Williams Harangues Christie from the Krugman Left, Pleads for More Spending: 'Couldn't You Find the Money?'

Brian Williams touted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as a “star” on “the rise” in the Republican Party before adding a “however” and haranguing him from left over his opposition to massive spending for a new tunnel from his state to New York, reciting as an oracle the criticism from far-left New York Times columnist Paul Krugman without ever identifying the source of the supposed wisdom beyond “the op-ed page of the New York Times.”

For Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, Williams traveled to the Garden State to sit down with Christie. Williams contended Christie “took a big hit for saying no to New Jersey's share of a new tunnel beneath the Hudson River, a huge public works project designed to ease congestion. His decision exploded on the op-ed page of the New York Times which called it ‘a blow to national hopes of a recovery.’” That was Krugman’s characterization in an October 8 op-ed, The End of the Tunnel.

When Christie explained how his deep in debt state can’t afford the billions more now demanded for the project, Williams pleaded: “But couldn't you find the money? Isn't there a way if you really wanted it, if you really wanted it for long-term investment?” The anchor continued to display his reverence for the New York Times as he, once again, quoted Krugman:

The Times goes on. Here's how you should think about the decision to kill the tunnel: “It's a terrible thing in itself, but, beyond that, it's a perfect symbol of how America has lost its way.” You're being tied to the nation losing its way by dint of this decision.

At a time the nation is revolting against deficit spending, Williams paints Christie as going the wrong way? Christie fired back: “Yeah, by the New York Times. I'll take a deep bow for that, Brian. I don't really care. They don't have the responsibility to balance the budget.”

Williams proceeded to recited the union spin in suggesting Christie’s efforts to rein in teacher unions means he’s out to hurt good teachers: “When are you going to know when the line is, when you're going to need good, quality teachers to educate children in New Jersey?”

From the Thursday, October 21 NBC Nightly News, transcript provided by the MRC’s Brad Wilmouth:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Earlier today, across the Hudson River from here in New Jersey, we sat down with the Governor of New Jersey. His name is Chris Christie, and, in his party, his star is on the rise, in large part for bringing a new style to the job. Candidates want him to come stump for them. Recently, however, he took a big hit for saying no to New Jersey's share of a new tunnel beneath the Hudson River, a huge public works project designed to ease congestion. His decision exploded on the op-ed page of the New York Times which called it “a blow to national hopes of a recovery.” It's where we started our conversation with the Governor today.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: I can't pay for it. You're talking $2 billion to $5 billion over the current New Jersey investment, which is $5.7 billion of the total $8.7 billion to our cost. Brian, I don't have the money.

WILLIAMS: But couldn't you find the money? Isn't there a way if you really wanted it, if you really wanted it for long-term investment?

CHRISTIE: Listen, we're one state, we're the state of New Jersey. And no, I can't find the money. I can't print money like the federal government. I have the third highest debt load of any state in America.

WILLIAMS [Over on screen shot of top of Krugman’s column]: The Times goes on. Here's how you should think about the decision to kill the tunnel: "It's a terrible thing in itself, but, beyond that, it's a perfect symbol of how America has lost its way." You're being tied to the nation losing its way by dint of this decision.

CHRISTIE: Yeah, by the New York Times. I'll take a deep bow for that, Brian. I don't really care. They don't have the responsibility to balance the budget.

WILLIAMS: You just finished a town hall meeting here in this club in Scotch Plains. You are going after the teachers union aggressively.

CHRISTIE: Whether you do a good job or a bad job, you get to keep your job.

WILLIAMS: When are you going to know when the line is, when you're going to need good, quality teachers to educate children in New Jersey?

CHRISTIE: We need good, quality teachers and we have plenty of them. But I separate the union and the teachers. The union leadership is extraordinarily detached, I think, from the experience of the everyday teacher. And everyday teachers in New Jersey are taxpayers, too. And they understand that we can't continue to spend the way we're spending.
 
WILLIAMS: How about your life outside of New Jersey, campaigning for other candidates. Hank McNamara, in the Record, writes, "he's politicking on our time. Christie, for now, may be seen as a GOP conquering hero in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Iowa. But he will come home." Sounds vaguely threatening.

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WILLIAMS: With the election coming up, where do you place Barack Obama's presidency so far?

— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center