I know that good campaigns follow absentees, and I know New Hampshire has got absentees out. What do those numbers tell you, if anything?
CC: We feel very good, Hugh, about our chances on February 9th.
HH: Governor Chris Christie, always a pleasure, but remember the playbook, Johnny Manziel to Dallas. You’d get the Buckeye State on the 15th. Remember that.
End of interview.