October 30th, 2012
06:38 PM ET
10 years ago

Jersey joust: Atlantic City mayor hits back at Gov. Christie

(CNN) - Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford on Tuesday swung back at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's recent jabs suggesting the mayor failed to enforce state-issued evacuation orders ahead of Superstorm Sandy.

"The governor is just wrong–he's dead wrong," Langford said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

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During a press conference Monday, Christie argued the mayor was not getting people out of the Jersey shore town. Tuesday morning, he slightly walked back his comments, saying the mayor was "sending a mixed message."

"He told folks that they could shelter as a last resort in the city of Atlantic City. A number of people chose to do so. That was the wrong thing to do," the Republican governor said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."

Langford, however, took issue with Christie's characterization of the mayor's directions. The Democratic mayor said he held two press conferences and put out press releases in the days before the storm, urging residents to leave.

"Despite our best efforts to have 100% of our people heed that message, sometimes you're always going to have those, who for whatever reason, decide not to heed the message," he said. "We thought it would be prudent to have a shelter of last resort for those people who did not listen."

While New Jersey bore the brunt of the storm and Atlantic City especially suffered extensive physical damage, Langford said he was "happy to report" that "on the human side, all is well."

The mayor added he hadn't spoken with Christie about the recent spat.

"I think it is the governor's responsibility to call me. He's the one that put out the misinformation. He made a mistake. And he ought to be man enough to own up to it," Langford said.

In 2010, Christie pushed for a state takeover of some of Atlantic City's gambling and tourism industries–an agreement that was ultimately reached in October of that year.

Tonight at 9 p.m. ET on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie discusses Superstorm Sandy’s impact on the state.

Filed under: 2012 • Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. Romney Wants To Get Rid Of FEMA

    How do you storm victims feel about that?

    October 31, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  2. Rob - NYC

    "In 2010, Christie pushed for a state takeover of some of Atlantic City's gambling and tourism industries–an agreement that was ultimately reached in October of that year. " I'm very surprised by this. This is very UN-Republican since they vouch for smaller government. As far as evacuating AC, people will go IF they feel like it. They're not going to listen to officials simply because they warned of impending doom. People rather not leave the comfort of their no matter the risks to their lives and quite frankly it's their choice, which is why I believe, the mayor offered the option of staying.

    October 31, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  3. kurtinco

    Is it me, or does Christie seem more and more like a blowhard every time he speaks?

    October 31, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  4. OrangePekoe

    First, Glen, use English instead of netspeak to make your point or most people will ignore you.

    As far as this issue, there are some people who will ignore dire warnings no matter what. It's foolsh and leads to loss of life but unless you want to go house to house and drag people out by force there will always be those who are too stupid to ignore reasonable directions.

    October 31, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  5. Malory Archer

    I live in a small coastal community that was in the projected path of Hurricane Charley prior to it's sudden right turn into Port Charoltte. We have a sizable elderly community concentrated in one area. Even with a category 3 storm forcing mandatory evacuations, some of those folks were determined to stay put. Our police & fire department went from door to door handing out toe tags, asking those who chose to stay to fill them out for identification purposes following the storm. We still had folks who refused to leave, and if the storm HAD hit Pinellas County there would have been massive casualties. Short of arresting them (thereby making city government personally responsible for their health, safety and care at major taxpayer expense) you can't force them to leave.

    October 31, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  6. Critical Thinking

    People never want to leave their homes, so if you have an authority figure giving them that option, they will take it.

    October 31, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  7. ronvan

    The problem is that "mandatory evacuations" are not enforcealbe!! You CANNOT force people out of their homes! Marshall Law would eliminate this problem, but that gets touchy. 40 lives lost, so far, and how many could have been saved? While my thoughts & prayers go out to everyone affected, WHAT does it take to make people understand the dangers? And now we are seeing, as usual, ALL those that stayed, begging for help! While an ADULT can make a decision to stay, WHY, and this really gets me, do we see so many children with them? This is beyond beleif that parents would risk their lives, and their children! As for Gov. Christie, I am very impressed! HE tells it like it is and I bet the repukes are totally upset with him for making positive comments about President Obama!!

    October 31, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  8. Jeb

    Dem political leader doesn't do his job and when called on it refuses accountability. Instead he starts throwing stones at the guy making the charges....sounds familiar somehow.

