TIME Chris Christie

The Political Upside of Chris Christie’s Threats Against Colorado Pot Users

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) holds a town hall meeting at the American Legion Dupuis Cross Post 15 July 2, 2015 in Ashland, New Hampshire.
Darren McCollester—2015 Getty Images New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) holds a town hall meeting at the American Legion Dupuis Cross Post 15 July 2, 2015 in Ashland, New Hampshire.

The upside and downside of going after weed

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie threatened users of marijuana who have been buying the drug legally under state law on Tuesday. “If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it,” he said, according to Bloomberg. “As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”

The blunt language ran against the tide of national public opinion, distinguished him from most of his colleagues in the Republican field, and could present problems in key states like Colorado and New Hampshire, where majorities support marijuana legalization. But pollsters say the straight talk might also offer him political upside, by appealing to conservative voters and separating him from his rivals.

An April Pew poll found that 53% of the country now supports marijuana legalization, including 39% of Republicans. On the question of whether the federal government should override state law to bust pot users, 59% of Americans, including 54% of self-identified Republicans, oppose the federal enforcement in states like Colorado.

In Colorado, a crucial 2016 swing state, the numbers are slightly more favorable for legal pot. According to a recent Quinnipiac University Poll, 62% of Colorado voters support recreational marijuana legalization. A poll done for the Denver Post shows how the supporters break down by political party: 66% of Democrats and 62% of Independents said they would vote to legalize marijuana in the state if the ballot came up again, while only 26% of Republicans said they would.

Christie’s tough stance could cut both ways in the primary and general campaign. “You can safely say in Colorado the decision to legalize marijuana is popular,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “And when you walk in with a broad stroke saying I’m going to take this away, it could negatively affect Chris Christie.”

But Malloy said there’s a potential benefit to Christie’s strong stance, as well. Of the 16 Republican candidates, few others openly share Christie’s support of federal enforcement, though Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and South Caolina Sen. Lindsay Graham have tiptoed around it. Most candidates, from Florida Governor Jeb Bush to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, instead say they would leave the question of routine marijuana enforcement up to the states. Their views are summed-up by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who said, “I think Colorado voters made a choice. I don’t support their choice, but I do support their right to make that choice.”

So Malloy thinks that even if many voters disagree with Christie, his resolute stance on the issue makes him stand out from the rest of the field. “It’s certainly a bold, against the tide claim for Chris Christie,” Malloy said. “When you’re one of 16 and your star is not rising as it was a few years ago, what appears as a principled move could work in your favor.”

Christie has always been opposed to marijuana legalization, both politically and personally: “Never have. It wasn’t my thing,” he said of using the drug on a recent campaign swing.

Andrew Smith, director of the Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire, agreed with Malloy. “What all these guys need to do is separate themselves from the field,” he said. “Part of the way you do that is to distinguish yourself from the other candidates.”

Plus, according to Smith, there’s less of a political downside to being anti-pot in New Hampshire than there is in Colorado. “It’s not a major issue here,” he said, although a recent UNH poll showed 60% of New Hampshire voters support legalization, and 72% support decriminalization. “The libertarian voters, the voters in the Republican Party who are most likely to be proponents of marijuana legalization, first off they’re going to be less likely to vote… and if they are Republicans, they’re probably going to be more the libertarian Rand Paul supporters… There are enough older more conservative republicans, culturally conservative, that would support [Christie] on that.”

TIME 2016 Election

New Hampshire Sisters Snag Selfies With Presidential Hopefuls

Donald Trump poses for a photo with Emma Nozell (L) and her sister Addy Nozell in Laconia, N.H. on July 17, 2015.
Emma Nozell—AP Donald Trump poses for a photo with Emma Nozell (L) and her sister Addy Nozell in Laconia, N.H. on July 17, 2015.

From Chris Christie to Ben Carson to Donald Trump, they've got 'em all

(CONCORD, N.H.) — Addy and Emma Nozell aren’t the first New Hampshire residents to collect photos of themselves with as many presidential candidates as possible. But in the age of selfies, the Merrimack sisters are attracting a lot of attention, so much so that candidates now arrive in the state ready for their close-ups with the teens.

