Fox News
October 27, 2009

Chris Christie Fighting to Finish Line

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," October 26, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: All right, one week from tomorrow, the Republican Party hopes to regain control of the governor's mansions in both New Jersey and Virginia, and the race in New Jersey has gotten ugly in recent weeks, thanks to the very desperate attack ads released by the Democrat incumbent, Governor Jon Corzine.

My next guest, he's not backing down and continues to fight to the finish line. Joined now by the Republican candidate for governor in the state of New Jersey. You have the highest taxes, higher than New York?

GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: Yes, highest taxes in America.

HANNITY: Chris Christie is with us.

Video: Watch Sean's interview

Highest in America.

CHRISTIE: Yes, highest tax burden in America.

HANNITY: Explain.

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, New Jersey's combination of income tax, sales tax, business tax, and property taxes makes our residents the highest tax- burdened citizens in America.

HANNITY: Because I got in a big fight with Michael Moore about this. I pay, in New York, when all is said and done — sales, income, property, county, state, city — about 60 percent. You're around there?

CHRISTIE: Yes. Oh, yes.

HANNITY: Sixty percent — sixty percent of people's income in New Jersey goes to taxes?

CHRISTIE: Absolutely.

HANNITY: Well, that's redistribution of wealth. What did you think when the governor comes out with this ad, you throwing your weight around? I mean, a vicious personal attack. You seem to take it in good humor, but...

CHRISTIE: Listen, I do, Sean, because it's silly, and it's beneath the office he holds. And the worst part of it is, I wish he'd just step up and admit it. I mean, admit that that's what they were trying to do. But they continue to deny: "Oh, no, that's not what we meant."

And the fact of the matter is, I've struggled with my weight for a good number of years.

HANNITY: Yes. Me, too, by the way. You and me both.

CHRISTIE: A lot of other New Jerseyans.

HANNITY: And New Yorkers.

CHRISTIE: Fact of the matter is, the governor never said when I was U.S. attorney putting all those folks in jail for seven years, he never expressed any concern about my weight then. Only when I was going to run against him today.

HANNITY: It's interesting, because the Philly Inquirer came today, and they quoted Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey. Actually said that, quote, "The Corzine campaign" — there's a third party candidate in this race, this guy Daggett.

OK, "is urging people" – Corzine — they're urging people to "support Chris Daggett," because by doing so, they think it's going to split the votes that would otherwise go to you, because Corzine's approval ratings is so low.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: Explain that.

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I think that's what governor Whitman thinks. I don't have any evidence that that's what's going on.

I think Chris Daggett really thinks he could be elected governor. He's not going to be. But I think he does — and the fact of the matter is this. Chris Daggett and Jon Corzine, there's not a wit's worth of difference between them.

Governor Corzine has raised taxes $9 billion over four years. Chris Daggett has a plan to raise taxes...

HANNITY: Nine billion?

CHRISTIE: Nine billion over four years at the state level. And Chris Daggett has a plan now to raise taxes, four billion dollars, if he's elected. So I think what's going to happen ultimately is people who want higher taxes and more spending, they have two candidates to choose from.

HANNITY: So in the state of New Jersey, I was looking over some of the numbers. When Jon Corzine became the governor, the unemployment rate was what, 4.8 percent?

CHRISTIE: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: And now it's 9.8 percent.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: Nine point eight. So it's within that — right there is the national average.

CHRISTIE: Highest in the region too.

HANNITY: And the highest in 33 years?

CHRISTIE: Yes, sir.

HANNITY: Higher than New York? Higher than Connecticut? Than surrounding states?

CHRISTIE: Pennsylvania and Delaware.

HANNITY: Why do you think that is?

CHRISTIE: Because our tax system is so out of line with the rest of the region and much of the rest of the country. You know, our top income tax rate in New Jersey, that applies to small businesses, as well. Ten and three quarter percent. If you go over to Pennsylvania, the top rate is 3 percent.

HANNITY: All right. Barack Obama has been there, campaigning for the incumbent, Jon Corzine, what a couple of times now. He's been to the state.

CHRISTIE: Right. He's coming back on Sunday.

