tv University of Chicago Institute of Politics - Chris Christie CSPAN May 27, 2018 6:32pm-7:46pm EDT
robert rosenstein, tuesday at 9 p.m. eastern me to movement founder tarana burke, clarence and nikki haley. wednesday at 8 p.m. eastern, hillary clinton, rex tillerson, james mattis and justin trudeau. thursday at 8 p.m. eastern tim cook, governor god -- john luis gutierrez. on friday at 8 p.m. eastern jimmy carter, betsy devos, mark meadows. this week in primetime on c-span and c-span.org and on the free c-span radio app. >> former new jersey governor chris christie discusses the the -- withncy at
david axelrod. this is one hour 10 minutes. governor, welcome. i wouldmarx once said never want to a club that would have me as a member. this president seems to be a bit of a marxist. he seems to be more enamored old friendsted from and allies then the people who are inside the white house. you are one of those old friends. we will get to that. how often do you talk to the president? an average oftie: once a week. do you call him donald? governor christie: no. get -- dod: does he
you draw on your own experience as governor and what kind of advice do you give to him? i generallyistie: don't talk about the nature of the i tell him, but president and i became friends back in 2002, we have known each other for 16 years. i don't hold much back. mr. axelrod: i didn't think that was one of your virtues anyway. governor christie: he will come right back at me when he disagrees. the nature of the relationship is such that i am not looking ,or anything, which is unusual someone is usually always looking for something. i give my advice as i see it and . call it as i see it with him
we continue to talk so i suspect he must find some value in it. mr. axelrod: as someone who does have these insights who was an opponent as well, explain him to us. the firsthristie: thing to understand -- you don't need to understand anything. you are americans. him, iwant to understand think the press generally makes the mistake of making him much more complicated than he is. i have told him that. that is not insulting. --doesn't mean complement complicated meets spark -- mark. it means difficult to figure out and he is not. he has been doing real estate
careeror his entire before he ran for president. his way of doing that is to push hard, ask outrageous things and being able to sell. into fights he would sue or be sued and then settle. the way he has approached the resolution of problem is, create complex in order to resolve conflict. mr. axelrod: how does that translate? governor christie: the way it translates so far depends on the nature of the issue. so health care is a very complicated issue, and not easy to resolve politically. , andyou create conflict people want to get to a resolution, it is hard to get to a resolution because there are so many complexities and so many
differing opinions that every little bit of it -- text reform isnot to say that tax code not complicated. the principles are fairly simple and direct. do you agree with higher or lower taxation? will that be used to create more opportunities and jobs? , it style that he has didn't work in the health care situation. because of his approach, success or failure is very situational to the topic rather than to the people he is dealing with. more conventional politicians, it is the relationships they have with the adividuals involved that play bigger role in success or failure.
mr. axelrod: it's interesting you talk about this orientation he has is a real estate guide to make outrageous demand and then back off from there. to me, this is my observation. he said to himself, i didn't get here listening to all these geniuses, i got here by following my own instincts and that is what i will do. some who say he would meet with with no forewarning with his national security team, he will -- announced a tariff policy on his own. there are examples of that. he may not be complicated, but those things are complicated your he is now running into the reality of that. what are the dangers of this approach as it relates to national security issues?
