Transcript: Diane Sawyer Interviews New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie


CHRIS CHRISTIE: He's very-- No, I wouldn't call it stunt, but I think he's very outspoken and he wants, he loves to be on the stage and to express his opinions. Maybe that'll ultimately manifest itself in a political career. I don't know. But I think he likes what he does. I think he likes building things. And I think he likes being on TV. And, you know, he does that well.

DIANE SAWYER: To be CC'd and DT'd in the same room would be some row.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Yeah, that would be-- That would be quite a combination, yes.

DIANE SAWYER: As we know, it's a moving target today whether there will be a government shutdown or not. What do you think? Is it -- fill in the blank -- principled or crazy to let the government shut down on Friday because of, at this point, I think, we're talking $7 billion in difference between the two sides?

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Oh listen, all I can tell you-- I don't know what they're talking about behind closed doors. But I tell you what, in New Jersey we had the same kind of situation a year ago. And I just got in the room with the Democrats in the legislature and we came to a principled agreement -- not everything I wanted and not everything they wanted. But you know, I didn't think it was in the best interest of New Jersey for the government to close down and, to their credit, neither did the Democrats in New Jersey. And so we hammered out a deal. But it's not easy.

DIANE SAWYER: So from the vantage point of New Jersey, what would you say to those Republicans holding out and saying, "Shut it down"?

CHRIS CHRISTIE: No. You know, what I would say to all of them-- And I have a particular message for the president: He should get in and lead and bring them together. I mean, I think the one thing as an executive that you have the advantage of here is in dealing with the legislature, is you've gotta lead. And he should have those people in the same room, Diane, and he should say to them, "We're not leaving here until we've resolved this issue." And I think that would have a powerful effect, if the president would do that. It certainly had a powerful effect when I did it in New Jersey. I think it would be powerful if the president did that. It's time to lead.

DIANE SAWYER: If they shut it down, is it a failure?

CHRIS CHRISTIE: It's a failure of everybody -- everybody, including the president. Because in the end we're here to stand up for principles, to say the things that we believe in, but we're also here to lead and run a government. And so what I'd say to folks is, "Listen, you can stand up for your principles and there are rooms, room to compromise in order to continue to say you're standing for those principles." So it would be a failure of everyone involved, the Congress and the president, if they don't get this done.

DIANE SAWYER: Governor, thank you so much. I know you've got a funeral, I'm sorry to say.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Yeah, yeah. Thank you.


OFF-MIC FEMALE VOICE: The only question I had was I know that you said, "I don't want to eliminate tenure." But didn't you actually use that exact phrase in your state of the--, that the time to eliminate tenure is now?

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