The Winter Of Chris Christie's Discontent

VIDEO: The New Jersey governor denies latest allegations he threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy relief.

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • 'WHAT NEW JERSEYANS WANT': New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be sworn into his second term and is slated to give his 2014 Inaugural Address today. Amid two controversies slamming into his administration, Christie will address income equity, as well as state unity, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE notes. "I do not believe that New Jerseyans want a bigger, more expensive government that penalizes success and then gives the pittance left to a few in the name of income equity," Christie's speech reads. "What New Jerseyans want is an unfettered opportunity to succeed in the way they define success." Christie is scheduled to deliver his speech at about noon in Trenton. An evening party on Ellis Island has been cancelled "due to severe winter weather," according to the governor's office.
  • MEMO TO WASHINGTON: In his speech today, Gov. Christie will also take a shot at what he calls "the attitude of Washington, DC": "We will fight to continue to change government so that we value our differences and honor the strength of our diversity. We cannot fall victim to the attitude of Washington, DC. The attitude that says I am always right and you are always wrong. The attitude that puts everyone into a box they are not permitted to leave. The attitude that puts political wins ahead of policy agreements. The belief that compromise is a dirty word. … As your Governor, I will always be willing to listen, as long as that listening ends in decisive action for the people counting on us."
  • SHE SAID, SHE SAID: Two top officials of Gov. Chris Christie's administration yesterday denied an accusation by the mayor of Hoboken that they threatened to withhold Sandy relief money unless the mayor backed a development project, and one of the officials called the claim "libelous," according to ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE and SERENA MARSHALL. Zimmer accused New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable over the weekend of indicating Hoboken would not get Sandy relief funds without the mayor's support for a development project in Hoboken. "Mayor Zimmer's version of our conversation in May of 2013 is not only false, but is illogical and does not withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined," Guadagno said. "Any suggestion, any suggestion that Sandy funds were tied to the approval of any project in New Jersey is completely false."


ABC's RICK KLEIN: To approximate the toll these past two weeks have taken on Gov. Chris Christie, imagine the alternate reality where the fateful e-mails and texts were never sent. Christie today would be delivering his second inaugural with the kind of poll numbers the man giving a big speech next week can only dream of. The putative 2016 frontrunner would be coming off a weekend of warm-weather fundraising, as he competes for the role of biggest GOP draw in the land. With the Super Bowl spotlight falling on his home state, one might even imagine Bruce Springsteen uttering that other Boss's name with something less than contempt. And here's the thing with this scandal, and its accompanying investigations and tentacles: There's nothing in the immediate future to make it all go away. This amounts to a daily test for a governor never known for his patience.


U.S. MILITARY MAKES CONTINGENCY PLANS FOR SOCHI OLYMPICS. If something goes horribly wrong at the upcoming winter Olympics in Sochi, the U.S. military is prepared, Pentagon officials said yesterday, ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ reports. The contingency plans are not for providing sea-based security for the Olympics but for any potential evacuation of American citizens from the Russian winter resort town located on the Black Sea where the Olympics are set to begin on Feb. 7, officials said. "The United States has offered its full support to the Russian government as it conducts security preparations for the Winter Olympics," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement. "To that end, U.S. commanders in the region are conducting prudent planning and preparations should that support be required" Kirby said. "Air and naval assets, to include two Navy ships in the Black Sea, will be available if requested for all manner of contingencies in support of - and in consultation with - the Russian government. There is no such requirement at this time." Russian officials have said they plan to have as many as 40,000 security officers on hand to provide security for the Olympics. Recent terror bombings in the southern Russian city of Volgograd have raised security concerns about the Olympics, which Russian Islamic extremists have threatened to disrupt.

OBAMA MAKES BURRITOS FOR NEEDY ON MLK DAY. President Obama donned an apron and gloves to help make burritos for the needy in Washington, D.C., yesterday in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ notes. The president and first family visited DC Central Kitchen to celebrate the organization's 25th anniversary and help prepare some meals which would later be delivered to local shelters. "We are noting the 25th anniversary of this outstanding institution and very proud to be a part of that, and we just want to thank everybody who's here for all the great work they do," the president said as he wore a white apron and scooped vegetables into a tortilla. His daughter Sasha stood next to him and filled the tortillas with meat before handing them over to the president. "Sasha's technique is outstanding by the way. I'm very proud of her," the president said. The president mistakenly identified the meat as lamb before a volunteer pointed out it was beef. First Lady Michelle Obama, daughter Malia, and White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett assembled meals at a separate table.

MICHELLE OBAMA TEAMS UP WITH LEBRON AND THE HEAT: The latest ad for the First Lady's "Let's Move" campaign debuted on "Good Morning America" this morning and features some of the NBA's finest.


CASTRO TWINS PREDICT TEXAS WON'T BE A RED STATE FOR LONG. For Julian and Joaquin Castro, politics runs in the family. The two brothers, both of whom represent the state of Texas in elected office - Julian as the mayor of San Antonio and Joaquin as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives - share an allegiance to the Democratic Party and a belief that their home state is in the process of turning from red to blue. "I think it's on its way," Rep. Castro recently told ABC's JEFF ZELENY in a joint interview with his brother at Firehook Bakery on Capitol Hill. Mayor Castro echoed his brother's forecast and predicted that it's only a "few years" until Texas gains a Democratic political majority. The pair point to excitement for state Sen. Wendy Davis' gubernatorial campaign as an example of the changing politics of a state that has been long been considered a Republican stronghold. For more of the interview with the Castro brothers, including how they stay in touch despite their busy individual schedules, check out this episode of "The Fine Print."


@GovChristie: I'm trying to get my arms around an awful situation, and understand it, and then address it, and then resolve it.

@PostReid: How do California lawmakers celebrate the beginning of session? By partying with Coolio, obviously - …

@mikememoli: Trump on Romney's trajectory in final month: "Maybe you get a little nervous, or maybe you do a little choking."

@Klandrigan: Trump on fixing Obamacare: "If you went to the head of Google and say fellas do your country a service, do it for nothing." #nhpolitics

@lynnsweet: Oh, Washington. Not a snow flake yet but federal government in DC area, many schools, local govts closed.

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