Here are five things to know about New Hampshire’s presidential selfie sisters:


It all started on July 2, when 15-year-old Emma decided she wanted to snap a photo of herself with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. They caught up with him Nashua, where Christie stopped at an ice cream stand.

“I took a selfie with him, and then Addy decided, ‘Why not get ’em with everyone?'” Emma said.

While that encounter marked their first foray into presidential selfies, the girls are no strangers to the campaign trail. Their parents have made a point of taking them to political events since they were babies.

“Since our parents bring us to all these events, we thought it was pretty do-able,” said Addy. “We were always in the parades. We were always making signs. We were always helping them with whatever was needed.”



The sisters are least happy with their picture with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, because he’s not looking at the camera. (They’ve offered him a do-over.)

In terms of overall experience, the most difficult was Dr. Ben Carson, who wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post website criticizing the “obvious narcissism of endlessly photographing oneself and blasting it over social networks for others to admire.”

Emma was determined, albeit nervous.

“I went up to him and said, ‘I know you don’t like selfies, I understand that, but I’m doing this project with all the other candidates,'” Emma said. “‘I was wondering if you could take a selfie with me.'”

He said yes.



The sisters have some advice for fellow selfie seekers: Find a hole in the crowd, make eye contact and smile. Asking permission is a must, but selfie sticks are a no-no, she said, because they are too unwieldy in large crowds.

“Don’t be afraid to get up in there,” said Emma, who generally is the one snapping the photos.

On Thursday, the girls approached Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at a crowded diner in Amherst. He demurred at first, saying he’d pose with them after his speech. But Emma knew there wouldn’t be enough time afterward.

“I was like, ‘No, we gotta take it now,'” she said.

The girls’ mother, Wendy Thomas, said she was amazed watching her daughter charge up to the candidate.

“She got it. This little pit-bull selfie girl,” she said.



By the time the girls caught up with Donald Trump at the Weirs Beach Community Center on Thursday, however, something had shifted. Instead of having to push through a crowd, they faced a clear walkway and a candidate who appeared to be waiting for them.

“His handlers said, ‘These are the girls,’ and he said, ‘Oh, alright, let’s get the selfie,'” Addy said. “We were flabbergasted. Wow. He knew!”



Neither girl will be old enough to vote in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, though Addy will turn 18 before the general election. She said she leans toward Democrats, but is open to Republicans as well, and has liked some of what she has heard on the campaign trail.

“I probably won’t decide until the very last minute,” she said.

Both sisters said they have learned a lot, not just about the candidates but about the media.

“It started off just for fun, but now it has become very educational,” Emma said.

TIME 2016 Election

The New Republican Power Players in 2016: Wives (And One Husband)

Chris Christie
Mary Schwalm—AP Republican presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his wife wife Mary Pat walk in the Fourth of July parade in Wolfeboro, N.H.

Accomplished partners are taking leading roles inside White House campaigns

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was making his way slowly down Main Street in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, held up by yet another fan who wanted a selfie along the parade’s route. The process was delaying the day in July, throwing the whole campaign off-schedule and making Christie’s aides nervous about making it to the next stop. Enter Mary Pat Christie, campaign’s all-purpose fixer. Her task for the day: be the antidote to any long-winded well-wisher or fat-fingered iPhone user.

“Hi, I’m Mary Pat,” she said with an outstretched hand, breaking into the conversation. She subtly grabbed her husband’s elbow and said quietly, “We’ve got to go.” She directed him to the next group of supporters in a way that didn’t offend the voter and got the job done.

Mary Pat Christie is just one of the examples of a politically savvy, deeply involved spouses who are having an impact on the Republicans’ crowded chase of the presidential nomination. Some more subtly than others, these women—and one man—are weighing in on policy, schedules, staff, tactics and strategies. Among them are two Wall Street executives (Mary Pat Christie and Heidi Cruz) who traded their jobs for campaign roles, two nurses (Anita Perry and Karen Santorum), an almost-PhD (Supriya Jindal) and a political consultant (Kelley Paul) who once counted a rival to her husband (Ted Cruz) as a client. Another (Frank Fiorina) left his job as a vice president at AT&T to support his wife’s business career and is a constant figure in her endeavors.

Gone are the days when voters considered it out of bounds when a wife troubled herself with politics or policy. In 1992, Bill and Hillary Clinton were on defense over the idea that she would have a policy role at the White House and a strategic role in the campaign. Now similar two-for-one offerings on the campaign trail are as common as not.

