This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 20, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, a big sell-off on Wall Street today, and a lot of folks worry that it could be 2008 all over again. We remember that election year very well, when the markets fell out of bed, and what looked like a potentially winnable election for John McCain, well, just fell away, period.
Way early in the year here, but I wanted to get into this a little bit with Chris Christie, the presidential candidate, the governor of my fine state of New Jersey.
Governor, good to have you.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be here, Neil. Thanks for having me.
CAVUTO: What do you make of what's been happening on Wall Street? I know you probably don't follow it tick for tick, movement by movement. But a lot of folks are saying it has that meltdown feel, and they're worried that we could be staring at something pretty bad. What about you?
CHRISTIE: Well, Neil, I think the problem is that we haven't had the kind of economic growth to underpin the growth we have had in the stock market over time.
And so what we need is to get a new president in there who understands that lower taxes and lower regulation will help to bring greater economic growth to our country, underpin those corporate earnings a little bit more and help the folks on Main Street.
So, I'm not ready to declare it an absolute emergency yet, but I do think that this has been coming for a while, which is why I have been arguing against what the Federal Reserve's been doing and others, because if we do have another crisis, there's very few tools they have left in the toolbox.
CAVUTO: No, you're right about that.
One of the things that has come up, Governor, as the market has been slip- sliding away, is how disproportionately banking stocks have done. I don't want to get too nerdy here. I will save that for FOX Business, which, if you don't get, Governor, you should demand.
Anyway, one of the things that's come up is that, look, if they're on the ropes again, we're going to have to rescue them. We're not going to let a Bank of America or Citigroup go. Would you -- if you were president, faced with that position, what would you do?
CHRISTIE: Neil, I have got to tell you the truth. I think they have had their one rescue.
They should have learned their lessons from what happened in 2008. And, as president, I would not be looking to rescue these banks. I think there's got to be some penalties involved here. And I understand these are difficult decisions. But the fact is, we have gone through this once before. It cost the American people hundreds of billions of dollars for the mistakes made by the banks, by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
And, you know, we can't be doing that. I know there are some candidates in this race who believe that we should, but I'm not one of them.
CAVUTO: The reason why they say we should is that it would boomerang on you, sir, that, all of a sudden, you're telling a lot of depositors who might get federal insurance for whatever deposit limits are in effect, but all their investments would go kablooey.
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, you know, Neil, each of these things has to be assessed at the time.
But I don't think we should be signaling at the federal government that you can conduct yourself in any way you want and if there are -- there are no penalties for that conduct. We have gone through this once before. We have seen it happen once before. And I don't think we can let it happen again.
CAVUTO: You know, I was thinking of you, knowing that we were going to be chatting today, Governor. And I'm looking at Donald Trump and Sarah Palin on the stump together. A lot of people surprised that she passed over Ted Cruz.
Bottom line, the whole race is confusing. How do you break through that huddle?
CHRISTIE: I think the way you break through that huddle is to be the person who shows the voters that you have been the one that has fought the real fights over the years.
The fact is, when you look at -- and you know this in New Jersey -- taking on the teachers unions to make sure we reformed teacher tenure, taking on the unions in terms of their pensions and benefits, taking on the special interests in New Jersey who wanted to ruin our economy to have a radical environmentalist policy, standing up and fighting those fights that needed to be fought.
That's the kind of person we need in Washington, D.C., not someone who just talks about it, but someone who's actually done it, fought a Democratic legislature and vetoed more tax increases now than any governor in American history, according to Americans for Tax Reform. And so the fact is that those are the things that we need to be doing and having a president do.
The way I break through is to show people I have actually done it. You don't have to take a risk on me. I'm not a first-term United States senator who's never run anything before. I'm not someone who's never been involved in government. I am someone who's been a chief prosecutor for seven years and a governor of a very difficult state to govern for six years.
