Full Transcript Of Governor Chris Christie’s Interview On CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight: Air Date: Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Piers Morgan: Could the next president of the United States come from New Jersey? Tonight I'll talk to hometown boy made good, governor Chris Christie, and find out.
Governor Christie: I'm making this decision based on whether I believe in my heart that I'm ready to be president of the united states and that I want to be president of the united states right now.
Piers Morgan: Tea Party loves him, and democrats fear him. Sounds like the formula for a perfect Republican Presidential candidate. Chris Christie says he's not running for president. Well, not yet.
Governor Christie: I'm 100% certain I'm not going to run.
Piers Morgan: He's a budget-slashing reformer, a tough-talking former federal prosecutor, and a Jersey Boy born and bred.
New Jerseyan: You are adorable.
Governor Christie: Thank you.
Piers Morgan: He's a Bruce Springsteen fanatic. So could Chris Christie secretly be born to run?
Piers Morgan: What's your favorite song, “Born To Run?”
Governor Christie: No. "Thunder Road."
Piers Morgan: Did you see what I did there? Born to run?
Governor Christie: Yes, I saw that. I went back over it to "Thunder Road," Piers.
Piers Morgan: This is "Piers Morgan Tonight."
Piers Morgan: Governor, welcome back to your old gym.
Governor Christie: It's great to be here.
Piers Morgan: Does this bring back warm memories? Horrible memories?
Governor Christie: Incredibly warm and happy memories for me. I mean, my -- almost all that I am was developed in this place. It really was.
Piers Morgan: Yeah, but in the gym specifically.
Governor Christie: Oh, yeah, listen, I played sports here, and it was a great place to grow up, and we had great athletes that I played with the years that I was here. It -- you know, I watched my own son now play high school baseball and I --
Piers Morgan: Well, I heard you were a bit of a baseball star here.
Governor Christie: Well you know, listen --
Piers Morgan: Trophy cabinet littered with your triumphs.
Governor Christie: I think that's probably overstating it. We had a lot of great players. I played, which was a triumph.
Piers Morgan: But you were good?
Governor Christie: I was pretty good, yeah. I was pretty good.
Piers Morgan: You were a hot athlete in your day?
Governor Christie: I was a good catcher. I was a good baseball catcher and a good leader on the team.
Piers Morgan: Well, talking about being a leader on the team, I loved this quote I found from Steven Sweeney, the Democratic President of the State Senate here. Who said about the difference between his style and yours, "the difference is that I have an off switch and Chris doesn't. You know, if I knock you down, I'll pick you up, brush the dirt off your back, try and build the relationship, and go forward. Chris knocks you down, like with the teachers, and he'll stomp on you, kick on you until he can kill you."
Governor Christie: Very dramatic but not true. You know. Very dramatic but not true.
Piers Morgan: Not true?
Governor Christie: No. Hey listen, I'm tough when I have to be the same way Steve is tough when he has to be. but in the end I'm about getting things done and you don't get things done by stomping people until they're dead. You get things done by standing for your principles. And letting people know that that's what you stand for. And then that can make appropriate compromise possible. But being squishy does not allow to you make appropriate compromise possible.
Piers Morgan: See, to a Brit like me even your accent seems intimidating. it's the kind of thing --
Governor Christie: Good. I'm glad about that.
Piers Morgan: Yeah. You're like a sort of political Tony Soprano.
Governor Christie: Others have said that, Piers. Others have said that. But you know, just like James Gandolfini would say if he were here, there's some of that that is for effect. I mean have to, part of what we do --
Piers Morgan: Do you like the fact you have this slightly intimidating reputation?
Governor Christie: I don't like or dislike it. It's just kind of what it is. It's who I am. And in the end, what I think what people in New Jersey have gotten to know about me over the last decade that I've been in public life is what you see is what you get. and I'm no different when I'm sitting with you than I am when I'm at home or anyplace else, that’s who I am.
Piers Morgan: But right, now I'm getting sort of – you know, this is a very civilized conversation we're having, you're very polite, you're very friendly. But I've seen some of these YouTube videos of you in action in these town halls, and you're on the rampage.
Governor Christie: (Start Town Hall YouTube Clip) Well, and you -- listen, and teachers go into it knowing what the pay scale is.
Teacher: That's right. (End Town Hall YouTube Clip)
Governor Christie: Well, what I am --
Piers Morgan: Lacerating these people. Taking no prisoners.
Governor Christie: I'm responding to --
Piers Morgan: In the words of Mr. Sweeney, taking them down, stomping on them, and killing them.