“We’re good partners,” Mary Pat Christie explained to TIME days later. “We have been our whole life. We’ve been married almost 30 years. No one knows each other better than we do.” It’s why, from time to time, she settles into the chair next to her husband when his advisers are ready to start a political briefing. And when he is looking to rake in Wall Street cash, Mary Pat Christie’s Rolodex is invaluable.

Even as Christie was declaring his intentions to run for President, he made a nod that Mary Pat was part of the deal. “Everyone thinks I’m the politician in the family. We did a coin flip when we got married. I called tails. Tails never fails so I’m the guy who ran,” Christie said. “But the politician just as good as me in the family is the woman that I met all those years ago at the University of Delaware.”

For sure, there are less politically involved spouses in the mix, too. Columba Bush, the wife of Jeb, clings to her privacy and insists she never talks policy with her husband. Marco Rubio’s wife, Jeanette, remains focused on raising four children at home in West Miami. Karen Santorum is a full-time caregiver to a daughter who requires near-constant medical attention because of a genetic disorder. “While she may be a great asset on a campaign, she is an indispensable asset at home,” former Sen. Rick Santorum says.

But this is hardly the field of quiet would-be First Ladies standing silently at heir husbands’ sides. If their lives are going to be upended for the unmatched challenge of running for the White House, they’re going to pitch in. Mary Pat left her job as a managing director and bond trader at Angelo Gordon to focus on the campaign. Heidi Cruz is on leave from her job as a managing director at financial giant Goldman Sachs, and has set up shop inside her husband’s campaign. (Heidi Cruz met Ted while working on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign in 2000.)

Similarly, Anita Perry and Janet Huckabee are among the closest political advisers to their spouses and have hired their own chiefs of staff to run their political operations at campaign headquarters. Kelley Paul often schedules campaign events of her own as her husband is tied up with his day job in the Senate. Paul’s advisers describe Kelley Paul, herself a successful political consultant and author, as their best advocate among female voters.

Tonette Walker is described as one of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s biggest boosters—and challengers when she disagrees with him, as she did when he came out forcefully against the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage. “I was torn,” she said in one interview, noting she is very close to a female cousin and her wife. Conservatives immediately criticized the Governor over his wife’s positions. “Someone with a leftist wife is going to have a hard time,” Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association, tells TIME.

It’s a tough balancing act for these spouses, especially those putting their careers on hold to pitch in with their partners. “I’ll do as much as I can, as long as I can keep that balance with my children at home and life on the road,” said Mary Pat Christie, who chatted with former First Lady Barbara Bush about what to expect during a challenging campaign. It left her unfazed.

That doesn’t mean Mary Pat Christie is giving her husband a pass on what she sees as common courtesies. For example, she is dogging the Governor to remember names of aides and volunteers. “This work is not easy and it’s so important to show your appreciation for people,” Mary Pat Christie told her husband after he fumbled aides’ names. The next time, he remembered.

With reporting by Zeke Miller in Wolfeboro, N.H.

TIME Donald Trump

Republicans Plot New Tactics to Take On Donald Trump

The GOP struggles to deal with a problem of its own creation.

The trouble started more than a week ago. Chris Christie was three days into his presidential campaign on July 2, yet he kept getting thrown off message with questions about Donald Trump. The New Jersey Governor, known for his attitude and bombast, flashed a frustrated glare at reporters. “I’ve said this now about eight or nine times. I’ll say the same thing again,” he said on the street in downtown Nashua between campaign stops. “The comments were inappropriate.” That much was clear.

What remained less so for Christie and the rest of the GOP field was whether the questions about the reality television star-turned-presidential candidate would ever stop. In the days that followed, something like the opposite has happened. Trump has risen from petty distraction to campaign sensation, rising near the top of national and early-state polling on the backs of his universal name recognition, a platform appealing to the GOP fringes, and a steady stream of inflammatory comments.

This has led campaigns and Republican leaders to rethink their response to Trump. Initial efforts to ignore him have failed, daily denunciations of him have only increased his visibility, putting him into first place in the GOP field according to one online-only poll sponsored by YouGov and The Economist. A candidate that many Republicans long courted for his megaphone and populist following now threatens to tar the larger party with comments about rapists and criminals flooding over the southern border.

