New Jersey Governor Chris Christie opened the show today:
HH: Not interesting, America, exactly right. And I’m going to brag about it all day long. Morning glory and evening grace, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show on the day after Iowa. I begin with Governor Chris Christie who is in New Hampshire. Governor, your reaction to last night’s results?
CC: Pretty predictable, Hugh. I mean, you know, I’ve been saying all week to people that Donald Trump was not going to win the Iowa Caucuses, that Ted Cruz was going to, and that Marco Rubio was going to come in third. So you know, everything else is a yawn. I think Iowa did nothing to change the equation of this race in any way at all. You know, Marco Rubio spent $5 million dollars more than Ted Cruz in Iowa to come in third. So you know, I don’t think he should be, you know, walking around as if he won something. He beat Ben Carson. Congratulations.
HH: Scott Brown endorsed Donald Trump today. Does that matter?
CC: Does Scott Brown endorsing Donald Trump today matter? I don’t think so. Scott Brown hasn’t won an election since 2010. So I don’t think it really matters. And that was in Massachusetts, by the way.
HH: Yeah, Esquire says you’ve offended bubble boys everywhere. Did you really call Marco Rubio a bubble boy today?
CC: Keep the boy in the bubble, absolutely, and here’s why I mean he’s the boy in the bubble, Hugh. He never answers questions. He never gives anything but his canned speech. I’ve heard the same speech from Marco Rubio since 2010. And so it’s about time for him to come out of the bubble, do some gaggles with press, answer difficult questions, and to do something more than be protected by the staff who protects him like he’s the boy in the bubble. Let’s get him out of the bubble.
HH: Now I think as a result of yesterday, there are three tickets all the way to March 15th for those three people. But there’s a play-in slot for the final four, and it’s one of your governors, because there’s got to be a governor at the table.
HH: So why are you focusing fire on Rubio, and I gather Cruz today, as opposed to Jeb and John?
CC: First of all, I haven’t fired anything on Cruz today. You know, I got asked a question about Marco Rubio and whether he had momentum. You know me, Hugh. Much to my own detriment at times, when you ask me a direct question, I give you a direct answer. And so you know, I got asked about Rubio, and was it now a three person race? That was the question I got. And I said listen, there’s no way it could be a three person race when a guy won’t answer questions, when a guy won’t do press gaggles, when he does 40 minute town hall meetings, and I do two hour town hall meetings, when I don’t know how many questions he’s answered, but I’ve answered over 1,100 questions at town hall meetings now. And you know, that’s the kind of person we want up against Hillary Clinton. So you know, Jeb Bush and John Kasich are good guys, good governors. I just think my record is better than theirs, and we’re certainly going to spend time talking about them this week. But I got asked a question about Marco today, and the boy in the bubble needs to come out of the bubble.
HH: All right, now you are my 149th would-be GOP nominee interview since August 8th, since the first Fox debate. And so I have asked you a lot of those 1,100 questions. I’ve asked Marco some as well, and Ted some, and everybody some. But I’ve got a new one today…
HH: …because on Friday, Hillary was revealed to have 22 such secret materials that they could not release a word. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told me high probability the Russians had compromised her server. Everybody knows she has committed a felony. It’s not a felony, maybe it’s misdemeanors of 18 USC 1924, but it could be the felon, it could be the higher one, the reckless. Why doesn’t the national news media report on this? This is a big crisis?
CC: Well, because the national news media wants Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States. This is now shock to you, Hugh, is it?
HH: Well, I…
CC: I mean, you and I live in the same world. They want her to be president of the United States. And it was fine to report on this months and months ago before people were voting. But now that people are voting, they don’t want to disturb that one bit.
HH: So how do you explain to voters, because I do think the reason you came in second in the last debate is Rubio hit Hillary the hardest, and you hit her the second-hardest on this particular set of issues. She is a terrible candidate. In fact, Bill Clinton looked like an extra from World War Z last night. He looks horrible, too. But this is a complicated issue. Does it matter to the public that she compromised the national security?
CC: Well, I think it depends on how you communicate it, Hugh. And I think I communicate it rather simply. I say, I use Hillary Clinton’s own words. She said at this town hall in Iowa last week that she had her own personal email server for her own convenience. So I say to folks she was willing to compromise national security for her convenience. She was willing to compromise homeland security for her convenience. She was willing to compromise the lives of intelligence officers for her convenience. The fact is that anyone who is willing to compromise national and homeland security and our intelligence officers’ capabilities for their own convenience is not only a criminal, but is de facto disqualified to be commander-in-chief of the United States military.
HH: Does that argument have traction with any Democrats that you come across, because I’m sure Democrats come to your town halls.
