May 1st, 2012
08:30 PM ET
2 years ago

Christie uses GOP star power to help embattled Walker

Oak Creek, Wisconsin (CNN) – Faced with the threat of losing his job in a bitter recall election, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pressed his case with the help of a Republican rock star: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Both men attended two public events in Wisconsin: an early afternoon fundraiser in Green Bay and, later, a rally in front of a wildly supportive crowd at a landscaping company in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN

Politically speaking, there was something in it for both men.

Walker faces a June 5 recall election after biting criticism, particularly from labor unions and their Democratic allies, for supporting a February 2011 bill that stripped state employees of most of their collective bargaining rights.

The men do not exactly agree on that toxic issue. Though Christie cut some public sector spending in 2011, including employee pensions and benefits, the Garden State governor is in favor of collective bargaining rights.

"With the public interest in mind first," Christie press secretary Michael Drewniak said. New Jersey and Wisconsin are "not peas in a pod," Drewniak added, citing their myriad different economic issues.

Drewniak stressed that the Christie administration is engaged in collective bargaining with the Communications Workers of America in New Jersey.

Christie and Walker's differences on the matter were not on display Tuesday as Christie rallied to the side of his GOP counterpart.

Taking the stage after Lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who also is facing recall, Walker began with a highly personal note before firing up his supporters.

"So many people have said to us, you know, over the past year, 'How do you put up with all the grief?'" Walker said, adding that "thousands" of people have been bused in front of his private home.

"How do you put up with your kids being targeted on Facebook? With all the other grief along the way?" Walker continued.

"You see, for every one person like that there are nine- or tenfold that I know in factories or farms or small businesses all across the state who say: 'Governor, we're praying for you.' And that means the world to us."

Walker rattled off a list of his administration's accomplishments. Among them: "Our unemployment rate has dropped down to 6.8%, the lowest it's been since 2008;" 15,600 new private sector jobs in the first three months of this year; and employers ready to add more this year.

"You know what the biggest concern [employers] have about whether they're going to add those jobs now or a few months down the road? It's the recall," Walker said. "Because you see, they understand that we can either go forward or backwards."

Christie echoed those themes.

"New Jersey went through this battle and is going through this battle," Christie said, citing his administration's actions since taking office.

Christie said New Jersey will cut income taxes "by July 1," and cited $2.3 billion in business tax cuts.

Christie asked rhetorically how his state could do this.

"Because we treated the people of New Jersey like adults. We told them the truth. We told them that they had dug a hole, their government had put them in that hole and the only way to fix our state was to help each other climb out of that hole. And it's going to be hard. Everyone is going to have to sacrifice," Christie said.

"But I promised them this: if we sacrifice together, we'd benefit together. So this year, they sacrificed for two years. Now, in year three, everyone will get a tax cut in the state of New Jersey."

"I tell you this story not to brag about ourselves. I tell you this story to show you what next year is going to look like if you do the right thing on June 5," Christie added.

Aside from the benefits of pushing conservative ideals, campaigning together also offers political benefits for both men.

Walker's campaign benefits because Christie is a wildly popular Republican governor and also one whose frequent straight-in-your-face approach plainly lays out the benefits of conservative governance. Christie can claim some credit should Walker prevail, while also receiving likely GOP praise for rushing to the side of an embattled fellow conservative.

The Democratic Governor's Association lumped both men together in what it deemed a faction of failure.

Before the Walker-Christie campaign events, Communications Director Kate Hansen said in a statement, "While we're sure the New Jersey governor's blustering rhetoric will be a perfect match for Walker's overreaching, divisive attacks on workers' rights and women's rights, Walker and Christie won't have much to talk about in the job creation department."

Hansen continued: "While Walker tries desperately to whitewash his worst-in-the-nation job creation record ahead of the June 5 recall election, Christie probably isn't the best choice to talk up Walker's failed leadership: while Wisconsin lost 4,300 private sector jobs in March, New Jersey lost nearly triple that number, at 11,600."

CNN asked the New Jersey Republican State Committee about Hansen's criticisms.

"Gov. Christie is proud to support another Republican governor who, like himself, faced seemingly insurmountable problems upon being elected and is meeting the challenge by making tough choices, like closing a $3.6 billion deficit without raising taxes on families," wrote Communications Director Douglass V. Mayer. "The governor will stand with leaders who make the right decisions, not just the choices that are politically expedient."

Recent polls show a tight race between Walker and his likely Democratic opponents: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett or Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.