“The first rule of politics when you’re in a hole is to stop digging,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said at the Atlantic Council on Wednesday. “Someone needs to take the shovel out of Donald Trump’s hands.”

And many of Trump’s rivals are gearing up to do just that.

One strategy that is growing in favor is to treat him like any other candidate, and using his well-documented record of inflammatory, contradictory, and unorthodox statements against him. Trump has said he loves Hillary Clinton, was pro-choice and pro-same-sex marriage—just a few examples of comments that his supporters would find objectionable. In 1999, Trump proposed a one-time “net worth” tax on the wealthy to wipe out the national debt.

Other candidates are taking on Trump head-on, hoping for a slice of the media fracas. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry released a video this week making his opposition to Trump personal. “Hey Donald, I saw your tweet the other day, but I think you might need to borrow my glasses to get a good look at the steps I took to secure the border while I was governor of Texas,” Perry said.

“Your comments about Mexicans are offensive and they don’t reflect the values of the Republican Party,” he added.

An option that is off the table is trying to keep Trump off the debate stage; he is all but certain to qualify if he turns in his financial disclosure on time. The GOP’s governing Republican National Committee voted in May on a resolution in favor of ensuring neutrality in the primary process, and the Party and television networks would find themselves afoul of campaign finance rules if they tried to keep a qualified candidate off stage.

And while there is a risk that he will overshadow or diminish the rest of the field, it might not be the worst thing for the other candidates. “We see beating up on Trump on the debate stage as an opportunity,” said an aide to one candidate, who like most of the GOP field, complains that Trump is only a factor because of the press. “It’s a media-generated story, since they’re giving him this platform and going around asking everyone about it everyday.”

Others worry that Trump’s presence on stage will make the entire field appear smaller by association. GOP poobahs are encouraging candidates to get in Trump’s face, no matter the cost.

“When Donald trump speaks about Hispanics, if I’m the smart Republican that stage, I’m going to rally and defend Hispanics and be their voice and become their champion,” says Ari Fleischer, the former Bush White House Press Secretary who co-authored the party’s 2012 autopsy calling for more outreach to Latino voters.

“My advice to Republican candidates is to say the truth: “Trump is not representative of the Republican Party. He doesn’t reflect our values and isn’t focused on the best interests of the country or the party.” And then they’ll have no reasons to answer Trump questions again,” said Tony Fratto, the managing partner at GOP firm Hamilton Place Strategies and a former Deputy White House Press Secretary in the Bush 43 administration.

On Saturday, Trump will travel to Arizona, a hotbed for the nativist immigration sentiment that Trump has sought to capture, to further speak about the southern border. On Thursday, a spokesperson said that the venue had been moved to the Phoenix Convention Center in anticipation of a crowd of “thousands.”

There he will continue to try to square his current positions with some of his past statements. Ironically after the 2012 election, Trump said that Romney had chased Latino voters away by with a “crazy policy of self-deportation, which was maniacal,” and suggesting that he backed a path to legal status for those in the U.S. illegally.

Now Trump is occupying headlines by defending saying that many immigrants from Mexico were “rapists,” and citing contrived statistics about the number of people in the U.S. without legal status. He has proclaimed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio “extremely weak” on immigration and suggested that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was compromised on the issue because his wife is Mexican-American.

“Do I regret it? No, I don’t regret it,” Trump told CNN of criticizing Columba Bush. Jeb Bush later called Trump’s claims “ludicrous.”

Trump now threatens to upend a years long and multi-million dollar effort by the Republican Party to make inroads with Hispanic voters, an effort RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has called essential to the party’s survival as a long-term political force. On Wednesday, Priebus phoned Trump to nudge him to tone down his rhetoric, focusing on the party’s efforts to win over Latinos, but the message fell largely on deaf ears, with Trump proclaiming that the chairman called to “congratulate” him on his success in the polls.

In many ways, Trump is a problem of the GOP’s own creation. A generation of party leaders and candidates has overlooked the bluster as they sought out his entertainment, endorsement, and checkbook. “Many of us have seen Trump for what he is for a long time, and have been concerned with the willingness of Republican leaders to tolerate him for really convenient, myopic reasons,” says Fratto.