governor christie: the improvisational approach, to surprise and catch people off is in the execution. he has to be ready. when he walks in that room with kim jong-un if that does in fact happen, he will have to be ready for whatever he may throw in his direction. hiss said briefings with security. there is no shortcut to that. the one thing i will tell you about him is he is obsessed with completely, repulsed by failure. the lead upthis in to his election and in other things. when pushed to the wall, he will
be ready. that doesn't mean he will get a good result. who knows. i think the improvisational approach is fine and trying to break down old barriers. cannotu get there, you grab the shortcuts. these things are interconnected. he took a step to pull out of the iran agreement. his secretary of state made a speech today about what was going to be demanded of iran now . it seems like he cannot accept less from north korea now, which is a nuclear power, and a more threatening position and is exporting its weapons to other forces around the world. connectionsthose
when he isn't improvising? he sees theistie: connection, he doesn't agree with a premise. in terms of how far along they are, north korea -- for every public stream, they are already a nuclear power. that way or them will we step down in some way. that's different from iran. speech -- my sense of it is around will be north korea unless he takes the approach he is taking with your rent. .- iran six or eight years or 10 years from now how to deal with iran and how he deals with north korea, that is the way he views the connection between the two. i don't think he would agree with you that he can accept less
from north korea than what he's demanding from it ran -- iran. they are into totally different phases right now. completeod: he wants nuclear denuclearization. we have heardtie: this before from everybody. if he can deliver any better than the last three or four presidents. mr. axelrod: you said he is allergic to failure. he is having some misgivings about this meeting because the prospects of failure is becoming more apparent to him. will he walk away and call it a
success or -- governor christie: it's hard to tell. i think he will have to be able to make a straight-faced argument that is better than what he inherited. that he willes call it a success. he has taken a sober approach to this. realistic, hes understands this is not going to be easy. the times reporting today, i read that. it doesn't sound like him to me. stuff in all the major media outlets. it's not like the liberal media moaning about it. i just think that in general have thisreporters
desire to get to know who this guy is, they think they are writing his voice based on what is going on. of this stuff that i read about one third of it is right and two thirds is wrong. talking about the stuff i know from talking to him. mr. axelrod: i wanted to get back to your relationship with them but i also want to talk your political journey. it has some implications for work we are as a country. 2012 people were urging you to run for president but you were a newly elected governor of new jersey. 2012, you were considered a prime contender. there were issues that ensued
-- we willreelection get to that as well. the reason you are appealing to people as a potential candidate, you were seen as a republican governor in a blue state that worked with democrats, and who somehat were considered moderate positions. you had accepted the medicaid expansion under the affordable care act. you had taken what was viewed as a more moderate position on guns , on immigration you shifted positions right before you got into the 2016 race. you were seen as someone who was more pro-immigration. iss is the model for this the kind of person who could win a general election. all of these things including you can't president obama that
, there you present obama was a picture out there that found its way into a lot of republicans against you. let's dispense with this one right away. hurricanehristie: before thens president election in 2012. up to that point i had been the key note speaker at the republican convention. not only the keynote that in a number of places where i campaign for romney.
nonetheless depending on your president obama and i spoke daily from the night of the storm, probably for two weeks and sent to -- sometimes multiply daily. president obama calls me in the -- asks me hows things are and he says to me, chris i know this may be difficult for you but i want to come tomorrow. you tell me where and i will meet you. it never crossed my mind -- i ,ean this, i knew the politics a week before the election. my state had just suffered the
second worst national disaster in u.s. history. had 306 -- we lost 365,000 homes. the president showed up the next day. he gets off of air force one. normal civilized human beings in the u.s. do. we should can. and the president took his left hand and put it on my shoulder. mr. axelrod: and you chose not to bet it away. governor christie: even a guy from new jersey isn't going to do that. andatted me on the shoulder what people never have asked me, is what was happening at that moment. it had nothing to do with politics or the storm either. shake my hand and patent me on
the shoulder and he said, you look tired, are you ok? if the leader of the state of new jersey and the leader of the u.s. can't have that conversation without it the politically injurious to the republicans, then this country is completely screwed up. mr. axelrod: right. he alluded totie: bridge gate in one of the questions, by a multiple of five or six, i would get criticized in iowa and new hampshire over hug more than anything i did as governor. because toimportant me it was never a question. is last thing i will say what happened in the subsequent time tells you what a good
politician president obama was and i assume still is. the one thing that did not get a lot of publicity that he did .hat was wednesday some of you may have read if you have done any reading about me is i am a big bruce springsteen fan. i have been to 138 springsteen shows. i don't drink, i don't smoke or do drugs. this is it for me. we spoke to president obama every day. ,n that friday was on the plane i am in the emergency operations --ter in new jersey, and it
my assistant came in and said the president is on the phone. phone, thehe president -- how are you? there was nothing certain about the outcome of the election at that point. he says to me, are things going ok and i give him a briefing. he said you know, do you mind if i put you on the speakerphone? i have someone here who wants to talk to you. hear, chris, how are you doing? and i thought, it's springsteen. tough, youing gets bring in the guys from new jersey. i had a four or five minute conversation with the president of the united states and through springsteen. i am campaigning against the guy i had endorsed. at that moment i didn't give a
craft. --crap. i have my issues with the president. on the day he came to visit me, we were were -- walking around in reagan teen new jersey. conference,t press i said some nice things about the president. the reason for that is i got asked and he deserved them. they said how is the president doing so far, i said the president has made every request i made of him. republicans to insanity because i answered the question. we got on marine one and the president said, by the way what you said that there was very nice but you didn't have to do that. i said i had to tell them, it was the truth.
