The embattled governor is being subjected to the recall petition after signing a bill last year that curtailed collective bargaining rights for most public employees. It resulted in widespread protests in Madison, as well as the campaign for his recall. Walker is the first governor in the state’s history to face a recall.
Christie said he traveled to Wisconsin in the middle of his state’s legislative session to “stand with two incredible friends,” referring to Walker and his wife Tonette. Christie is also the vice chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association.
Christie said Walker was under pressure to dump his controversial legislation, but he “never seriously considered it” and he wanted to put the “interests of all the people in Wisconsin ahead of a narrow group…whether they voted for him or not.”
“Too many politicians worry about the next election first,” Christie said at a fundraising luncheon of Walker supporters.
Walker was heavily criticized by the teachers’ unions in his state for supporting merit pay and rejecting last in, first out hiring policies, along with the rejection of collective bargaining. Christie has also battled with his state’s teacher unions, but he supports collective bargaining.
Last March, according to the New Jersey Star Ledger, Christie told a town hall in Hillsborough, NJ that “liberals in the media” were at fault for comparing the way his state and Wisconsin dealt with unions and said he backed contract negotiation through collective bargaining.
In Green Bay, Christie predicted a Walker win on June 5th and said that victory will “not only empower him to continue to do the things to move Wisconsin forward,” but said it will also send a message to other politicians “all over the country.”
He said despite the uproar in the state, which has outside groups on both sides of the aisle flooding Wisconsin with millions of dollars (Walker raised a stunning $13 million in just the last three months), he wasn’t going to “back off” or “take the easy course.”
“He’s not complaining,” Christie said. “He’s re-doubled their efforts.”
“We have an obligation…to have our voices be heard,” Christie said. “We as Americans love to judge, we do….We will be judged too by our children and grandchildren and what will we have them say of us? That we said the problems are too big…so instead we are going to bury our head in the sand?”
Christie continued, giving his predecessor in the New Jersey governor’s office a dig: “Well let me ask you a question, you really think Wisconsin would be back to where it is now if Gov. Doyle was the governor?…Come to New Jersey, would we be the way it is today if we had elected Jon Corzine to another term?”
Although Christie tops many “veepstakes” lists and Monday he said the presumptive GOP nominee might be able to “convince” him to join his ticket there was no vice-presidential discussion, except a subtle reference when the mayor of Green Bay introduced both Walker and Christie calling them “two governors destined for the White House one day,” to cheers from the crowd.
Walker addressed the crowd as well praising Christie and asking them for their vote in five weeks.
“We are turning things around and we are moving Wisconsin forward,” Walker said. “We didn’t raise taxes to balance our budgets, we didn’t have massive layoffs…we avoided that.”
He defended his legislation that led to the recall effort saying, “We thought more about the next generation than the next election and isn’t that what you elected us to do?”
Like Christie, Walker said if he is victorious next month it will not only send a message to Madison, but to “statehouses all across the country” that it’s “time to stand up and look at the next generation.”
In a lighter moment, Christie said he is not just close with Walker, but their wives and children are friends as well. Christie got a laugh when he said his 16 year old daughter Sarah “likes” Walker’s teenage sons and in a moment sure to embarrass the teenager recounted how she “begged” to join her father on his trip to the Badger state.
Christie also headlined a rally in Oak Creek , Wisconsin with Walker Tuesday.
The tough talking governor will head to D.C. later this week to address the Cato Institute’s biennial dinner and will headline the Kentucky GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner later this month as well as speak at CPAC Chicago next month.