Governor Christie: I'm responding to their attempted laceration of me. And if you look at the YouTube videos, what you're going to find is – and I say this at my town hall meetings all the time now. Listen, here's the last rule. If you want to screw with me, that's great. And if you do it in a polite a respectable way you'll get a polite respectable disagreement back. But if you decide you want to take me for a walking well then, you're going to get that kind of response as well.
Piers Morgan: I mean, you take no prisoners. You like a fight. America right now is in the fight of its life as a nation, particularly economically. do you think America needs somebody like you who's going to be tough?
Governor Christie: I think America needs lots of tough people. not just me. I think America needs to get tougher, all of us. we need to understand that it's time to step up and pay for what we want. And you know, we haven't been doing that for a long time, and both parties have been guilty of it.
Piers Morgan: Tell me about your upbringing here. You’re a New Jersey man, born and bred. Tell me about the early days.
Governor Christie: Well, my parents moved here to this town from Newark. When I was 5 years old so I could go to this school system because it's one of the best school systems in the state. and they borrowed money. $1,000 from each one of my grandmothers. to put a $2,000 down payment on a $22,000 house that my father was able to get with his VA mortgage from having served in the Army. They wanted to come here for their kids. And so when we sit here and you ask me, you know, is there warm feelings, there's incredibly warm feelings being back here because everything that I become are due to two sets of people. My parents and the teachers that I had in this school system and in this school.
Piers Morgan: Your mother died very sadly five, six years ago. And it was an awful end to her life. But you had this very poignant time with her before she died where she said to you -- two things struck me. One was she said you can go back to work because there's nothing left unsaid between us. Which I found very moving when I read that. also, she said to you going forward, and I'm sure she had great, like all mothers, great aspirations for her boy. She said never worry too much about being loved, focus on being respected because if you're respected then you can find love down the road, people will love you for it.
Governor Christie: Yeah. Listen, I miss her every day. she was incredibly, incredibly strong. and the end of her life was really very difficult for all us, and it came very suddenly. But the greatest gift she ever gave me was that last moment I had with her in the hospital when she said go to work, there's nothing left unsaid between us. You know, that's the way she taught us to be our whole lives. And I think part of my personality is a reflection of that statement because it wasn't just something she said that day. It was the way she taught us to be our whole lives.
Piers Morgan: It's an amazing thing for a mother to be able to say to a son. You know, most people I know there are things left unsaid. Why was it you two were able to not have that situation? How come you've been so open with each other?
Governor Christie: I think part of it was being the oldest son. I mean, I have a great younger brother Todd and a great younger sister, Dawn, but I think there are always special relationships between they’re mother and their oldest son.
Piers Morgan: If you were being honest, what do you think your mother would have said were your best qualities and what would she say would be your not so good qualities?
Governor Christie: I think if -- the best quality she would say is brutally honest, tough, and compassionate. And I think on the worst quality she would say quick to judgment.
Piers Morgan: The great unspoken is the presidential run that's not happening. You said I think more likely you'll commit suicide than run for president. Can we hold you to that, Governor?
Governor Christie: Yeah, you can.
Piers Morgan: Is that one of those little jokes where you think, hang on, maybe I went too far?
Governor Christie: Well, listen, my wife didn't like the joke. What I said was what do I have to do to convince you I'm not going to run for president, commit suicide? That's kind of my humor. My wife didn't think it's the funniest thing I've ever said. but --
Piers Morgan: Here's the thing. I don't understand why you wouldn't want to run this time. I mean, you've got the economy in tatters. Your record on that is pretty strong. You're admired for it. Your poll ratings have been going up. There's no clear candidate. I've interviewed most of them. No one is screaming vote for me yet. You're the guy that the party likes. You got admiration from the public. Why wouldn’t you?
Governor Christie: Because that's not the way you make decisions like running for President of the United States. To put it really simply, I don't want -- if I ever were to make that decision, I wouldn't want to say I know I can win, I hope I'm ready. I'd rather say I know I'm ready, I hope I can win. and --
Piers Morgan: Why aren't you ready?
Governor Christie: Listen, I've been governor for --
Piers Morgan: How old are you now?
Governor Christie: I'm 48.
Piers Morgan: How old is Barack Obama?
Governor Christie: He's about 50, I think. Listen, if it were just about calendar, John McCain would have beaten Barack Obama. you know, if that's the way you gauge readiness.
Piers Morgan: No, but my point would be that to take on Barack Obama right now, he's flying high on the back of Bin Laden being killed, yet the economy is perceived to be a weak point, which it was probably always going to be, tough to come out of a big recession like that. Your party is crying out for a savior, somebody that they think has maybe the youthful energy and dynamism to combat that strength in Obama, someone that's got an economic track record. You know, when I look all the checklists, there aren't many names on it that tick the right boxes right now for republicans. You tick most of those boxes.