CAVUTO: I look at poll numbers in New Hampshire, and they vary all over the map. You're polling pretty well. You're certainly up from where you were. But out of the blue comes John Kasich, who's been telling people:
"My opponents are like Satan. I am the prince of light and hope."
Now, of course, he's just zinging here. But I noticed a PAC sympathetic with him has an ad out referring to you -- it's not an ad, I should say -- it's actually a direct mailing, if I understand, Governor.
"His budget is imbalanced. His credit rating is dropping. His economy is failing." It goes on to say, "Chris Christie, tough talk, weak record."
That's from John Kasich. What did you make of that?
CHRISTIE: Yes. Well, John -- yes, that sounds a heck of a lot more like Satan than like the prince of light and hope.
CHRISTIE: Listen, I have known -- I have known John for a long time, and I have been around when his colleagues talk about him. I have heard John called a lot of things. The prince of light and hope has never been one of them.
And so the fact is, John wants to hide. He wants to let the super PAC who's running most of his campaign in New Hampshire do all his dirty work, and he wants to come out and act like, you know, he's some angel. Fact is that I'm the guy in this race who...
CAVUTO: Well, do you have a super PAC? That's what super PACs do, right?
CHRISTIE: I do.
But if you look at what our super PAC has done, it's been relentlessly positive for our record and our vision for America's future. And as John was getting no traction in New Hampshire, he decided to go negative against me, against Jeb Bush, and others. That's his choice.
CAVUTO: But it must work, Governor.
CHRISTIE: ... prince of light and hope.
CAVUTO: I'm sorry.
We can characterize it one way or the other. But it must work, because ever since Donald Trump went after Ted Cruz as to whether he's really a natural-born citizen or whether people get along with him or not, I think he said he's hated on Capitol Hill, he couldn't get deals done.
You, instead, have taken a different tack of just being the Energizer Bunny and working and working and working. I think, in one piece I read, Governor, you said of yourself: "I'm like a fungus. I grow on people."
CAVUTO: George Will says that must be working, because, in Iowa as well, your favorability number has shot up from 51 percent to 29 percent -- or to 51 percent from 29 percent, similar type gains in New Hampshire.
Doesn't always translate into the poll support. But what do you make of that and what you can build on that?
CHRISTIE: What it will translate into is votes, Neil. If people like you and they believe in you, they're much more apt to be willing to vote for you.
And I will tell what you we found out. We're knocking on thousands of doors in New Hampshire, thousands and thousands every weekend. And we're finding that still close to 60 percent of the people who we encounter at these doors are saying they're undecided. So, with a little less than three weeks to go, New Hampshire voters are still deciding.
So, any of the polls, even the ones that I'm doing very well in, I don't take any solace in that. And that's why the Energizer Bunny's going to keep going. I'm just going to keep working. I'm here in New Hampshire for the next six days. I will take an afternoon off to pick up some clean clothes in Mendham, New Jersey.
And then I will head right out to Iowa for another six days, and from Iowa directly back here for the last eight days of the campaign. So, we're going to keep working hard, and I think you're going to see results in both Iowa and New Hampshire that reflect the fact that people really are starting to believe in this campaign and believe they need someone with experience sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office.
CAVUTO: Mendham, New Jersey, I have heard of that. I should disclose the governor and I...
CAVUTO: ... are practically neighbors.
Governor, let me ask you a little bit about something that's got attention.
Earlier this week, you kind of zinged Michelle Obama on this whole school lunch thing, saying at a campaign stop -- I think you were in Iowa -- "She wants to give her opinions, that's fine. But using the government to mandate her point of view on what people should be eating every day is none of her business."
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I just don't think that the first lady of the United States should be dictating what kids -- choices kids can make for eating at schools.
I think those decisions are best made by parents. And let the parents decide what their children should be eating or not eating. This is the nanny state, where government gets involved in making every one of these decisions. I don't think they should be involved in that. I think I should be able to decide, along with Mary Pat, what our children eat for lunch at school every day.
