Christie's a No-Show as Obama Urges Govs to Take 'Year of Action'

Monday, 24 Feb 2014 11:07 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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President Barack Obama called for a "year of action" at a black-tie dinner Sunday night that he hosted for the National Governors Association, which was notable by the absence of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Citing a divided Congress that has "a difficult time acting", the president urged the governors to "collectively take action" to make it a "breakthrough year" for the United States.

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"I look forward to working with each of you, not just in our meetings tomorrow, but throughout this year, what I hope to be a year of action," he said. "Our partnership … on issues ranging from education to healthcare to climate change, run deep, deeper than what usually hits the front page.

"I want to make sure I have the opportunity to partner with each of you, in any way that I can, to help more Americans work, study, and strive, and make sure that they see their efforts and faith in this country rewarded."

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His comments came soon after several governors had declared that they planned to ignore a dysfunctional Congress while forging ahead with plans to create jobs, rebuild infrastructure, lower property taxes, and improve education.

Although Christie had been attending meetings at the NGA event in Washington, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association raised some eyebrows by failing to show up to the gala.

Christie, who was condemned for praising Obama after Superstorm Sandy, left town for the weekend for his daughter's birthday and to prepare for a New Jersey budget address on Tuesday, according to ABC News.

The no-show may be the result of Christie wanting to distance himself from Obama following the criticism, but it may have been a deliberate snub because the pair have also been heaping scorn on each other in recent days.

At a town hall meeting last week, Christie assailed Obama for the slow federal response to Sandy flood insurance claims, while the president attacked Christie the next day in a meeting of Democratic governors for opposing a minimum wage hike in the Garden State, which was later approved in a voter referendum.

Obama opened his speech at the NGA dinner by making a joke about governors in the audience who are also potential Republican presidential nominees for 2016, such as Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

"Tonight, we want to make sure that all of you make yourselves at home, to which I'm sure some of you are thinking that's been the plan all along," he said at the White House function to a round of laughter.

"But keep in mind what a wise man once wrote: 'I am more than contented to be governor and shall not care if I never hold another office.' Of course, that was Teddy Roosevelt, so I guess plans change."

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