Governor Christie: And you know what? Those are all I think appropriate and maybe accurate tactical judgments. That's not the way I'm making this decision. I'm making this decision based on whether I believe in my heart that I'm ready to be president of the united states and that I want to be President of the United States right now.
Piers Morgan: You're aw straight talker, right?
Governor Christie: Yeah.
Piers Morgan: We're 18 months away. It's a long time in politics. It's a long time in life. I don't believe this is 100% closed to you. And I don't think you could look me in the eye, given everything that's going on, and say Piers, I'm 100% certain I'm not going to run. Can you?
Governor Christie: You’re wrong. I'm 100% certain I'm not going to run.
Piers Morgan: Let me rephrase the question.
Governor Christie: Sure.
Piers Morgan: You're 100% certain you won't run this time. Are you 100% certain you won't run in 2016?
Governor Christie: Well you see there are so many variables to that, Piers, I couldn't say I'm 100% certain.
Piers Morgan: Give me a percentage.
Governor Christie: I couldn't.
Piers Morgan: Given you're not running this time, who do you think right now is the best option for your party to take on Barack Obama?
Governor Christie: I don't think we have a best option yet.
Piers Morgan: Who most impresses you personally?
Governor Christie: A lot of those folks impress me personally. But none of them have emerged in my mind yet as the best option. When one of them do, I'll say it publicly. But I'm not ready to do that yet because I don't think any of them have yet distinguished themselves to say this is the best person not only to take on Barack Obama, but more importantly, to lead our nation in the next four years after this election, so –
Piers Morgan: Hypothetically, if you were in the game, three top issues for you, what would they be? What would you run on if you were running?
Governor Christie: Listen, I think the three top issues are the three top issues for anybody. Not for me or anybody else. The three top issues have to be restoring jobs and private sector job growth to our country, getting the entitlement mess under control, and restoring back to our country a sense of self-confidence that Americans can achieve whatever we want to achieve. And so jobs, restoring fiscal sanity, and restoring a sense of hope and confidence to our people I think are the three most important things.
Piers Morgan: I want to take a short break. When we come back I want to talk to you specifically about the economy, how to get America back to work.
Governor Christie: (Start Clip From The Baseball Field) So that was the home dugout, the visiting dugout.
Piers Morgan: So when you come out here in your old pitch here, what do you think? what do you feel?
Governor Christie: An incredible rush of memories and really good feeling. (End Clip From The Baseball Field)
Piers Morgan: Why do you think America got itself into such a terrible mess economically? What do you think was the problem?
Governor Christie: Greed. And because no one wanted to tell anybody the truth. The truth was you can't continue to spend the kind of money our spending on all these entitlement programs. I think we need more people in public life who are willing to say no, we can't afford certain things, no we can't do certain things, we've got to wind up being honest with people. I think we got ourselves in this mess because some people in the financial industry became incredibly short-sighted and greedy and we had government officials who refused to say no.
Piers Morgan: We obviously have a situation where a lot of bankers and banks have been bailed out by the taxpayer effectively, and then having made their money back the first thing they do is award themselves massive bonuses all over again. Have they learned any lessons? Would you have done something different to stop them being able to do that?
Governor Christie: I probably wouldn't have done anything different to stop them to do that except to use the power of the bully pulpit if you're president to call attention to it and to try to shame them into doing something different. I don't believe in that kind of heavy-handed regulation where we're saying, you know, we're going to tell you how much you can pay people. But I do think that what really caused the problem was not so much the high-pay, was just the incredibly risky securities that they were creating and selling and spreading kind of like a cancer through the system that really caused the incredible downturn that we had in 2008 and 2009.
Piers Morgan: Is it time, do you think, that the administration, the next president, whoever it may be, made domestic issues absolutely the primary focus? Because it seems like for the last eight, ten years, ever since 9/11, really, a lot of the focus has shifted to Iraq, to Afghanistan, the hunt for bin laden. Trillions of dollars being spent on these wars. Libya we now see blowing up, all the middle east and everything. where would your focus be right now for America?
Governor Christie: Well, I think I talked about it when you asked about priorities. you know, I think it's about creating private sector jobs, which is bringing more investment home. I think it's about getting our fiscal house in order, which means looking at every way we spend money.
Piers Morgan: Would you pull the troops out of Afghanistan now?
Governor Christie: You know, I wouldn't do it now, but I would be guided by what our military advisers told us to do. But I do think that capturing bin laden and killing Bin Laden was one of the real goals of the original Afghanistan intervention. and I'm not a nation-building kind of guy. So --
Piers Morgan: But Americans have to be by default the world's policemen. and a lot of Americans I talked to are getting a bit fed up with spending all this money when there are so many problems at home, on being the world's policemen. There are other superpowers emerging. Would you like to see a spreading of that load going forward where America's not the go-to country? For military support, for helping out with despotic regimes and so on.