HANNITY: He's coming back on Sunday, a final, last-minute push. The polls are pretty tight. It's a very blue state. You are in this and now leading in most polls.

OK. What do you make of the fact of that Barack Obama now is willing to support you, but they seem to have distanced themselves from the Virginia race?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I think that they're trying to make sure they get a win here. And, you know, the people of New Jersey are not going to be fooled. President Obama will come in on Sunday. He'll a campaign with Jon Corzine.

But, you know what? Air Force One is going to take off and leave and go back to Washington. He's not going to –- and at the end we're going to be stuck with Jon Corzine. So people in New Jersey are not going to be fooled. Even people in New Jersey who like the president of the United States are not going to be fooled by this, because we're going to be stuck with Jon Corzine.

HANNITY: Do you think this is, in part, one of these races that is a little bit of a referendum on the president?

CHRISTIE: I can tell you, Sean, I really think this is a referendum on Jon Corzine and his failed policies. I think the president may come to own some of that, if he continues to come back to New Jersey. But Jon Corzine has had so much failure, so much failure that the people of New Jersey, I think, want to kick him out.

HANNITY: This is what a tax and spend — this is what happens to a tax and spend liberal state. No? Is that fair?

CHRISTIE: I think it is.

HANNITY: All right. Now one of the most — this to me was priceless. All right, so the governor has unemployment goes from 4.8 percent to 9.8 percent under his term, up five points. OK.

He actually sent out to, what, his Cabinet officials...

CHRISTIE: Yes, his deputy chief of staff.

HANNITY: Deputy chief of staff. Come up with an event or two or three that showed job creation. I know it may be a stretch. Please be creative.

So what is he saying to — you're laughing.

CHRISTIE: It's funny because it's one of these things that's just typical of the Corzine administration. Forget about the truth. The truth is that unemployment has nearly doubled under his watch. He's trying to tell his cabinet people, come up with something, anything to save me.

HANNITY: Make it up.

CHRISTIE: Yes, make it up, "Save me from myself."

HANNITY: But isn't that basically a lie? And is this legal?

CHRISTIE: Listen, I think it's — listen, in New Jersey, yes, I think it probably is legal. But it doesn't mean it's right.

HANNITY: All right. As governor, now one of the big debates in the Republican Party now is whether or not it's going to be a party of Reagan and conservatism or those that want a more moderate voice?

As governor, now you're a prosecutor, so you're tough on crime.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: You're running this campaign on fiscal responsibility.

CHRISTIE: Yes.

HANNITY: Are there any issues where you are, quote, moderate to left as a Republican?

CHRISTIE: Listen, I favor some of the gun-control measures we have in New Jersey.

HANNITY: Bad idea.

CHRISTIE: Listen, we have a densely-populated state, and there's a big hand gun problem in New Jersey. Now, I don't support all the things that the governor supports by a long stretch. But I think on guns — certain gun control issues, looking at it from a law-enforcement perspective, seeing how many police officers were killed, we have an illegal gun problem in New Jersey.

HANNITY: Should every — should every citizen in the state be allowed to get a licensed weapon if they want one?

CHRISTIE: In New Jersey, that's not going to happen, Sean.

HANNITY: Why?

CHRISTIE: Listen, the Democratic legislature we have, there's no way those type of things — listen, at the end of the day, what I support are common sense laws that will allow people to protect themselves, but I also am very concerned about the safety of our police officers on the streets, very concerned. And I want to make sure that we don't have an abundance of guns out there.

But listen, the issues in this race are taxes and jobs and spending.

HANNITY: It's the economcy, stupid.

CHRISTIE: Listen, New Jersey has more than doubled its debt in the last eight years. We've raised taxes 110 times in the last eight years. We need to turn this around, or we're going to become a permanent second tier state.

HANNITY: I think the entire northeast is in — in jeopardy of having massive portions of its population leave because they can't afford it.

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, 450,000 people have left New Jersey in the last eight years, net. People are voting with their feet.

HANNITY: All right, good luck in — one week from tomorrow.

CHRISTIE: One week from tomorrow, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. Good luck.

CHRISTIE: Thank you.

— Watch "Hannity" weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!

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