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Governor Christie Responds To Steve Sweeney’s Criticisms [AUDIO]

At the beginning of this week, State Senate President Steve Sweeney questioned Governor Christie’s job creation record, suggesting he should spend more time in Jersey working on the problem instead of traveling around the country campaigning for Mitt Romney.

Governor Chris Christie
Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen

The Governor is now questioning the intent of the Senate President.

During a press conference in New Brunswick, Christie said, “Steve doesn’t mean it – he says stuff all the time that he doesn’t mean – and he doesn’t mean that because he’s been a full participant with me in doing things that help to reduce the public payrolls in New Jersey…I’m sure he just doesn’t mean that – he just gets carried away sometimes.”

Christie also said, “It’s interesting to me that someone that was a major player, Majority Leader in the Senate, during a time when we were losing 117,000 private sector jobs in one year – in 2009 under the programs and policies of Jon Corzine, Dick Codey, Steve Sweeney, and Joe Roberts – that he would be critical of an administration that’s added nearly 90,000 private sector jobs since I became Governor in 2010. So maybe, Steve’s just not fully aware of the numbers – I don’t know…I just can’t make any sense of his comments at all. Sometimes,you know, they write this stuff for him, and he puts it’s it out – it’s just the way it is- he gets confused sometimes.”

When asked about New Jersey’s unemployment rate, which now stands at 9.8 percent, Christie said, “It went down last month, and we’ll see- the fact is I can’t make any sense of it- okay? In months where we’ve added significantly more private sector jobs than we did last month – we had about 1100 last month- it’s gone up. We added 1100 last month, and lost more public sector jobs than we added private sector jobs, and it went down.”

“We still have a significantly higher labor force participation rate than the national labor force participation rate, so that contributes to it to an extent…But I can’t make any sense of it…We’ve added net private sector jobs in 10 of the last 12 months, yet during those 12 months our unemployment rate has continued to go up…What I care about much more is payroll that’s being reported to the Department of Labor…We’ve added nearly 90,000 net new private sector jobs since I’ve been Governor- those are the things you’ve got to look at because the rates are all over the map…The unemployment rate is a survey, it’s a poll- the payroll numbers are actual payroll numbers that are being reported by businesses to the Department of Labor – I think they’re a much more reliable indicator.”

Late in the day, Senate President Sweeney issued a statement saying, “I am not confused about 9.8 percent unemployment, and seeing too many of my neighbors out of work. Instead of traveling the country promoting his own future ambitions, Governor Christie should spend more time working with me to put people back to work and increase their wages.”

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