Governor Christie: Well, America's always got to be the leader in that regard.
Piers Morgan: Does it have to be?
Governor Christie: I think it does --
Piers Morgan: I mean, look at Libya and the way President Obama dealt with that. You know, he quite deliberately decided America wasn't going to be the leader.
Governor Christie: Yeah. But we really are. I mean, come on, let's face it, we are. He's calling the shots. and we all know that. And so let's not be kidding because they call it something different. America's taken the responsibility. Now, do I think there has to be shared sacrifice among other nations in the world who want a stable and secure world? Absolutely, there has to be. But I don't think that America can ever abdicate its leadership role in the world because of who we are and where we've come from. we are the symbol for the world for freedom and liberty.
Piers Morgan: Is President Obama a good leader?
Governor Christie: I think he's a good leader. Sure. Listen, he's the President of the United States. And I don't -- I disagree with him on a lot of substantive issues, but I'm not one of these people that says that somehow he's not a legitimate leader. He was elected President of the United States. The people spoke on that issue.
Piers Morgan: And that's good enough for you?
Governor Christie: It's a democracy. It's good enough for me.
Piers Morgan: What is your simple economic philosophy?
Governor Christie: I don't know if there's a simple economic philosophy. But I believe in entrepreneurship. I believe in the power of the individual to create great wealth and great opportunity in this country. I look at somebody like Mark Zuckerberg, who I've gotten to know over time here in new jersey, who from his dorm room at Harvard has created a worldwide phenomenon. Only in America could that happen.
Piers Morgan: Mark Zuckerberg gave $100 million for education to put into schools. This has been a huge deal for you, this battle you have with education unions. They've accused you of bullying them. You've been pretty vigorous in your response saying that if you want to go into teaching you know the pay grade, there's no point squealing about it when you get there, you don't like it don't go into it.
Governor Christie: Listen, what I really want is accountability. And I think most great teachers want accountability. I mean the teachers I had in this school that helped make me who I am, they would never fear accountability because they knew they were doing a great job, and they watched children develop under their watch. And all I'm saying is that every child in New Jersey deserves the kind of education I got in this building. Every one of them does. And we're paying more per pupil per year than any state in America.
Piers Morgan: Piers Morgan: I had an interview with one of your more famous residents recently, who was complimentary and scathing about you in equal measure, and I won’t say who it was. Where she was scathing was where she said “if he believes so much in the education system in this state, why doesn’t he send his children to a public school?”
Governor Christie: Well, that’s none of her business. That’s my choice and my wife’s choice. We happen to believe that a religious education is an important part of an overall education for our children. So we’ve decided to send our children to Catholic school because we believe that. It’s no shot on the public schools. I’m a graduate of the public schools. My wife is a graduate of parochial schools. When our child became five years old, I wanted him to go to public school. She wanted him to go to parochial school. All of our kids go to parochial school. So you can figure out who wields the power in the Christie household. But I’ve come to agree with her. I think it’s an important part of our children’s growth as human beings and so we’ve made that choice but guess what? I still pay $38,000 a year in property taxes, most of which go to the public school system in my town and we don’t utilize it and I don’t complain about it because that’s my responsibility as a citizen of my town and my state but then don’t tell me that I can’t be serious about public education because I don’t send my children there. Every child is my responsibility in this state and that’s the kind of liberal know-nothing thinking that just drives me crazy.
Piers Morgan: See I quite like that exchange, I can see the fire welling up inside you.
Governor Christie: That kind of stuff annoys me.
Piers Morgan: I can see a bit of the really Christie there.
Governor Christie: Well, that’s just part of the real Christie because what you were seeing before is the real Christie too. You're not just one type of person. And neither am I.
Piers Morgan: What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about you?
Governor Christie That I'm running around always being tough and angry and yelling and screaming. But if you bring up my children and my choice and my wife's choice about how we school our children and that somehow that diminishes my voice and my leadership on education, that's such baloney I can't stand it. So then you are going to see a little fire in response to that.
Piers Morgan: As someone who has admired you from afar but never met you before today, I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed in Choppergate, as it became known, the helicopter argument. And the reason was your prosecuting career had so clearly positioned you as a guy that was just completely anti all form of corruption and that looked like corruption. When you just read a bare headline, “Governor Uses State Helicopter”, to fly to kid’s baseball game, you sort of wince a bit. Why did you do that?
Governor Christie: Because I’m a father first. Because I had demands at the Statehouse and had demands that evening that had been preplanned before I knew my son would have a state championship baseball game, and I wanted to be there for him and I missed a lot of stuff with my kids and I’m not complaining. That’s the nature of my job. I asked for this job. In fact I worked hard to get it. But I’m a father first. And that was the way I could get to my son’s game that day.