when you're sitting across from the president you are almost uncomfortably close. the close are very -- the chairs are very close to each other. i was a lot bigger then. i was really close to him. silencee this awkward after this. clear, yout so we're know i'm not voting for you, right? he said i have no worry about that. he was there on wednesday. thoseor christie: relationships in politics have to be renewed if this country will do what it needs to do. people have to put the office
ahead of the politics. i get it. i paid the price for it in iowa and new hampshire. positionsd: the other -- thef the things reasons there is an institute of politics here is if we don't find that way forward and find a eveno respect each other is so have differences, democracy is a very -- what have a very tough go. the truth is, this last election , i was a commentator. success and we continue to see it is to bang the tribal drums. the president has done that
very, very, effectively. incredible is we were talking about this earlier -- chris christie was the tell it like it is guy, get in your face guy, all that. you got blown away because this thing heou and -- one did was bang the tribal drum. i am morehristie: than happy to get in anybody's face about an issue that i care about when i think i'm right. when somebody is treating me rudely, i will treat them rudely right back. cameras back there, my friends and my family can see me tonight giving it to the former governor of new jersey.
don't worry, he will come right back. that i am ok with. for instance on an issue that i care with i appointed a muslim judge in new jersey, a guy that i knew very well. when you have a senate confirmation hearing, the first question from the democratic chairman of the committee was, will you explain jihad to us? said, i can tell you what it is, but i have never been involved in jihad. then he senior republican asked him whether or not he was going law?proach sharia on there all banging guy. all i can say to you is i got up and i got asked about it the next day, and i said listen, this is crazy stuff.
he is an american. and a lawyer. he is going to impose american and new jersey law. i am tired of dealing with the crazies. it got a lot of attention. that kind of stuff i am willing to do. purely doing it just for political gain, that's going to cap -- come back around and bite you. if you are being talked with me i will be temp with you back. i have had this discussion with the president many times. mr. axelrod: across the stage a few times. backstagehristie: and and in the car on the phone, we had a number of top conversations went we were running against each other. sometimes i would give my critique about the wall and other things and he did not like it. it wasn't my job to make him happy.
winning made him happy. he said one day how come i wanted you lost? someday we will have a long conversation about that. mr. axelrod: you ran as his yousition director -- endorsed them shortly after you dropped out of the race and it got a lot of attention. you were the first to endorse him and you became his transition chief. then you were removed as transition chief. not by him but obviously with his assent. you had relations with the kershner family that were not put jared'sm, father in prison when you were attorney general.
how would things have been different if the transition plan that you had been working on for months got implemented and would it have made a difference given the nature of the man on top? governor christie: absolutely. what people forget about governor, when you're the president or governor there is so much you can do. it's too big. you need to fill those positions beneath with people who are consistent with your philosophy. right now in the government -- i want to say hundreds, but dozens and dozens of obama folks who have never been removed or replaced because wants to remove or replace them. when people are committed to government, they don't leave. done to yourt x
cabinet secretary. he says yes sir and tell their person. when he gets down to the next level, that person goes, it matters. it would matter with this president. to answer your question, 75% of what has happened that has been received or reported would not have happened. the president -- a small fraction of the people on the list were not even considered. it was in enormous -- an enormous mistake. mistake,in a norm us normous mistake and i
do not believe they have yet caught up. under the circumstances of the way it is to run a government of and power and complexity, it will be hard to ever catch up in terms of giving those73 days away because 73 days were populated by things that were being done by a team of 125 for five months before the 73 days started. big mistake. mr. axelrod: you seem relaxed and enjoying your life. gov. christie: i am. mr. axelrod: who can beat that? president called you and said i needed to come in and be my chief of staff or be my white house counsel? what was that conversation be like and what would your conversation with your wife you like -- be like? gov. christie: i would relish
the conversation with the president. i have been offered six different positions in the trump administration. i said no to all of them. i said i am not interested in what you offered and i do not need a new title. i have plenty of titles. u.s. attorney, governor, father, husband, son, brother. i have plenty of titles. i am only going to washington if there is something i can do to make a significant difference but i feel i have the skill to do. i could never say never to once you havese this in your blood, it is in your blood. you never say never. my wife knows that. my conversation with my wife. while i was still governor in september of last year, we went to dinner with a friend of mine from high school. they are not very much into politics.
