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Christie stands by his criticism of Boehner

12:20 PM, Jan 6, 2013   |    comments
(Photo: Pete Souza, The White House)
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One question raised in some quarters was whether Christie, a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, had hurt himself in GOP circles by bashing his party's House speaker, who already was politically wobbled from the conclusion of the "fiscal cliff" showdown.

Christie said in a Friday interview that he has no concerns that he damaged himself among Republicans nationally.

"I think what right-thinking Republicans will understand is that I'm representing my people, and that that's got to be my first and most important job," Christie said. "I think the second thing that right-thinking Republicans will come to the conclusion of is that the speaker made a mistake, not only by pulling the vote but by pulling the vote and not even discussing it with anybody first."

On Wednesday, Christie blamed the "toxic" nature of Congress and "palace intrigue" in Washington for Congress' failure to vote on aid to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

"There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: The House majority and their speaker, John Boehner," Christie said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Trenton.

Congress approved $9 billion in aid Friday.

Within New Jersey, the comments are unlikely to hurt Christie, who is seeking re-election this year.

"I don't have to worry ... too much. I think if you try to think about these things too hard, you wind up not being yourself. And I have no interest in not being myself," Christie said. "If it angers some Republicans, I'm sorry. I don't think it should. I think they'd want their governor to do exactly the same thing in the same circumstances. In fact, they would expect him or her to do that, so they shouldn't have any different expectations of me.

"I love my party. I'm a Republican," he said. "I have great respect for the speaker, but he just was wrong on this one."

The governor said his office received 800 supportive emails and 1,000 phone calls from New Jersey residents the afternoon of the news conference and only a few negative reactions, all from out-of-state.

(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)

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