Piers Morgan: Do you regret it?
Governor Christie: No. I make no apologies for it.
Piers Morgan: But you paid the money back.
Governor Christie: I paid the money back because I thought it was important to let the public know that I wasn’t using this as a perk of office.
Piers Morgan: Wouldn’t the traditional Christie route be if you believed absolutely that what you had done was the right thing, to say no I’m not paying the money back. It’s the right thing. In a funny way I would have preferred you to do that, I would have went he’s standing by his guns. Actually you’re trying to have it both ways. You’re giving the money back, so you’re admitting it was wrong, but then you’re looking at me and saying I don’t regret it.
Governor Christie: No I’m not admitting that it was wrong, what I’m saying is that if the public perceives for a moment that I'm using that as a perk of office, that I want to take that away from them right away, But I would not make a different decision if I had to do it again because it was important for me as a father to be there for my son.
Piers Morgan: Given all the criticism that you got are you honestly telling me you would do that again.
Governor Christie: Listen. I’m going to be the best father I can be and I’m going to use whatever I have at my disposal to try to balance, you know, the interests of my job which I take extraordinarily seriously and the interests of my children having me present in their lives.
Piers Morgan: Yeah but would you do it again?
Governor Christie: Yeah I probably would. I probably would. But I‘d pay for it.
Piers Morgan: So that would be the difference.
Governor Christie: Yeah so I just would take the perception away from it.
Piers Morgan: Governor, we're going to have another break. And when we come back, I want to ask you what you feel guilty about, as a good catholic boy.
Piers Morgan: You were always a bit of a high flyer here. President of everything, right?
Governor Christie: Senior class, junior class, sophomore class. yeah, all the way through.
Piers Morgan: Even as you're saying that your chest is puffing out.
Governor Christie: Sure.
Piers Morgan: With pride.
Governor Christie: Winning beats losing, Piers you know.
Governor Christie: Row two. First, second row. One, two, three, four people. There I am.
Piers Morgan: You look like some sort of Olympian athlete.
Governor Christie: Well, it was thirty-one years ago.
Piers Morgan: You’re a Catholic.
Governor Christie: I am.
Piers Morgan: When I interviewed Mitt Romney, he made what I thought was quite a surprising statement. He intended to divorce all matters of his faith from his political life. I figured that he did this because he sees being a Mormon as a potential weakness to the electorate. Do you see that you can do that? Can you divorce being a Catholic with all that means that you stand for as a Catholic and I’m a Catholic, from running for high office?
Governor Christie: Well I think you have to understand that we are not a religious democracy. Religion to me is a personal thing. And so, you know, I have to make certain decisions. My decisions are going to be made based on what I think is best for all the people of New Jersey. My Catholicism informs part of who I am. But it does not rule who I am.
Piers Morgan: I’ll ask you what I asked him and he refused to answer. Is homosexuality a sin?
Governor Christie: Well my religion says it’s a sin. I mean I think, but for me, I’ve always believed that people are born with the predisposition to be homosexual. And so I think if someone is born that way it’s very difficult to say then that’s a sin. But I understand that my Church says that but for me personally I don’t look at someone who is homosexual as a sinner.
Piers Morgan: You support civil unions. You don’t support gay marriage. Can you see a situation where you would change your mind about that?
Governor Christie: I don’t think so. I believe marriage is an institution between one man and one woman. I think it’s special and unique in society and I think we can have civil unions that help to give the same type of legal rights to same-sex couples that marriage gives them but I just think marriage is a special connotation. I couldn’t change my mind on that but I am in favor of making sure that homosexual couples have the same type of legal rights that heterosexual couples have.
Piers Morgan: On abortion, quite controversially for a New Jersey governor, you came out strongly against it, a pretty liberal state when you became Governor. Tell me about that. Obviously an interesting, not a dilemma but for you a position to take that you knew was quite controversial.
Governor Christie: I just told people about it right up front. I’m pro-life, I believe in exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother, but I do believe that life is precious and should be protected.
Piers Morgan: You had this feeling firmly when your wife with one of your children was thirteen weeks pregnant and you saw a scan I think.
Governor Christie: I heard a heartbeat. What happened was I had been pro-choice before that and I would call myself before that a kind of a non-thinking pro-choice person, kind of the default position that I took and then when my wife was pregnant with our daughter Sarah who is now fifteen, we happened to go to one of the prenatal visits at thirteen weeks. And they put the Doppler on my wife’s abdomen who didn’t look at all pregnant at that point, visibly, and we heard this incredibly strong heartbeat. I remember we came separately, she came from her job and I came from mine, we went back to work. As I was driving back to work I said to myself you know, under my position on abortion I would say that a week ago that wasn’t a life. I heard that heartbeat, that’s a life. It led to me having a real reflection on my position and when I took time to reflect on it I just said you know what? I’m not comfortable with that anymore, that was back in 1995, and I’ve been pro-life ever since.