at one point they said when you get out -- like it is prison -- you get out, are you going to work for trump? before i could answer, mary kept up and read we are hoping that chris reaches his right into potential. -- financial potential. if you remember nothing today, remember that sentence. you are dinner later, unpacked it because there are multiple levels of meeting -- meaning that my wife used. mr. axelrod: one of the things is that been linked to he saturday you out about the attorney general. had christie: we have conversations about that job over the course of a long time. me job that was offered to
-- mr. axelrod: one job that was offered was heading the opioid panel. where are we as a country? what are we not doing to try to deal with scourge? gov. christie: we are not telling the truth to each other. , 74,000 americans will die of opioid overdose. to give you some perspective, that will be more than the people of -- number of people who will be called -- killed in car accidents and gun violence in this country combined in 2018. people be 22,000 more then who died in the worst year of the aids epidemic. 52,000 was the high in the aids
epidemic in 1986. what i want to know is where are the marches? mid-80's --in the mid-1980's. i remember the aids crisis. the way it really got on the pathway he dealt with was there were marches everywhere. men and women marched on state capitals and washington dc to say it is unacceptable to have people dying at this rate in our country. we need to invest money we need to to get a treatment, is not a pure for this to the -- cure for this disease. aids is a chronic disease but it does not have to be a fatal disease. president bush took what we learned from our investment and has spread it to africa and all over the world. to save lives, millions of lives around the world.
how do we live with ourselves that we are not doing the same thing with opioids? i do not know. i cannot imagine if there is a person in this room who have not had their lives touched by this drug, one way or another come personally, a family member, friend, roommate, classmate. it is not going to go away. when the president asked me to do that, it is one thing i was going to say yes on. i will tell you one thing. it can happen to anybody. do not think it cannot. if you are at the university of chicago, you are a pretty smart and compost person already. and accomplished person already.
have an addictive personality and take it once from a doctor prescribing it to you and do it the doctor tells you to do, you could wind up and it did. -- addicted. he will be one step away from being a student to a heroin addict, prostituting yourself to get drugs area -- to get drugs. mr. axelrod: how much of the chinese responsible for sending that to know into this country -- fentanyl into this country? this epidemic did not start on a street runner in chicago, new york or san francisco -- corner in chicago, new york or so.
-- new york or san francisco. is easiere script than a follow-up visit and they get paid for writing up a script. they do not get paid for a follow-up visit. the greed of the pharmaceutical industry helped to cause this because they were not honest with the doctors about the risk. it were not honest with anyone about the risk. part of the reason was they were hiding it and they did not spend the money to do the research to find it out. is an act ofse, it war. the more americans that get hooked on opioids, the better chance they have of taking us down. someone told me a long time ago about the chinese -- the
difference between chinese and americans. time their tasks with a stopwatch. the chinese time their tasks with a calendar. what they care about is the long-haul. they figured to get more and more of us addicted. they will get short-term benefits and long-term benefits. the u.s. government is responsible in part because we do not treat it as a disease. it is a disease. failing. moral i want anyone in this room who has not made a judgment that they would like to take back to raise their hand. great. the perfect score continues. you are just lucky that the bad judgment was not to take opioids . that is it. you could have an addictive gene
or personality. if you do, the first time you take it, you do not get to take it back. that is a disease. that means we have to treat it. lots of people are saying yes. what do we do with them? well, you made or call and not get what you deserve. a father with two infants crashed his car. the children were saved. he passed out. there are more lives than just your own. if you have questions, line up right over there by the microphone in the center aisle. we will take student questions first. lots of students here. i encourage you to step forward. a couple other things, you are a
former u.s. attorney and you spent several years in the justice department. how do you think the president has handled this probe? suggested the fbi infiltrated his campaign and is essentially ordered the justice department to investigate. how does that say with you as a former u.s. attorney and what do you tell him about this? told him many i times there is no way to make an investigation like this shorter, but there are lots of ways to make it longer. he has executed a number of those ways to make it longer. mr. axelrod: you worked closely .ith bob mueller what is your observation of him? particularly this notion that he is a partisan running a partisan mission? i think he made some mistakes in hiring early on. he did not bet some of the people he hired early on.