If we don't like what the school's offering, we can send lunch in with them. But that should be our decision. I shouldn't have Michelle Obama deciding what Patrick Christie or Bridget Christie eat for lunch at Delbarton or at the Villa Walsh Academy. It should be decided by me and Mary Pat.
CAVUTO: Well, those are private schools, too. Those are private schools, too.
But let me ask you a little bit. At the same time this is going on, you pocket-vetoed, which means you essentially never took it up, a bill that would have made recess mandatory in New Jersey elementary school. My kids want to know why you did that.
CHRISTIE: Because I think their teachers should be able to decide and their administrators should be able to decide whether or not they have recess on any particular day.
Another thing about that bill, Neil, was that it mandated outdoor recess. Well, you know, on a day like today in New Jersey I don't know that we're going to want to have outdoor recess and the kids are going to want to have outdoor recess. But the state government would mandate it. This is crazy government run amok.
What are we doing? With all the other problems we have to deal with, my legislature is worried about recess for kids from kindergartners to fifth grade? Part of my job as governor is to veto the stupid bills. That was a stupid bill, and I vetoed it.
CAVUTO: OK. All right. Let me know next time how you feel about that measure.
You talk about Mary Pat and how, as a married couple, also, you handle disagreements. And this raised some eyebrows. I think it was in The New York Times. At least they picked up on it.
"You go to some party with your wife, right? It invariably happens to every married couple. Something happens at the party. The great moment is when you get in the car and go. You have it out. So, by the time you're home, it's all washed out. Would you want to do that in front of a New Jersey State Trooper? So it happens, if you -- if you seethe, you're staring at each other, and then we usually go into her closet" -- I guess you're referring to Mary Pat's closet -- "to fight it out, sort of out," which begged the question, Governor, whether you have ever had arguments in front of state troopers or staff members.
I mean, we really try not to do that, Neil. It's an incredible invasion of privacy when, you know, these state police, who are doing their job to keep you safe, are with you every minute of every day.
CAVUTO: But they hear everything, right? They hear and watch everything you're doing, right?
CHRISTIE: They do. They do.
And so that's why one of the deals Mary Pat and I made -- and the comment I made was about two things. First, we made a deal with each other not to argue in front of our children. Now, I grew up in a household where our -- my parents argued with each other a lot in front of us.
CAVUTO: See, my parents had a different -- no, they -- they -- no, my parents' vow was, we have to argue in front of our children.
CHRISTIE: Well, it seems like I had the same kind of parents you had, Neil.
And so Mary Pat and I made that judgment. So, that, and then, when you add the state police into the mix and staff around all the time, you need a little privacy every once in a while, because every married couple -- we will be married 30 years in March.
CAVUTO: Yes. Congratulations.
CHRISTIE: But every married couple has arguments and their disagreements.
And so, you know, we go to the furthest point in the house away where from where the kids' bedrooms are, which is Mary Pat's walk-in closet.
CHRISTIE: We need to have an argument, we have it there. It starts there and it ends there. And then we move on.
CAVUTO: She wins all the arguments, doesn't she?
CHRISTIE: Well, Of course she does, because she's right.
CAVUTO: All right, there we go.
Real quickly, your thoughts on this race in New Hampshire more specifically, Governor, one, two or three, or you're out?
CHRISTIE: Well, you know, we will see. We will see who else is one or two or three and where we end up in there.
But, listen, I have got to do very well in New Hampshire. I have invested in a lot of time and a lot of energy here. And so we're going to do well. And I think we're going to do very well. I think we're going to be in those spots that you talked about.
CAVUTO: All right.
CHRISTIE: And we're going to work very hard to make sure we get there.
But I feel good about where we are, Neil. And being on your program to talk about it certainly makes things even better up here in New Hampshire. So, thanks for that opportunity.
CAVUTO: All right, thank you very much, Governor Christie.
We hope to have your wife on tomorrow to talk about this arguing thing, but, until then, Governor Chris Christie.
CHRISTIE: Thank you.
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