Trump’s public prescriptions for the border, international trade, and foreign policy, if not his actions, have found a following in the overly-nationalistic and protectionist wings of the Republican Party that were once captivated by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the tea party, and marshaled by the GOP to retake the House in 2010. His rise has cut into the polling support for Sen. Ted Cruz, which explains why he is alone among Republicans in defending Trump.

For years, Trump has been a staple on the GOP’s rubber chicken dinner circuit, appearing at state conventions and party fundraisers. They tolerated his endless “birther” critiques of Obama, because his celebrity and entertainment value filled seats. As he worked to secure his nomination in 2012, Mitt Romney embraced Trump in an press conference in a ballroom at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Las Vegas.

“There are some things that you just can’t imagine happening in your life, and this is one of them,” Romney said after Trump’s introduction. After he finished lavishing praise on Trump, the pair shared an awkward handshake, in which Romney declined to look toward the assembled photographers.

Months later, Trump hosted a fundraising reception for Romney at the same hotel, and the GOP nominee’s campaign ran a “Dine with The Donald” fundraising contest, in which the winner would tour the Celebrity Apprentice boardroom, stay at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, and sit for a meal with Romney and Trump.

After the last three weeks, the 2016 Republican nominee for president, assuming Trump does not win, is unlikely to do the same.

Read next: 18 Republicans Donald Trump Has Insulted

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TIME Chris Christie

Christie Won’t Pledge to Undo Iran Deal

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) holds a town hall meeting at the American Legion Dupuis Cross Post 15 July 2, 2015 in Ashland, New Hampshire.
Darren McCollester—2015 Getty Images New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) holds a town hall meeting at the American Legion Dupuis Cross Post 15 July 2, 2015 in Ashland, New Hampshire.

Even though he doesn't like it.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Saturday that while he is deeply troubled by the emerging Iranian nuclear agreement, he would not pledge to undo it should he take office.

Speaking to Republicans on July 4th in this lakeside vacation town, Christie sought to differentiate himself from the other 15 GOP candidates for president, casting himself as a leader who would carefully consider all options.

“I’m not one of those guys who’s going to say to you, ‘on Day One I will abrogate the agreement,'” Christie said, noting that the American president could not just act alone when China, Russia, Germany, France and the United Kingdom are also parties to the deal, should one emerge. “On Day One, I will look into it and try to decide, depending upon where we are at that moment.”

As Christie was speaking, American and international negotiators were continuing talks in Vienna to complete the deal before this week’s deadline. Christie said he would have long since walked away from the table, arguing that Iran cannot be trusted to implement the agreement.

“If I was negotiating this deal right now, I would be gone,” he said. “I would be away from the table. I would be going back to our allies and saying these are not reliable negotiators on the other side—not the people we can count on to keep their word. They haven’t shown us that.”

But Christie added he could not commit to revoke an agreement without prior investigation.

“If I’m saddled with the deal as president, then on the first day I’ll be saying to my national security advisor, to my Secretary of State and to my head of national intelligence: give me all the information I need to let me know all the options I have to try to put this genie back in the bottle, and then we’ll make a decision,” he added.

The comments follow a pattern for Christie, who has tried to draw subtle differences between himself and the rest of the GOP field on a range of policy proposals. Christie told a crowd of more than 100 at the breakfast event to “be careful” of candidates who make promises about what they’ll do on “Day One.”

“I have grave, grave doubts that this is an agreement I will be willing to stand behind, but I also don’t want to be the kind of president who tells all of you something in a campaign and that either doesn’t do it, hoping you forget that I told you I would actually do it on the first day,” he said. “Or, who does it only because I promised it, even if at that moment it’s not what’s in the best interests of America.”

TIME 2016 Election

Romney to Host Rubio, Christie for July 4th

Two 2016 hopefuls join the 2012 nominee at his vacation home

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is hosting two of his would-be successors Friday night at his home for the July 4th holiday.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are marching in the Wolfeboro, N.H. Fourth of July parade—the largest in the state—on Saturday morning, just blocks from the Romney family vacation home in the bucolic lakeside town.

“Governor Romney heard that his friends, Governor Christie and Senator Rubio, along with their families, would be in Wolfeboro over the July 4th holiday weekend,” a Romney spokesperson said. “He and Mrs. Romney opened their home to their friends and look forward to celebrating America’s birthday.”

