GARFIELD, N.J.–Gov. Chris Christie has a tough-talking reputation, but Wednesday at a town hall here he showed his softer side when a student told the governor, “I kind of need a note for school.”
The New Jersey governor didn’t skip a beat, bringing 11-year-old Peter Schwartz up to the front of the town hall in a recreation center and writing the requested note, which he read out loud.
“Please excuse Peter from school today,” Christie said, standing in front of the American and New Jersey flags. “He was with me.”
The light moment came after a more serious one when the young student told Christie he was being bullied by an adult.
Christie gave him advice “first as a dad,” and then as governor, telling him to go to his parents and then have them go to a person in authority at the school.
“Lay out the case,” Christie said, adding there are “no excuses” for adults to be bullying children.
Despite telling a group of students earlier in the week that Mitt Romney may be able to “convince” him to be his running mate, there was no veepstakes discussion Wednesday.
The president’s health care plan did come up though with a resident asking the governor “on what date will you be vetoing Obamacare?” The woman called her question a “hot one.”
“Well to veto Obamacare I would probably have to be president of the United States so I can’t do that,” Christie said to laughs and a smattering of applause. “But, here’s what we’ll do, we have to wait now and the state has put essentially on hold anything we are going to do to prepare for implementing Obamacare until the Supreme Court makes a decision at the end of June.”
“And we’ve gotten extensions from the federal Department of Health and Human Services to hold off on this stuff because everybody knows that this very well may be invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court come the end of June of this year so we will hold off and wait and see what the Supreme Court does and then we will act accordingly.”
Christie continued, telling the woman, “Let’s wait and see.”
“If the Supreme Court upholds it then we are going to have to decide what we do from there, if the Supreme Court strikes it down our course is pretty clear, it will have to go back to the president, back to Congress, but we are not going to do anything here to move it down the road.”
Of course Christie’s trademark style was on hand for the rest of the hour and a half town hall in the northern part of the state. Talking in front of a black and white sign that read “60 days for the legislature to deliver tax relief,” Christie spent most of the time railing against both the Democrats in the state legislature accusing them of wanting to raise taxes and the teachers’ union in the state.
“I want to cut them,” Christie said referring to state income and property taxes. “Assembly Democrats want to raise them…It’s going to get hairy the next sixty days and I’m going to need your help.”
At one moment as he was taking the union on the basketball buzzer loudly went off interrupting the governor. He didn’t hesitate joking that the union must be behind the noise.
To laughs from the crowd and standing in front of a sign that read “The Jersey comeback has begun, he said, “You should see the noise I give back to them.”
This story has been updated since the original post.