Don’t talk to Chris Christie about the minimum wage: He’s sick and tired of hearing about it.
The Republican governor of New Jersey made the admission at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legal Reform Summit in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.“I have to tell you the truth,” said Christie, a potential 2016 presidential candidate. “I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage. I really am. I don’t think there’s a mother or father sitting around a kitchen table tonight saying ‘you know honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my god – all our dreams would be realized.”
Christie continued, “Is that what parents aspire to for our children? They aspire to a greater growing America where their children have the ability to make much more money and have much greater success than they had. And that’s not about a higher minimum wage, everybody. So we should start talking about what our aspirations are and how they can be achieved rather than the president playing to the lowest common denominator on a higher minimum wage.”
President Obama has renewed efforts – which have been stalled by conservatives in Congress – to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. Earlier this month at a manufacturing plant in Princeton, Indiana, Obama argued that “We should be raising the minimum wage to make sure that more workers who have been working full-time shouldn’t be living in poverty.”
According to the Congressional Budget Office, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would increase income for 16.5 million workers.
Critics immediately jumped on Christie’s remarks.
“We won’t stop talking about #RaiseTheWage,” tweeted Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison after the governor’s speech.
Christie Stephenson, spokesman for liberal super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century told msnbc that “Chris Christie may be ‘tired’ of hearing about the minimum wage, but he can’t be anywhere near as tired as the millions of hardworking men and women around the country who deserve a raise. The truth is that the average minimum wage earner in this country is 35. Americans deserve better than Christie’s reliance on a trite and repeatedly debunked Republican talking point about this critical issue.”
Democratic National Committee spokesman, Michael Czin, also shot back, “Poor guy. It must be almost as tiring for him as it is for the millions of Americans who work full time but live in poverty because the minimum wage is too low. Raising the minimum wage to just $10.10 could help lift nearly 5 million Americans out of poverty. A raise could also add billions to the GDP and add 85,000 jobs to the economy.”
The governor’s schedule is jam-packed ahead of next month’s midterm elections. This week, he’s crisscrossing the country in his role as chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association. Before Tuesday’s summit, he stumped for GOP gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan in Maryland. Later the same day, he’ll go to Illinois to campaign with Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner before heading to Michigan for Gov. Rick Snyder.
Christie told the audience at the summit that if they want to elect a Republican president in 2016, the first step is to help GOP governors win next month’s election. “I am convinced the next president of the United States is going to be a governor,” Christie predicted.
Several governors, including Christie, are said to be considering making a bid for the Oval Office. That includes Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.