Piers Morgan: Part of the thing being a Catholic is you confess to sins, we see in the light of Weinergate, Schwarzeneggergate, and so on, anything you want to get off your chest?
Governor Christie: You don’t look like a priest to me Piers. No.
Piers Morgan: Will we read about any skeletons tumbling from your closet?
Governor Christie: Any confessions I need to make I’ll make to my wife and my priest. Not on CNN to you pal.
Piers Morgan: The other thing about being a Catholic is feeling guilty. Do you ever feel guilty about something?
Governor Christie: Listen, I had a Sicilian mother. Guilt was like a staple served on the kitchen table.
Piers Morgan: What do you feel most guilty about?
Governor Christie: Depends on the day. The thing that I feel most guilty about, my weight.
Piers Morgan: Really?
Governor Christie: Yeah. Because I’m really struggling, been struggling for a long time with it, and I know that it would be better for my kids if I got it more under control. And so I do feel a sense of guilt at times about that.
Piers Morgan: Why do you think you’ve had a battle with your weight?
Governor Christie: If I could figure it out, I’d fix it.
Piers Morgan: You don’t know what it is.
Governor Christie: I don’t.
Piers Morgan: Do you ever get help for it?
Governor Christie: Sure. Plenty of times.
Piers Morgan: Where do you fall down in terms of dealing with it?
Governor Christie: I eat too much. I mean that’s not a complicated thing. It’s one of those things. Everyone has faults.
Piers Morgan: Is it the one jibe about you that really stings?
Governor Christie: No, no, because I know that people who jibe me about that are just ignorant. They’re just ignorant because it doesn’t matter. It’s my issue and when people talk about those kinds of things I think it just displays their ignorance because in the end, it doesn’t have any effect on the way that I do my job. And so if they’re commentating about me as Governor and decide they want to do that, you know what I conclude? I must be doing a damn good job because if that’s all they’ve got to jibe me about, Amen man. Have a good day.
Piers Morgan: Final question for here, do you think you would make a good President?
Governor Christie: No, my wife was asked this question, and she said yes. I’ll leave it at that.
Piers Morgan: Governor we’re going to leave the gym which you’ll be quite relieved about to go to a few other interesting locations in the life of Chris Christie.
Governor Christie: Excellent.
Piers Morgan: So we’re in a very classic New Jersey diner here. How much of your life have you spent in places like this?
Governor Christie: A lot especially when I was running for office. Diners are one of the key places to campaign. New Jerseyans spend a lot of time in diners and this is the diner of my youth.
Piers Morgan: When you come here, what do you get out of it other than nice food and coffee.
Governor Christie: It was a place to socialize for teenagers, a place where we could come, we could buy some food that was affordable, was good and that we could have fun, they didn’t kick us out.
Piers Morgan: I couldn’t help but noticing there was a frisson of excitement when you came in Governor. You’re popular with the locals.
Governor Christie: Listen, this is my hometown.
Piers Morgan: The most famous New Jersey celebrity is probably Bruce Springsteen.
Governor Christie: Yes.
Piers Morgan: Who has given you a few whacks.
Governor Christie: Yeah he has.
Piers Morgan: How do you feel about that?
Governor Christie: It’s OK.
Piers Morgan: Is it the New Jersey way?
Governor Christie: I think it is and it’s no surprise to me because Bruce is a liberal and he and I have different political philosophies but I’ve been to 125 of his shows so I love him, I love his music, I love the way he performs.
Piers Morgan: What’s your favorite song? “Born to Run?”
Governor Christie: No. “Thunder Road.” “Thunder Road.”
Piers Morgan: See what I did there? “Born To Run”
Governor Christie: Yeah I saw, “Thunder Road” Piers. “Thunder Road” is my favorite. I grew up as Bruce was becoming prominent. My high school years were the “Born to Run” years, “Darkness on the Edge of Town”
Piers Morgan: He like you like everyone I’ve met in New Jersey straight talkers, no bullshit, they call it as they see it.
Governor Christie: Yeah.
Piers Morgan: Not going to suffer fools. That’s the vibe I get.
Governor Christie: It is and that’s the vibe of the state. Folks here are tough, they’re edgy, but they’ve really got big hearts. And so they’re willing to welcome you in. But don’t cross them. New Jersey hates phonies. And we can smell them from a mile away.
