Gov. Christie staging a New Jersey comeback

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 19, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Known nationwide for his blunt and unconventional leadership style, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has mastered the art of giving it to you straight. And that is exactly what he did this week in the State of the State Address in which he announced his intention to institutionalize an across the board 10 percent income tax cut and still increase state aid to education.

Now, state Democrats immediately challenged the Governor's proposal, arguing that cutting taxes now would be fiscally irresponsible. Here is how Governor Christies responded to that.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: When they wanted to spend over a billion dollars last year that we didn't have, none of them were concern about being fiscal responsible, the ones who were talking about it today. But when we talk about giving you some of your money back, then they want to be fiscally responsible. All of a sudden now, it's time to, you know, squeeze tight. It's like your money is stuck in their dead cold hands and you are trying to pry it out of there and they won't let it out, they don't want you to take. For God's sake, don't take it, we can figure out a better way to spend it than you can. Baloney. Nobody knows how to spend your money or invest your money better than you.


HANNITY: Now meanwhile, even though the governor decided to sit out the 2012 presidential race, he has been hard at work on the campaign trail stumping for GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.

He joins me now in studio, the man himself, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. How are you?

CHRISTIE: Good, Sean. How are you?

HANNITY: Good to see you. You know, I got to tell you. You know, all these viral videos of you in these town halls, I don't think I have ever seen a politician having as much fun as you.

CHRISTIE: They don't pay me enough not to have fun, you know? Listen, this is great stuff, we're getting to change America. And I look at a state like New Jersey, it's a blue state, 700,000 more Democrats than Republicans, took it over with $13 billion in deficit, highest tax rates in America, worst business environment in America. And I say listen, this is a perfect job for me. We got no place to go but up if we have the guts to do the hard things and over the last two years, we have done the hard things, we've held the line on taxes, now we are going to cut taxes.

HANNITY: Why all these politicians -- I've watched you closely and Rudy Giuliani was a lot like this in New York, and that is that you go right at the media, you are at a town hall, "I let you speak," you know?


HANNITY: Remember the moment when you guy accused you of planting questions? I'm like, who are you? I didn't plant you obviously. You have this ability -- why don't more politicians, why are they so timid? Afraid to go out, meet people, have town halls, be, you know, confronted with tough questions.

CHRISTIE: I think the political strategists of the world who a lot of us listen to are always cautioning you to play it safe, you know, to keep things small, and that's not my attitude. This is who I am, this is how I live my life, I want to be aggressive and I want to tell people what I really think. And you know, what? Especially now, Sean, I think you know this, people just want the truth. They know some of the truths are ugly and they aren't looking for you to make them feel good by telling them what they think they want to hear, they want to hear the truth and they want to hear a plan about how to get out of the hole that we dug ourselves in our country.

HANNITY: And you remember when The Star-Ledger had a report about literally tens of billions of dollars of wealth leaving your state.


HANNITY: Have you been able to stop that bleeding?

CHRISTIE: Yes. I think we have. And we're going to continue it by cutting income taxes. New Jersey has one of the highest income tax rates in America and we are going to cut those rates, 10 percent over the next three years. And I love the Democrats who come back at me and say oh no, now, you know, Governor, you can't do that because it wouldn't be responsible. I mean, they only care about being responsible with your money if you poured it to the black hole that is Trenton and they get to spend it.


CHRISTIE: And it's not right. And so, I think we have to continue to be aggressive about the things we believe in. I tell my staff all the time, we are better at doing the things that we do, but we are also right. And there's no substitute for being right and there's no reason to be shy about saying that we are right about these issues and they are wrong.

HANNITY: You know, there's a lot of confidence in you, Scott Walker is another one, John Kasich is another one. Bobby Jindal is another one. Nikki Haley is another one. I mean, it seems like the Republicans have a pretty deep and strong bench and if your state is successful and Ohio's turned around, Wisconsin, Walker went from a $3.6 billion budget deficit per capita, the highest in the country, to a couple hundred million dollars surplus.

CHRISTIE: And listen, the Republican governors around the country are doing the job that needs to be done, which is first to correct the excesses of the last eight years before we got there, mostly by Democratic governors that we replaced. And then to put ourselves on a path to growth. Because the way this country becomes great again is for us to grow again, grow new businesses, grow new jobs, give people more of their own money to be able to do that and have the dream that we want our children and grandchildren to have. Republican governors are doing that. One you didn't mentioned that we should, Suzanne Martinez in New Mexico.

HANNITY: Fair enough.

CHRISTIE: Another one that's doing real well, you should keep your eye on her, a real star.

HANNITY: No, she is. I agree with you. Another rising star.

All right. Let's go to presidential politics. First of all, any regrets about you not getting in. A lot of people wanted you to jump into this race.

CHRISTIE: Incredibly flattering but no regrets. I love being governor of New Jersey. It wasn't the right time in my heart for me to do this. And so, I'm just thrilled to be the governor. And I think we are making a real difference. But what we're doing in New Jersey for the entire country by setting an example of what can be done if you were to be tough and stand up.

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