— -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has shot down accusations that he changed his mind about leaving the presidential campaign trail and returning to his home state as it was pounded by a massive snowstorm.
“Never changed my mind,” Christie told ABC station WABC-TV in New York on Saturday, adding that he wanted to "make sure we know exactly what we're dealing with before we make a decision about canceling events and moving back to New Jersey."
Christie drove back to New Jersey on Friday because he was unable to get a flight among the thousands of cancellations, he said. His wife, Mary Pat Christie, stayed in New Hampshire to fill in for him at campaign events.
“Once I got the latest forecast at 11 o'clock yesterday morning, it was clear to me this was going to be a really significant snow event in New Jersey and my first and most important job as governor,” Christie told WABC-TV. “As soon as we got that information at 11:30 yesterday, I announced I was coming home and I was home before the first snowflake hit the ground.”
Christie had said earlier in the week that he hadn't planned to return to New Jersey. On Friday before he announced he'd be returning to his home state, Christie said at a New Hampshire town hall that if he didn't go back, he'd face criticism from New Jersey residents and some elected officials.
"They feel comforted by my presence and I guarantee you ... that if I didn't go back they'd criticize me," he said. "When I do go back, they will criticize me for whatever I do when I'm there and then when I leave to come back here, they will criticize me for leaving."
Christie may head back to the Granite State if the weather permits.
“We could head back to New Hampshire and campaign for president,” he told WABC-TV Saturday. “But until that time comes, I'm here in New Jersey. This is my home and this is my job.”
New Jersey is one of nine states that has declared a state of emergency because of the storm.