it was not the contributors that bother me as much as the back and forth. that is something you can set for. vet for. people brought it to work. , but bob is not partisan. he is a hard-working guy, mark. you cannot argue that the investigation has not been effective so far. a number of guilty pleas and indictments. mueller'suestion bob honesty or integrity. i never have. the also said he should not be fired. gov. christie: he cannot be fired. mr. axelrod: what about rosenstein?
first of all, sessions was refused. refused -- recused. i think that sessions and rosenstein are different animals then mueller. they are the president's cabinet members. if he does not have confidence in them anymore, he should fire them. if the president of not have confidence in the person or people serving him in the cabinet, you should fire them because you will not utilize them. you cannot fire mueller. , do not mean he cannot legally but i've told him over and over again you cannot do it. he has to be permitted to finish his investigation.
mr. axelrod: was he right to demand this investigation -- would --stie: that there was a bunch of things you could have done. you could have been more aggressive or less aggressive. i know michael horvitz. he is a smart guy. a bit of a protege. he was hired by president obama in their administration. i think he will do a good job. i'm originally from caldwell, new jersey. i took the transit chain -- train daily for years. through my four years of taking the train, i saw numerous delays intoe cost -- tunnels
consideration continued to deteriorate. i was wondering what you see as a solution for the new transit problems after your tender? gov. christie: it is also amtrak that uses both tunnels as well. they are actually amtrak's tunnels. it was an absolutely awful project. it did not go to penn station and new york. it went to a terminal that cost billions of dollars. you had to the escalator all the to up and walk from macy's penn station to get your next train to go uptown, downtown, across town. it was a bad project. it was a project where new jersey was screwed. let me tell you why. new york state and new york city put no money into the project. was really benefiting from it besides new jersey? every real estate owner and
developer in new york, doubling the number of people coming from new jersey into new york. paid the rest. new jersey was on the hook for every dollar. i know it is hard to believe that a federal transportation project that was going to tunnel into the hudson river him into the most populated island in america would have a cost overrun or two. but even the department of transportation secretary was telling us that their projections -- i love this about the federal government. he said the budget is $8 billion. however, we are projecting $3 billion to $5 billion in overruns. we did not have the money. what is happening now is the gateway tunnel, championed by
,mtrak, getting two new tunnels a 50-50 split between the federal government and state governments. new jersey and new york sharing evenly on the 50%. it goes to penn station in new york. you can get in, out and take your subways or metro-north. right now, senator schumer and the president are in a fight about everything. are playing around with the funding issue, but it got funded and work has started in the last budget. happen.it will the president knows it needs to happen. solution.e long-term it will be more fair to the taxpayers of new jersey because, bloombergt mike
proposed, they are taking the responsible position that new york is benefiting as much as new jersey. sorry about new jersey transit. rode it fore it -- years and never came home and said that was great. my name is james. i'm a 30 year. i am from new jersey. gov. christie: another neighbor. >> my question is about your performance during the 2016 republican debate. i think you performed exceptionally well. gov. christie: me too. >> it must have been hard coming down the polls. how did you strategize in order to gain position and how well do you think you performed, reflecting back?
gov. christie: position was determined by polls. eight times in the varsity debate and one time in the jv debate. of fun.ctually kind when i got down there, i realized why it was the jv debate. the guys down there, we killed them. it was great. one night it was not bad. during the commercial breaks, they said what you doing here? why are you here? it was very stressful. to be on the edge of that, because every poll that came out, you are watching. it is like sally cap in
football. you are recalculating. what is my average? it should not be done by polls. creates an inherent disadvantage for you. and you get off the stage, it is up to you. just when you get on the stage, it is up to you. you're running for president, put on your big boy pants and let's go. i was never nervous in debates. not once. that was the moment where i had my seat in my own hands. in my own hands. it still makes me laugh when jeff zucker complains about tru mp. you made him. three town hall meetings in a
day, maybe i would reach 1000 people. areald come back to the that has no room service. you get back late, there is nothing to eat coming you order a bad domino's pizza, it comes to your room. bad pizza. and turn on the tv and cnn has their camera on the trump podium. he is not there yet. as soon as he reaches the podium, we will be right there. come on and speak for an hour, uninterrupted, no commercials. mr. axelrod: probably got better pizza. gov. christie: definitely got better pizza. fate intotake your your own hands in the debate. usually i would get between eight and 10 minutes.
