“Compromise: it’s not a dirty word!” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on Wednesday’s Morning Joe.
Christie, a Republican, says his sky-high approval ratings come from his ability to compromise in divided government.
“I’m in divided government so I have Democratic Senate and Democratic Assembly, so what that means is I’m not going to get everything I want,” he said. “So I have to decide what are the most important things to me and of that list, what can I convince them of, and then get those things done.”
Christie was criticized sharply for his warm embrace and compromise with the president in the wake of superstorm Sandy–an issue that sent his approval ratings through the roof–and for sharply criticizing Republican leadership for delaying a Sandy aid bill. But with Congress at an intense stalemate on nearly every issue, Christie says people crave progress and compromise more than anything else. “That is what the country is hungering for: getting things done,” he said.
Part of compromise is trusting your across-the-aisle counterparts, which requires strong bipartisan relationships.
“I think there’s a people problem that they’re not establishing the relationships they need across the aisle with each other,” he said. “You can’t sit down for the first at the negotiation table–the first time–and expect that you’re going to trust each other–you’re not.”
He criticized the president for not succeeding on the relationship-front.
“This is the place where the president has been most deficient in his leadership–is establishing relationships with people in Washington that he needed to establish relationships,” Christie continued. “The fact that the vice president had to sit with Mitch McConnell to get that done shows that the president isn’t getting it done and he’s lucky he has VP Biden with those relationships otherwise he’d have no relationships.”