Piers Morgan: Why are you looking at me that way?
Governor Christie: We’re still evaluating you Piers. We’re still evaluating you. You’re trending positively. We’re still evaluating you.
Piers Morgan: A lot of people say in American politics, the scale of the country, what you do state wise is the same as what you would do on the national level.
Governor Christie: I think philosophically on those kind of big broad issues for me I would bring the same approach and the same ideas to a higher job that I would to this one. But where it gets a little tricky is there might be certain things that I would be in favor of doing as Governor where as a President I might back off a little bit because I think it’s the right of the states to do certain things.
Piers Morgan: I want to imagine that you would run America a lot like they run this diner. You want to make it an attractive place as possible for people to come and invest in, spend their money, but in terms of the business end of the operation, keep costs to an absolute minimum, provide quality, make sure you’ve got good, reliable, loyal staff, and in the end feel that you’re providing a snapshot of what America should be about.
Governor Christie: Absolutely. Couldn’t agree with you more. That’s what you try to do. I don’t think it’s very complex. I think sometimes we try to make things too complex. That’s why Ronald Reagan was such a popular American president with the American people because he didn’t pretend to be in every detail. He said here’s the direction we’re going in. Here are the things I stand for. That’s sometimes where the current President gets himself in trouble. I think he does seem a little too detail oriented, a little too professorial, a little too in the weeds. I think people want an American president that strides across the country and brings us a philosophy and a principle that he’s willing to stand by. One of the best things about Reagan was that if you presented a different fact problem, you could probably guess what Reagan would say on it. People felt like they knew him.
Piers Morgan: We’re now going to meet the one person I think you’re genuinely scared of. Your wife.
Governor Christie: There is no question. Real fear.
Piers Morgan: So Governor we’re now in your kitchen.
Governor Christie: Yes.
Piers Morgan: And we’ve now reached the boss in the relationship, your wife, Mary Pat. I spent a lot of time with your husband today. A fascinating character in many ways, had a lot to say about you, you wear the trousers in this relationship. Is that an accurate description?
Mary Pat Christie: No I think we’re more of a team than one person wearing the trousers.
Piers Morgan: They say behind every successful man there’s a good woman prodding him on. Would you go along with that?
Mary Pat Christie: I definitely think I’m a good woman, but we really do work as a team. We really have helped each other both in our careers and in our personal lives.
Piers Morgan: Did you ever imagine that you’d end up being a Governor’s wife?
Mary Pat Christie: Not really no.
Piers Morgan: Is it better or worse than you hoped?
Mary Pat Christie: Well I think it’s been great. It’s been a tremendous honor just such a privilege to represent the state. I really didn’t imagine it would be so exciting and eventful.
Piers Morgan: There’s lots of your husband possibly running for the Presidency. When I asked him about it I sort of got the sense he didn’t feel he was ready and collectively he has a family. You kind of agreed with that. Is that right?
Mary Pat Christie: Yes I’d agree with that. We have as you know a large family, four children, at really pretty crucial ages in their development and a lot of moving parts in this family so I think as a team we all decided it wasn’t the right time.
Piers Morgan: What if your country needs him?
Mary Pat Christie: Well I’m sure his country could use him but his family needs him more.
Piers Morgan: Could you imagine him not one day running for President? Isn’t it just, we went to school, his school this morning and there he was, president of every single thing in the school. The whole school must have called him president for years on end. He goes to baseball. He wins that. Everything he does he wants to be number one. He’s already been called president for ten years.
Mary Pat Christie: Yeah look I think there are so many things Chris can do for the rest of his life after he’s Governor, hopefully for a total of eight years, and I think he could be President, I think he’d be a great President, but I think he’d also be a great CEO, he’d be a great person to stay home and teach college classes. I think he could do anything he wanted.
Piers Morgan: What is it about him do you think if it came to a presidential race, why should Americans vote for him?
Mary Pat Christie: Because Chris has an unbelievable ability to succinctly analyze a problem, come up with solutions, listen to people and then communicate the solutions. That’s really what I think, there’s no better communicator I know.
Piers Morgan: When I asked him if he was a good Catholic boy, about any sins he wanted to absolve himself of, I’m a Catholic as well, in confession.
Mary Pat Christie: Lovely, we need a priest.
Governor Christie: I told him.
Piers Morgan: Yes he said that and actually he’d only admit these to you. Anything you want to share with us?
Mary Pat Christie: No. Not at all. Nice try Piers.
Piers Morgan: What’s the single biggest misconception about your husband do you think?
Mary Pat Christie: Probably that he’s mean. I mean, he’s just the nicest guy and funny.
Piers Morgan: He’s the most ferocious prosecutor you’ve ever met. Right?