figure out how to reach the people sitting on the couch that really are objective and want to know who to vote for. that is the way you strategize it is coming up with different ways to approach. you're thinking -- mr. axelrod: you're thinking it did not work because of all the coverage trump got? -- he made with himself available. gov. christie: we are on c-span right? complete bullshit. todd, john dickerson, george stephanopoulos never called me and asked me to do a sunday show. unprecedented. never before happened in presidential campaigns. i wanted to be on, i had to come
in. even then, they did not always invite you. if donald trump decided to pick up the phone and call, they took the call. any of us would have done it. they wanted him to cut he had ratings. he had been doing it for 10 years on "the apprentice." he understood the business of television. ofmanipulated the president nbc, cnn and fox news. he said it. to the debate,e the ratings will go down so i want these questions and i want to be in the center. i am not blaming him for it, he had the leverage and he used it. him by the way they covered this race.
thank you for being here. my name is claire and i am a senior. i am a huge fan of bruce springsteen. why do you think his music resonates with so many people? gov. christie: i think it resonates with people all over the world because it is honest. there is raw emotion in what bruce does in his writing and performance. people love to feel. for 130 nine. he makes you feel a certain way and makes you think and feel. imagine if you are a kid from new jersey. it is 1975 and you are 13 years old. comes out. he is talking about the exxon where that is.ow he is talking about highway nine
and you have driven on highway nine. people say that new jersey sucks, but this guy is writing about us. he is making us feel great. particularly resonates with people from new jersey because we have a chip on her shoulder. -- our shoulder. when you have that chip on your shoulder, people like bruce make you feel particularly proud of the grit and emotion that new jerseyans have. that is why i like him. mr. axelrod: let me add one postscript. if you have not read his autobiography, you should. one of the things he does is creatively talk about his battle with until illness. -- mental illness. the more people who are open about those, other people will get the help that they need.
it speaks to the humanity of him. it is a very moving book. gov. christie: i saw springsteen on high -- on broadway. one of the great lines he has in there is my whole life, i made a fortune, and embarrassing fortune over writing about men and women who worked 9:00 to 5:00, who worked five days a week. 9:00 toever worked a 5:00 in my life. i am a total hypocrite, but it made -- i made a lot of money off of it. endearingkes him more as time goes on. >> thank you. gov. christie: i'm sorry about the sweater. being a reds fan is tough. sorry.
to come back to the opioids question. he talked about the role of the pharmaceutical companies. i was wondering if you talk about the huge number of lawsuits from states, counties and even cherokee nation towards the opioid manufacturer. where do you see the future of that and will the federal government play a role in that? gov. christie: i think it will be the next coming of the legislation. setting up funds to try to deal with the disaster that they have brought. >> i am not from new jersey. gov. christie: i'm sorry for you. >> that's ok. you do not directly affect me
other than you run half the port authority, which are probably interact with every day when i am home. i question to you -- my question -- it has its own political ambition that you have utilized. how do you get politics out of that or get cost down? gov. christie: i am the wrong guy to ask that question. i tried it. i failed at it. it did not work out. history ofch a long the port authority. the governors have a motion or -- a measure of control, but you want to talk about a bureaucracy that has been there for a long time that goes on autopilot.