CC: Yeah, I’ve got to tell you the truth. You know, I get a majority nodding heads in my audience at my town hall meetings, and a lot of applause when I say those things. And so I do think that there’s lots of Democrats, evidenced by the fact that Bernie Sanders, a socialist, played her to a draw last night in Iowa. Bernie Sanders. We’re not, listen, we’re not talking Franklin Delano Roosevelt here running against Hillary Clinton, okay? We’re talking, we’re not talking John F. Kennedy. Bernie Sander, a socialist from Vermont is playing Hillary Clinton to a draw in Iowa, and probably will beat her in New Hampshire.
HH: Where do you expect the…
CC: If that doesn’t show you she’s a flawed candidate, Hugh, you know, what do you think?
HH: Where do you want the independents to go? Do you want them in the Republican primary next week? Or do you want them in the Democratic primary? They can choose.
CC: They can choose, and I mean, listen, I would be fine with people voting in our primary, independents voting in our primary. And I’ll get a large part of them. You know, I got two-thirds of the independent vote in New Jersey for reelection, and even in my first race in ’09 against John Corzine, I got 60% of independents. So I’ve always done very well with independents. If they want to come over, there is a jersey from Team Christie for the independents as well, as are for our Republican members as well.
HH: You’re reminding me, though, your advice on Johnny Manziel turned out to be prescient. The Browns are going to cut him and take a $4 million dollar hit on the salary cap.
CC: I told you nobody wanted him.
HH: You were right.
CC: I told you. You see, I’ve been working Jerry Jones hard to make sure that didn’t happen.
HH: You were so prescient. All right, I want to go back to the issue of war. As a governor, in that governor’s slot, you and Kasich and Jeb Bush, and when he was in, Scott Walker and Rick Perry, had to send national guard people to fight in this war.
HH: And you had to welcome back bodies, and you had to preside over funerals, and you had to comfort grieving family members, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives. You’ve had to do that. What is your theory on how much American force is going to be use abroad in the next ten years, Chris Christie, men and women in our uniform fighting?
CC: I think, Hugh, there will be some. And the fact is that the reason for that is that I, as president, would put together a large coalition, including NATO allies and Sunni Arab allies to take on ISIS. We’re going to have to fight them over there as well as defending the homeland here. and I don’t think there’s going to be any alternative to that, unfortunately. But I don’t think we should be doing it on our own. I think it’s going to be up to the president to put together a grand coalition, because not only will it be more effective on war fighting, but it will also be more effective in terms of blunting ISIS rhetoric about this being just the Great Satan coming after us.
HH: Have the candidates effectively communicated the level of sacrifice that the American people are going to have to carry in the next decade?
CC: You know, I don’t think yet we have. I think we’ve begun to, some of us more than others. You know, I’ve been accused in a mocking way on Saturday Night Live of having a kind of, you know, apocalyptic, alarmist vision of all this. But in the end, I really do think that’s what we’re facing, is a very, very long struggle against radical Islamic jihadism. And so I’m going to continue to talk very bluntly and directly about it. I hope some of the other candidates do as well.
HH: Last question, two state solution, is it possible? Is it even, do we spend time on this given the current fracturing of the Palestinian Liberation Authority and Hamas, and the radicalization in Gaza? Is it, does it make any sense to talk about a two state solution and invest as much time as John Kerry does in it?
CC: Listen, I think we first have to, see, what John Kerry doesn’t recognize is he has to rebuild his relationship with Israel. Before you can talk about anything like that, Israel no longer has complete trust and faith in the United States as a partner because of the conduct of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. And so we need first to rebuild our relationship with the people of Israel and with Prime Minister Netanyahu. And nothing can be negotiated until that’s done, because if Israel doesn’t trust that America is going to have their back, why would Israel be taking any risks at all regarding their sovereignty and their territory?
HH: And why is Chris Christie qualified to do that rebuilding?
CC: The reason is because I have shown over the course of my life not only that I understand these issues of terrorism better than anyone else in this field, and could speak to Prime Minister Netanyahu in a principal to principal way that would not only give him comfort and confidence, but faith in the strength that America will bring to this fight. But also, it’s because I’ve dealt with difficult issues in New Jersey – the rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, dealing with a Democratic legislature day after day after day, and never running away from the fight, but always running into the fight, never running away from the heat like Marco Rubio did when he ran away from his amnesty bill in Congress, but running into the fire. That’s who I am and who I’ve always been, and that’s who I’ll be, whether it’s our battle in the Middle East and our need to rebuild our relationship with Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu knows that Chris Christie will walk away from a fight if Israel is involved, that I’ll stand with him.
HH: Governor Chris Christie, great to talk to you, perhaps we’ll talk again before New Hampshire. If not, continued good luck on the trail.
End of interview.