Both Christie and Rubio attended Romney’s E2 Summit in Park City, Utah last month and are hoping to win over his supporters and donors in the first-in-the-nation primary state. Romney told reporters at the summit that he intends to remain neutral through the primaries.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry are also participating in New Hampshire July 4th festivities on Saturday, but will be staying elsewhere.

TIME Chris Christie

Christie Opposes Exemptions for Clerks Who Object to Same-Sex Marriage

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) holds a town hall meeting at the American Legion Dupuis Cross Post 15 July 2, 2015 in Ashland, New Hampshire.
Darren McCollester—2015 Getty Images New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) holds a town hall meeting at the American Legion Dupuis Cross Post 15 July 2, 2015 in Ashland, New Hampshire.

“You took the job and you took the oath."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie broke with many in his party’s social conservative wing Wednesday, telling reporters that government employees who have objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses should not be allowed to opt out.

While many conservatives have called for steps to protect government employees who have objections to Friday’s same-sex marriage ruling from the Supreme Court, Christie said those who work for the government should abide by their oaths.

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” Christie told reporters following a town hall at a lakeside home, noting there are laws that he enforces as governor that he disagrees with. “I’m sure there are individual circumstances that might merit some examination,” he added, “but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

Other Republican presidential candidates have stressed the importance of protecting religious freedom. Fellow GOP presidential candidate Bobby Jindal issued an executive order in May in an attempt to protect those who believe that same-sex unions should not be recognized. His executive counsel released a memo Monday arguing that state employees with objections should be protected.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took a similar line on Sunday: “If they have a conscientious objection, I think they should be excused.”

When asked about protection for clerks who object to providing same-sex marriage licenses, Christie implied that there could be specific accommodations made for religious exemptions on a case-by-case basis. But overall, he said those trying to opt out should rethink how they are doing their jobs.

“You took the job and you took the oath,” he said. “When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it.”

TIME Chris Christie

Maine’s Tea Party Governor Endorses Chris Christie

Chris Christie, Paul LePage
Robert F. Bukaty—AP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, and Maine Gov. Paul LePage in Bangor, Maine, on, Aug. 12, 2014.

He's the first sitting Republican governor to endorse in the 2016 race

Maine Governor Paul LePage became the first sitting Republican governor to endorse a presidential candidate Wednesday morning when he boosted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at the waterside Becky’s Diner in downtown Portland.

The two make an easy pair, with Christie having made a number of trips and steering more than $2 million as chairman of the Republican Governors Association to boost LePage’s re-election candidacy last year. They share a similar temperament, with both known for high-profile flare-ups in front of television cameras. Just last week, LePage joked about shooting a newspaper cartoonist who has been critical of him.

“He’s a little bit shy,” LePage quipped about Christie as he delivered his endorsement. “I’m going to work over the next year, to bring him out of his shell.”

“He’s not gonna be a politician and talk out of both sides of his mouth,” LePage told a gaggle of about 30 journalists after greeting and posing for photos with diners eating short-stacks and sipping coffee . “What he’s gonna do is tell you things you may not want to hear but you need to hear, and then he’s gonna go to work to fix them.”

Christie thanked LePage for the endorsement. “I think that says a lot about our candidacy, and quite frankly, it says more about Paul LePage,” he said. “This is a guy who knows how to make decisions.”

“He’s a great friend and he’s going to be an important part of this campaign as we move forward,” he continued.

The hastily arranged event less than 24 hours after his presidential announcement took Christie on a detour from his five-day swing to New Hampshire, where he is devoting his all, to neighboring Maine, whose caucuses proved inconclusive amid a bitter intra-party squabble in 2012.

LePage’s endorsement of Christie forty miles north of the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport comes after matriarch Barbara Bush appeared in a Republican Governors Association ad on LePage’s behalf last year, endorsing the controversial figure on behalf of herself and former President George H.W. Bush.

Speaking to reporters, Christie condemned clerks and other government officials in several southern states who have refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses after last week’s Supreme Court ruling, pointing to his own experience in New Jersey after his state Supreme Court ordered it legalized two years ago.