the huge amount of money is generated by all the different activities of the port authority , not just the hudson river tunnels and bridges, but also the airport. to some extent yes, and some extent no. it is popular to say that the airports are the worst, but they are also among the worst, along with o'hare and atlanta, the most heavily trafficked in the most congested airspace in america. we have three major airports in a 25 mile radius area and that will be hard to handle no matter what in terms of volume of how people want to travel and the number of people you are moving. twoyork airport will have of its three terminals are new. the port authority is doing that. theare getting a new
guardia airport. those things will get better. the governor and i mr. axelrod: let me ask you on this, on the bridgegate thing, we all remember, it was a final weeks of your election campaign, some of the people who work for you decided it would be a good idea to create some problems for yor not willing to endorse you. gov. christie: that is the story. mr. axelrod: what did you learn hubris and power and your own deficiencies? gov. christie: as i said to people, i was not responsible but i am accountable. there is a difference. i did not know anything about it. it wasn't anybody in the upper levels of my administration, and that has been proven by three different estimations, the u.s. attorney's office, an
independent investigation and an investigation we did. but i am still accountable for it. you learn in politics that every personal decision made not only by you but by other people, because i did not make a couple of those personnel decisions, they were made by others beneath me, can affect you could -- effective. a woman who was the acting deputy chief of staff, she replaced the guy managing my reelection campaign. she was his number two, i did not know her that well. she did not work very closely with me. i worked with a guy running my campaign. you go through this in a reelection campaign, with an incumbent, the lines start to get blurred. mr. axelrod: here is my question, clearly that was an abuse of power. punishing someone -- gov. christie: if you believe the story, i don't believe the story.
i don't believe that is why they did it, i don't. i don't believe that is why they did it. the reason why is because we could have cared less about that guy's endorsement. mr. axelrod: what do you think it is? gov. christie: i don't know, but i don't buy that. good --rod: it is crazy crazy. that's why i mentioned hubris. you ruined my segue. [laughter] storyelrod: there was a about the president personally calling the head of the postal service and you have to raise the rates on amazon. conjectured he is not happy with amazon because jeff bases owns "the washington post," and that's like him saying we need to create traffic for amazon. gov. christie: i don't like the analogy. [laughter] mr. axelrod: i didn't take you
would, but is it apt? gov. christie: it would be if i went out there and moved the cones. mr. axelrod: but do you think the president should be calling service,ng the postal who told him it was about idea. if amazontie: only was being grossly under charged and the taxpayers were being screwed, then maybe it is ok. mr. axelrod: absent that. gov. christie: let me finish. absent that, i don't think it is a good idea. that kind of stuff will come back to bite you if you do it in abusiveat is seen as and out of control. if the public determines that -- did, youat bridgegate talked about me being in-your-face, aggressive guy.
people love that. they love that until they thought it went over the line, and then they hated it. where that line is and not going over that line is really important. and that is why, one of the things people have said about me overtime is that i do understand politics. that is why the idea that i would ever be involved with or create an atmosphere that allowed or sanctioned in some way that kind of thing is crazy. a longt that stupid by shot, and as far as hubris goes, we all have some in this business. hubris ande some ego, if you did not, you could not get through the day. anybody in one of these major positions, the abuse you take. sometimes in an unjustified way. but you cannot go into the fetal
position and stay in bed, it is not an option to not go to work today. then it is in the newspaper. you have to perform everyday. you have to have some kind of ego to get through the stuff that is said about you, fairly and unfairly, not only by political opponents but the media and others. i look at the entire situation come from democrats and independents in new jersey, i got the benefit of the doubt pre-bridgegate and after, i did it. and that hurts. >> hi, i am a third-year at the college. you seem so very passionate about the opioid crisis in america. i will certainly think about you as they consider using opioids. i would like to ask you about the crack cocaine epidemic which also claimed thousands of american lives. beenur opinion, why has it
combated with increased policing and sentencing, and in your opinion, does it have to do with the fact that opioid victims are primarily white and crack cocaine is primarily black victims? gov. christie: that could be possible, i don't think so, i think it is because of the numbers of people affected more than the color of their skin. listen, race plays a role in lots of things in america. i understand that and so do all of you. but with all due respect, i think your analysis of that is much too simplistic. the numbers you are talking about here in the opioid epidemic is what is driving this. not the color of the skin of the people. when you have 74,000 people dying this year, dying, crack cocaine has never come anywhere near that any year, nowhere near that. my guess is it has not come
within one third of that within a year. that is what is driving it, it is affecting everyone. african-americans, hispanics, asian-americans are not immune from the opioid crisis. at all. i think that is a little bit of a too simplistic analysis of it. by the way, the current attorney general wants to combat opioid abuse the same way that crack cocaine is being dealt with, so there is not universal agreement, even in the administration about how to do this. >> thank you. gov. christie: thank you. >> hi kim i am a first year -- high, i'm a first year student. my question is in regards to the polarized political climate in the united states. because of that, do you think low given president trump's approval ratings, it is possible for him to be reelected in 2020?
