Did Chris Christie prevail in this heated Obamacare exchange?

By Neal McNamara | March 19, 2014
Education Task Force

Despite the George Washington Bridge scandal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has not lost his fire. In an exchange yesterday with an Obamacare supporter, the governor fired back against accusations that he has been “silent” on insuring the state’s uninsured.

According to KTTH host David Boze’s assessment, Christie eviscerated the woman, who was trying to make Christie look bad.

The opponent was Marua Collinsgru of New Jersey Citizen Action. The event took place in South River, N.J., and was supposed to be an open town hall style meeting.

Collinsgru: You know that there are 900,000 eligible uninsured here in New Jersey. We have been working day and night to get them connected to coverage. What we have gotten on the part of the administration despite every gesture we have made to try to engage your administration is silence. We are talking to consumers on a daily basis that have gone to those public sector workers that you disparage here today, they’re on the front lines trying to enroll people in the Medicaid expansion which you adopted, which we applaud.

Christie: That’s not silence then, right?

Collinsgru: What is silence is the $7.6 million that went back …

Christie: When I expanded Medicaid, that isn’t silence.

Collinsgru: No, but you take the money the federal government has given but not put up the state resources.

“I love how [Christies] doesn’t let the silence thing go,” Boze commented. “This quivering voice of animated rage, of suppressed rage of sorrow and sadness that the Republican politician has been holding back on the people and is totally silent about the plight of others. We’ve gotten nothing! There’s been nothing then she has to admit there, oh, I guess there has been a big something there. And I guess that’s not exactly silence. And then it doesn’t faze her that the premise of the first charge against Christie that she’s leveled has already been destroyed. In fact she keeps talking right through it because she’s got the agenda set.”

Christie: That’s simply not true. I didn’t accept the federal resources.

Collinsgru: You did not take the savings that the Medicaid program has realized from cost shifting of federal dollars that needs to remain in the Medicaid program and needs to do a number of things including …

Christie: You’re wrong. The Medicaid program has been expanding. We’re spending more today from both federal and state dollars on Medicaid than at the beginning of my administration. You’re simply wrong to stand up here and misinform people because you have an agenda that is simply incorrect.

Collinsgru: We have a budget statement that we’d be happy to share with you …

Christie: I write the budgets, so I don’t need your budget statements.

“That’s such gold!” said Boze. “Oh yeah, you got a budget statement for me? Way to go! I write it! I don’t’ need to see it. Note how she says, ‘If we get these savings it needs to go for a number of things,’ and the first thing she cites is it need to go to more staffing. So it wasn’t, ‘Hey, it needs to go toward helping various people with horrible conditions that need extra service, it needs to go to staffing.’ Who do you think she’s really representing? When I listen to this, I think is she really representing the plight of the poor there or is she representing some public employee union who’s upset with Christie? The instant I heard staffing, I said, ‘I’m guessing the motivation here is not what it’s set up to be.’”

Christie: I’m sorry that you favor Obamacare and I do not. I’m sorry, that’s just the way it goes.

Collinsgru: There is not anywhere in the application that asks what your party affiliation is. We work with people, 900,000 people, it does not ask …

Christie: I don’t care what your party affiliation is. You brought up party affiliation.

“She just keeps blowing through!” said Boze. “She’s got an agenda to follow through on and that’s what she’s going to do. She brought up the silence. Not true. There’s been no resources. Not true. Well, party affiliation – not applicable. She’s just keep going for another three minutes.”

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