“I believe that folks need to enforce the law, enforce the Constitution if you’ve taken an oath,” Christie said. “Whether you agree with any particular law or not, they don’t put that caveat in your oath. The oath is to enforce the law and the Constitution.”

Christie said he was not concerned that some presidential candidates will be excluded from the stage at the first two presidential primary debates beginning next month, saying he believes he will make the cut, even as he is in danger of falling from the top 10 in several surveys.

“My view is, I intend to be on the debate stage and I intend to speak my mind and I’m sure that that will go well for us,” he said. “And we’ll see what everyone else does. But in the end, it’s up to the party and the debate sponsors.”

TIME Chris Christie

Chris Christie Criticizes Supreme Court’s Chief Justice

Gov. Chris Christie announces his presidential campaign on June 30, 2015 at Livingston High School in Livingston, New Jersey.
Steve Sands—WireImage Gov. Chris Christie announces his presidential campaign on June 30, 2015 at Livingston High School in Livingston, New Jersey.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he is “incredibly disappointed” with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts after his opinion last week on Affordable Care Act subsidies, suggesting the jurist acted inconsistently with his opinion the following day when he opposed legalizing same-sex marriages.

Meeting New Hampshire voters at his first town hall since declaring his presidential campaign early Tuesday, Christie was asked what type of justices he would nominate to the Supreme Court. He replied that he was partial to the legal reasoning of fellow New Jerseyan, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, one of the court’s most conservative members.

“Every opinion that I’ve seen Justice Alito put out has been consistent and reasoned, and if I became President of the United States, I’d be out there looking for Sam Alitos to put on the Court,” Christie said.

“Those are the kind of justices I’m looking for,” Christie said. “If you read Justice Alito’s decisions, what they are is an absolute tribute to what the role of the court should be in my view. Which is they are not there to make laws, they are not there to make social policy, they are there to interpret the laws passed by the Congress and signed by the president, and that’s it.”

Christie continued that he was upset with Roberts, who is a member of the conservative wing of the Court but has twice ruled to save central components of the controversial healthcare law.

“I’m incredibly disappointed in Chief Justice Roberts. In two days in a row, he had two opinions that you couldn’t square with each other,” Christie said. “On Thursday, he writes an opinion on Obamacare that basically says ‘I know the words don’t say this, but I think they mean it, so I’m going to vote to keep Obamacare.’ The next day, he votes against same-sex marriage by saying the Court has no role in second-guessing the people and their legislature. Well, man, you just did it yesterday.”

Roberts authored a 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell in which he argued that a typographical error should not override the legislature’s intent to make health insurance subsidies available to those on federal exchanges. Roberts called the mistake one of “more than a few examples of inartful drafting,” but said, “A fair reading of legislation demands a fair understanding of the legislative plan.”

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” he continued. “If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.”

The following day, Robert’s decried the majority’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in favor of nation-wide same-sex-marriage, arguing the Court was usurping the role of the legislature.

“Understand well what this dissent is about: It is not about whether, in my judgment, the institution of marriage should be changed to include same-sex couples,” he wrote. “It is instead about whether, in our democratic republic, that decision should rest with the people acting through representatives, or with five lawyers who happen to hold commissions authorizing them to resolve legal disputes according to law. The Constitution leaves no doubt about the answer.”

Alito voted with the minority in both cases.

TIME 2016 Election

Jon Bon Jovi Happy for Chris Christie to Use Songs in Campaign Launch

"My friendships are apolitical," the Democrat rocker says.

Though Governor Chris Christie has been a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, the presidential hopeful used the music of another New Jersey native Tuesday when he announced his bid for the Republican ticket: Jon Bon Jovi.

Christie likely opted not use a Springsteen song fearing that the lifelong Democrat and critic of the Bridgegate scandal might disavow him as Neil Young did to Donald Trump earlier in June. But Bon Jovi is also an avowed Democrat; his wife even hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton on Monday night, during which the rocker sang his biggest hit, “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

However, despite their political differences, Bon Jovi gave Christie his blessing to use songs like “We Weren’t Born to Follow” for his campaign, Mother Jones reports. The two met while Bon Jovi was helping with Hurricane Sandy relief. “My friendships are apolitical. And, yes, I absolutely gave him permission to use my songs,” he said.

[Mother Jones]

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