    October 31, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  9. marc

    I'm surprised Christie put down the Cheese Steak and milk shake long enough to make such a stupid statement. As a republican I find it increasingly harder to believe that the good state of New Jersey was so nieve as to put that portulant blow hard into office. He's like a character from Welcome Back Kotter.

    October 31, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. Willard

    Well, Jeb, if storms could be privatised somehow, that would be great, and it would be "The Republican way"! Don't you think so?

    October 31, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  11. Docraider

    i've been brought up to believe that you can do whatever you want, but there are consequences to those actions. You better be prepared to deal with those consequences, be they good or bad. Ultimately natural selection takes it's course. You can't completely protect people from themselves.

    October 31, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. GI Joe

    Imagine if Mccain and palin were flubbing up again - it would end the republican party forever. Mitt will end it forever if Florida puts him over the line and he has "for profit" hurricane recovery. Mark my word.

    October 31, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. Arnold from Boston

    The Governor was absolutely right!!

    Play the video of the Mayor's Press Conference before Hurricane Sandra and you can see the Atlantic City Office of Emergency Preparedness spokesperson saying that shelters are open and that a list of shelters is available for the press. You can't say you must leave and then immediately contradict that statement by saying here is a shelter where you can stay.

    Go to their website – Department of Public Safety – Office of Emergency Preparedness – Emergency Alert . The webpage says the same thing!!
    "A mandatory evacuation of the barrier islands was to be completed by 4 PM on Sunday, October 28."
    BUT BUT it also says:
    "Shelters are available."

    October 31, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  14. scarf

    I'm finding the estimates of storm damage to be difficult to believe, considering that most of the damage seems to be centered on New Jersey.

    October 31, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. tam

    Arnold - and what would be the criticism if Atlantic City did not put up shelters?

    October 31, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. Name barbara

    The Bible tells us "Thou shelt not lie" there needs to be more love and concern for people and not political power. GOD has the last word and He sees all hearts we all need to be very careful how we treat each other

    October 31, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. FactCheck

    Chris has earned my admiration and of all Democrats by being honest in the interview asked by Fox and CNN with the way our President handled the Sandy crisis.

    There are folks who claim that Christie had to make those statements yesterday in order to appear non-partisan. This is incorrect. The Gov. could have simply said that the Pres and FEMA are working with local authorities to handle the emergency and that would have sufficed. Instead, he went out of his way to praise the Pres. for his actions. He was being truthful and probably sincere in saying that he didn't care about the politics. Too bad for Mitt that he couldn't buy his way into the action...

    October 31, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. Chip Douglas

    Seems to me, Christie should be a college football coach, and not in politics. He can then yell at a bunch of 19-20 yr old kids on guaranteed scholarships....so they won't listen either. Comes off as a big dufus.

    October 31, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. PeterD

    Hurrican Sandy is Obama's Katrina. There is no Help from Federal Govt four days aftermath. Obama is a Weak Leader Period.

    October 31, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. ducky657

    Tone is everything–the Governor told people to evacuate because we won't come and get you and we won't find you a place to stay. Had the Mayor given the same message he could have saved himself some grief. Had Nagan used the same tone Christie did NOL would not have been impacted as badly after Katrina.

    October 31, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. JScogg

    Maybe you can't force people to leave, but you CAN make it clear that people are on their own if they choose to stay. People risking their own lives is one thing. But making others risk their lives to then come rescue the idiots that didn't listen shouldn't be part of the equation. Christie was and is right. He is a no nonsense person that says and does what is needed to get things done. He praised Obama this week, which proves his willingness to call things as they are with no BS.

    October 31, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. Wake up People!

    Where is the topic about the ex director of FEMA criticizing President Obama's response time???

    You know the same guy that was in charge during Katrina.....

    OBAMA 2012!

    October 31, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. AzDem

    Romney Wants To Get Rid Of FEMA. How do you storm victims feel about that? People like Romney/Republicans complain about Government being to big but they now welcome Government in a disaster like this.

    October 31, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Macatak1959

    I guess Mayor Lorenzo believes that "mandatory" doesn't apply to him, or hius constituents. I believe that state and federal funding isn't mandatory either. Let him ask the casinos for help. And to those who didn't evacuate: too bad, idiots.....

    October 31, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. BrianR

    That's right, Peter D. He's doing so badly that a Republican Governor praised his efforts on two national news networks. What universe do you people live in?

    October 31, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
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