gov. christie: oh yeah. else, itroved nothing proved that elections are binary choices. you have two of the least popular people in american electoral history on the ballot in 2016. supported objectively by the numbers on election day. the best way i can answer your question is it is absolutely possible and i would say it is even likely when you look at the current crop of folks who are talking about running from the democratic party. they nominate a washington united states senator, get ready for a trump reelection. i am predicting that right now. none of these washington united states senators in my view, on the democratic side, can win a general election. elizabeth warren, bernie
sanders, amal harris -- kamala harris. no way. the country will see them as personifications of the problem. remember, people still do not like washington. and trump, even after being there for years, will be seen as more outside washington than cory booker or bernie sanders or elizabeth warren. so yeah, nobody thought he was going to win last time, people i spoke to. they just didn't. but i tell you something, i ran against him and i was the first person to endorse them and the reason i was is because i have been out there and i felt it. a quick story, my wife went door to door for me in new hampshire, and she introduced herself, and she would tell me the typical conversation would go, we love
your husband, what a great guy, smart and direct, we love him. we are voting for trump, but we love your husband. [laughter] gov. christie: we hope he makes him vice president or attorney general appeared my wife said, wait a second, you say you love chris, why are you voting for trump? they say, washington stinks and we need something different. i don't suspect that in the ensuing 2.5 years, that that opinion will markedly change because of what you said in the preface to your question, this divisiveness leading congress and the president cannot get anything done. you have some democrats who stupidly talk about impeachment. not because i know one way or another what they should do, but i think it is just politics to do that. people don't want it, because they already feel too divided. both sides of already decided
who they are going to vote for next four. the people in the middle who decide elections, in my view, just my opinion, here is what they decided in the last election. they said, he does some crazy stuff and says some crazy things and we are a little nervous about that, that we are more nervous about what we know she does. we don't like her all that much. that is whatng everybody felt, obviously the people who decided the election date, they -- election date, he decided they would take a chance on him blowing up washington instead of her blowing up washington. if that mood prevails, you are darn right he will get reelected. elections are choices and i would argue that the reason axelrod is sitting here and has become so famous and wealthy --
mr. axelrod: famous. we will debate that later. [laughter] gov. christie: he worked with a candidate who saw exactly the same thing trump saw but executed it in a different way. barack obama was the outsider. hillary clinton was the institutional washington insider. , hillary clinton -- do you think they could solve washington's problems? i have been working with people, i'm going to bring a different approach to this. i believe he did. barack obama, at the core of the strategy was not significantly different from donald trump. he ran against washington, d.c. because the american people
everyday hate washington, d.c. more and more. that's what the woman at the door was saying to my wife. we love your husband, he is great, but he has a title and we are not so sure about those people anymore. we want somebody who doesn't, a guy who fires people on television, how about him? we will take him. that is my view. i think the greatest advantage trump has is that people will think the way your question sounded, right? oncewill go, it happened but it cannot happen again, can it? it cannot happen again. i think it can and it is because of the condition the country is and psychologically and because at least at the moment, the the democratic party seems to be pushing to the front. keep an eye on the midterms.
look for new democratic governors. i was a new republican governor in 2010 and was pushed to the forefront to run in 2012, which i decided not to do because i felt like i was not ready to be president. how stupid was i? [laughter] gov. christie: i was into the old, conventional wisdom that you need to have some experience. i had only been governor 16 months, how can i be president? right? watch, there will be some nuke -- some new democratic governors, those of the people to watch for 2020. who didcratic governors not have baggage from washington, d.c. who are going to come in with a bold new ideas that will appeal to the liberal wing of the democratic party and who say don't do it, don't get trump what he wants, give it to me, i have been here 10 months,
he will not be able to nail me. that's what you should be looking for in 2020 for your democrat. if you do one of these other people, it will be really sad on january 20, 2021. mr. axelrod: there you have it from a master practitioner, all of you democrats out there. governor, i could not appreciate more your time today. gov. christie: thank you for having me. [applause] [indiscernible] >> president trump welcomed to the white house american missionary joshua holt following his release from a venezuelan prison after he