Mary Pat Christie: There you go. As a prosecutor his focus was to never prosecute the wrong person. People will never know how hard Chris worked and not prosecuting someone that he wasn’t absolutely confident they were guilty.
Piers Morgan: He’s a pussycat really.
Mary Pat Christie: Yeah, well --
Piers Morgan: We wouldn’t go that far.
Mary Pat Christie: You’re putting words into my mouth Piers.
Piers Morgan: So we’re now going to be joined by two of your children, I’m delighted to say, Sarah and Andrew, welcome. Andrew you’re the one now very famous because you were the one playing baseball when Daddy had his helicopter. Were you embarrassed, were you proud of him, how did you feel?
Andrew Christie: No I mean I was just happy that he was coming to the game. He told me when we won our last game on Friday he told me that it looks like the only way I’m going to be able to get there was by helicopter. I kind of laughed and said that’s fine if you’re going to be able to make it. My whole team kind of knew in advance and they were staring at the helicopter as it landed. It was good. We ended up winning.
Piers Morgan: I’m very pleased congratulations. He has said he may do this again. Now are you happy if that helicopter comes into sight again in the middle of the game?
Andrew Christie: Maybe it was good intimidation.
Piers Morgan: You’re at an age, how old are you now?
Andrew Christie: Seventeen.
Piers Morgan: You’re getting quite political, you’re nearly able to vote, are you a Republican by nature would you say?
Andrew Christie: Yes.
Piers Morgan: When you look at the other candidates doesn’t part of you think I wish the old man would run because he’d have a better chance?
Andrew Christie: You know I guess part of me thinks that a little bit but I don’t think for us personally as a family or for him it would be that’s the best idea.
Piers Morgan: I don’t understand your kids being scared of the White House. You’ve already measured the Lincoln Bedroom. How cool would that be? Imagine the chicks. Come by the White House tonight for a cocktail. Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it.
Andrew Christie: I’ve definitely thought about it. It would definitely be cool as I said. Probably not right now. Maybe in a few years though.
Piers Morgan: Now you two know your Dad better than most people. When he looks me in the eye and says it’s 100% certain I will not run in 2012, should I believe him?
Andrew Christie: Yes.
Piers Morgan: When he says that he means it.
Sarah Christie: I ask him that all the time too. I’ll hear stories and stuff.
Piers Morgan: You keep having to ask him when he says that you believe him.
Sarah Christie: I want to be sure because I just don’t want him, making sure you’re not running.
Piers Morgan: I saw back at the school pictures of your Dad when he won the state championship baseball and he looked athletic like you do. He did say earlier that one of the reasons he wants to lose weight now is for his children. What do you think? Would you like him to?
Andrew Christie: Of course, yeah. I know Sarah’s pretty concerned about it, expresses that often, and of course everyone would want him to lose some weight.
Piers Morgan: Sarah, why are you concerned about that?
Sarah Christie: I just want him to be healthy and I think he’s be happier and I just think, you know, it would be one less thing people could say about him.
Piers Morgan: As his daughter do you get upset when people poke fun at him?
Sarah Christie: Yeah. It’s not like he chooses that necessarily and it’s just a stupid thing to make fun of him for.
Piers Morgan: Finally you two what would you say are the best things about your Dad and the most annoying?
Andrew Christie: The best things, I think the best things are that he’s always someone I can talk to about almost anything. He’s been there for me my whole life as a coach, as a father and we can just pretty much relate to everything together. A lot of people say we’re a lot alike.
Piers Morgan: You are alike.
Andrew Christie: Yes.
Piers Morgan: Sarah, I can’t even imagine what it’s like when you bring boyfriends around.
Sarah Christie: He told me in the campaign I asked if I was going to have State Police with me all the time. He said only when he thought I was in danger and that was whenever I was with a boy. I was not too happy about that.
Piers Morgan: What would you say are his best and worst characteristics?
Sarah Christie: Best, kind of what Andrew said, he’s always been there, I think he does his best and he succeeds in making his family a priority and just kind of always reminding us like before he went out to give his speech on Election Night the six of us huddled in a circle, and this is all crazy but just remember these six people here are all that really matters right now and we’re going to go out there and we’re going to try to do our best for New Jersey. It reminds us all the time about how your family is going to be your best friend and they’ll always be there.
Pies Morgan: A group huddle. I like it. And what would you say is the negative about your Dad?
Sarah Christie: I always say he’s very embarrassing. Blasting Usher music in the car.
Piers Morgan: Oh no you just killed off any chance he had. He plays Usher music. It’s been great to meet you. You’re obviously a very close loving family and whatever does happen I wish you all the best of luck.
Governor Christie: Thanks Piers.
Piers Morgan: Thank you very much.