Also see:

Romney might convince me, Christie says

Obama calls out 'previous statements' about bin Laden

McDonnell's Va. ads are about his state, not himself, spokesman says


Filed under: 2012 • Chris Christie • Scott Walker • Wisconsin
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Nobodies Pon

    The only way he can help walker is to eat the competition.

    May 1, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  2. Chipster

    I've said it often and say it again: Republicans simply have no sense of IRONY ! They are all walking contradictions. They slandered a geniune war hero (John Kerry) and elected someone who avoided service in Viet Nam by jumping to the head of the National Guard line and working for his dad's campaign (not to mention Cheney's 5 deferments). They pledge not to raise taxes and praise Reagan who raised taxes 11 times! Just today, a Republican criticized Obama for reminding us of the successful operation against Bin Laden, claiming that John McCain would never have used something like that for his campaign! How many thousands of times did we all hear about "McCain, the POW" during the last Presidential campaign! LOL! Like I said: NO sense of irony.

    May 1, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  3. Roger Long

    Why is Christy in Wisconsin when he has Teachers in NJ abusing autistic children and being protected by the state of NJ. If Christy was the fine individual he claims to be he would make Protecting Children a priority. From the recent news articles it does not seem he is doing that.

    May 1, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  4. darl

    Anyone who is even "Remotely Middleclass or low income that would "Listen to these Job Killers b&S, "Needs their heads examined by a Brain Specialist??? WOW

    May 1, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  5. louis

    Bringing in this guy will not help Walker one bit or change one vote ,Walker is on his way out here in Wisc.

    May 1, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  6. Sorensen

    Nothing is going to help the little sleazeball. He will get kicked out forever.
    Shame on Christie for trying to help him. That will cost him later.

    May 1, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  7. B

    Scott Walker's political career is on life support and the voters of Wisconsin are about to pull the plug on June 5th. Chris Christie, the Koch brothers, or anybody else for that matter will be unable to resuscitate his failing career.

    May 1, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  8. Mark

    Dollars to donuts those who sacrificed the most from the spending cuts won't be the ones who will benefit the most from the tax cuts in Jersey.

    May 1, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  9. Steve

    Republican rock star? I didn't know Meatloaf had entered politics.

    May 1, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  10. Bootstomper

    Christie is a flash in the pan. This guy better get in some sort of physical shape or his term as Gov will e a short one.

    May 1, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  11. Gurgyl

    This guy is a biggest joker...

    May 1, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  12. Sue

    Whether of not Walker is recalled is up to the people of Wisconsin....not Gov. Christie....he needs to stay in New Jersey.

    May 1, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  13. bcnu_too

    How can you call Christie a rock star? He is more like a big fat gob of blubber with a loud, obnoxious mouth – that is hardly someone with "star" quality.

    May 1, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  14. Deej59

    "Because we treated the people of New Jersey like adults. We told them the truth."

    They must have never seen Jersey Shore.

    May 1, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  15. Name

    Please tell the truth.

    May 1, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  16. Slightly Left of Center

    Star power? Rock star? Yet, they call the president a celebrity...

    May 1, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  17. Mario

    You have the New Jersey Biggest Loser contestant and the Wisconsin Biggest Dream Killer on stage BEGGING the Tea Party for there support.

    May 1, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  18. Jan930

    Scott Walker is a snake in the grass.

    May 1, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Christie is doing things other than being governor of the state. His income tax cut isn't what most New Jerseyans really want. It is a new way to keep the property taxes from rising without keeping services from disappearing from towns. Chrisitie has bagered and angered many people here in NJ because he doesn't know how to be a governor and still thinks of himself as a prosecutor. They are different mindset; change for Christie would be good NJ.

    May 1, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  20. RINO Bil

    I am from Illinois, so I know a bad governor when I see one. I would gladly take either one of our two-jail bird governors (either Ryan, the Republican one, or Blago, the Democrat one, makes no difference to me.) over Scott Walker any day of the week.

    May 1, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  21. T in Dallas

    Glad he used "Star Power" I'd hate to see his "full moon'.

    May 1, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  22. Johnny B. Goode

    Walker is going to be recalled. He deserves it after messing over people who work for a living. Bye Bye Scottie.

    May 1, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  23. Tyler Durden

    Scott "Mini Me" Walker:
    GET IN MY BELLY!!!!!!

    May 1, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  24. Johnny B. Goode

    The fact that Christie would come to Wisconsin to support someone like Scott Walker shows he's a joke as well.

    May 1, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  25. jocko

    When I see Christie and Walker together, I hear the theme from the movie "Deliverance" playing, too.

    May 1, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
1 2