UP   |  January 19, 2014

New Jersey politics from a national lens

When news broke on allegations from the mayor of Hoboken, N.J., Gov. Chris Christie was in Florida. The panelists look at his time in Florida and the varying images of New Jersey politics that people outside of the state have.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> you didn't need to get up at 8:00 a.m . yesterday morning to hear about the allegations made by the mayor of hoboken . dawn zimmer said two officials told her the city of hoboken would not get critical sandy relief money unless she approved a development plan . you might expect when an accusation like that is leveled at an administration what mayor zimmer told us yesterday morning made headlines almost everywhere .

shock claim: christie camp held sandy funds hostage. "the star-ledger" calling it a bombshell and explosive. to headlines in "the washington post ," reuters, " usa today ," other broadcast news networks and many, many are more. this was not how the weekend was suppose supposed to go for chris christie . the plan was for governor christie , who is starting out as chairman of the republican governors association , to spend the weekend in florida raising funds, raising his profile including raising his profile. i read that wrong there. the florida trip was described as a victory tour for the governor and presumed presidential candidate. instead this weekend christie has been dogged by new accusations and by democratic pr protesters. the republicans who scheduled his events have gone to, quote, super secret lengths to keep the press away, not just keeping them out but keeping them from evening knowing where the events are being held and this afternoon christie is scheduled to meet with more than 100 republicans at the home of one of the richest men in america who founded the home depot . although it is not a fund-raising event. according to langone, it is a time for christie to connect with prominent republican supporters from the financial and political communities. maybe they'll be talking about brady versus manning, maybe they'll be talking about something else. we'll be talking about something else but i'll be watching brady versus manning later. senator greenstein, i wanted to pick it back up with you braus assembly bramnick was saying this is not a place for political committees, a place for the senate committees. you are saying you think there is a place for your committee to do this, to do an investigation into what dawn zimmer said yesterday.

>> i do. i think both the senate and the assembly committees should look at it. i think if dawn zimmer herself, mayor zimmer , decides to go to the u.s. attorney , she can do that. and i do believe that the u.s. attorney will look at the facts that we uncover and will probably tell us at a certain point we're picking this up as a criminal investigation . but i still think to start out we should take a look at it as we're hopefully going to do.

>> and, david, you've covered new jersey politics, you've covered the down fall of governor defrancesco and governor mcgreevey. you've seen the roots. looking at past experience covering situations like that, how do you think about what you're seeing right now with chris christie ?

>> you know, i actually think that what he's experiencing is kind of a changed political real reality both outside the state and very much so in state. we had a story on the front page today about that external reality shift . you alluded to some of the problems he's encountering, fund-raising for other republicans. lindsey graham and south carolina has basically said no thanks to the planned visit by governor christie . inside the state, you know, all these investigations, it's kind of like reporters and to some degree lawmakers have become like the tom cruise character in "a few good men" trying to prove that governor christie ordered the code red . now pretty much every major deal that he's done behind the scenes , you know, if it proves that he's a bully or if it proves that he's vindictive, if it proves he's a hardball player, it's almost like it will feed this narrative that he's practicing policy only in pursuit of politics. and that's a really difficult thing. i mean, the guy who a lot of people vetted for him, many democrats i know voted for him thinking that he was kind of an entertaining character. the thing is you don't really need him on that wall. it's a little much for people who might have thought he was entertaining to see the reality might be a little too much for people.

>> i've always said this outside of new jersey having covered new jersey that there's two images of new jersey that people have and one is very positive of the jersey guy that's unvarnished, rough around the edges guy who is plain spoken and isn't going to bs you and that's the image of new jersey that chris christie has projected outside the state. he's made him so popular nationally. you see him in iowa and in south carolina talking about i'm going to talk to you jersey style today and the crowd eats it up. the stuff that's coming out about the bridge, the stuff that the mayor of hoboken alleges yesterday, speaks to this other image of new jersey as this den of seediness and corruption and malfeasance and dirty dealing, it seems for the governor right now is with some of the revelations, some of the accusations, that's where it stands right now, but that they feed into that kind of image, that side of new jersey .

>> this is what i've learned, when you're that popular as a republican nationally and you're ahead in the polls over hillary clinton , you'd better be real careful at who is coming at you. that's the first. second, chris christie , there's been no proof whatsoever, none, that he's connected to any of the allegations. so at some point in time and i truly believe when it turns out that he was not connected, he comes out of this as a tougher, stronger, and even more popular leader.

>> even if it comes out of this that chris christie him seven did not know about any of the bridge stuff, that what he said in the press conference is totally true, doesn't it come out that he's an incompetent leader because this happened in his office, under him and he was clue ne clueness and didn't see it coming?

>> when stupid stuff happens , and i run a law office and msnbc has a lot of employees, when stupid stuff happens , if you take responsibility and then it's shown that you weren't connected to it, in my judgment, it shows he's strong. now, he's so unusual. i don't think i've ever seen anybody as charismatic, as stro strong, and he took new jersey -- he changed things in new jersey no one thought they could ever change. risky business .

>> we'll pick it up right after this. we have one more segment. ng? yes! one