New Jersey Governor Christie to cite conservative record in speech

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 12, 2016 3:21 PM

TRENTON, N.J. (Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, will tout his conservative credentials in his State of the State address on Tuesday, his office said.

Christie, whose presidential campaign is focused on the New Hampshire primary election less than a month away, plans to discuss the "unprecedented conservative reform to one of the bluest states in America," his office said.

In seeking support from voters in New Hampshire, Iowa and nationwide, Christie will position himself as a "real leader" who has achieved bi-partisan successes, unlike President Barack Obama, said the governor's office, which provided excerpts of his speech.

Obama is to deliver his final State of the Union address on Tuesday evening. Obama said earlier Tuesday that not being able to unify Washington's political divisions was a "regret."

"The state of the union isn't a call to action, it's a fantasy wish list by a President who has failed us," Christie will say, according to an excerpt from his speech. "It's the world as he wishes it was; not the real world his failed leadership has left to all Americans."

Christie himself faces criticism, with several dozen organized labor and other protesters outside the New Jersey State House on Tuesday upset with his tenure, which Ray Greaves called a "failure."

"Isn't it a shame that this man is running for president?" yelled Greaves, chairman of the New Jersey Amalgamated Transit Union State Council.

Greaves said New Jersey's roads and bridges are crumbling, despite fare toll and fare increases. The state's transportation trust fund for new projects is nearly insolvent.

Other speakers harped on Christie's absences from the state while he campaigned. He traveled for full or partial days more than half of 2015, not including trips to neighboring states.

In addition to touting the state's lowered unemployment rate and roughly 224,000 private jobs created - which, while true, do not reflect the fuller picture of the state's tepid economic recovery - Christie will propose new measures to combat drug addiction.

In particular, he wants to turn a shuttered state prison into a drug abuse treatment facility for inmates, the excerpts said.

(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Richard Chang)