By Matt Katz
Gov. Christie today blamed Republicans and Democrats for the government shutdown, saying "it's irresponsible of both sides to have allowed this to get where it's gotten."
Asked during an editorial board meeting with The Philadelphia Inquirer what he would do if he were in the Senate right now, his immediate response was this: "If I was in the Senate right now, I'd kill myself."
"This is why I've never had any interest in being in a legislative body," he said. (It should be noted: In the 1990s Christie was a county freeholder, which is a legislator.)
He sees the situation in Washington as a failure in leadership, and a failure to achieve compromise.
"The president saw this train coming for a long time. All of a sudden today's the first day he has anyone over to the White House? Same thing with the Speaker, same thing with the majority. They saw this train coming for a long time and did nothing to stop it."
Christie visited the Senate Wednesday and met with a group of Republicans, including Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader from Kentucky, and Sen. Jeff Chiesa, the Christie appointee who will serve until the New Jersey Senate election next week.
After he left the meeting, Christie had told reporters he was just there to visit his friend Chiesa. "I'm just down here today to have a visit with the senator and he's introduced me to some of the new friends he's made over the last four-and-a-half months, and that's all today is about," Christie said.
Today, he said what really went down when he met with the senators. "What I said to any of them that I met with: Get the government reopened, stop monkeying around, and get back to work. I said, I'm out there in the field, people have no patience for this stuff. None."
He said that he doesn't think that the issue will hurt the Republican party in the long term, even though "certainly right now the Republican party is taking the brunt of the blame."
But does the Republican party deserve the brunt of that blame?
"I'm not a pundit, I'm not going to get into all that," he said.
Christie arrived in Philadelphia after a campaign stop in Palmyra, where he picked up two more endorsements from elected Democrats, including Mayor Karen Scheffler and Council President David Dorworth. He used the endorsement event, held at a pizzeria, to tout his bipartisan inclinations.
"With what we see going on in Washington DC, right now they could use a dose of some New Jersey common sense," he said to cheers. "Notice I said New Jersey common sense, not Republican common sense or Democrat common sense."
He then talked about his visit to Washington -- "an alternate universe": "I have to tell ya, I was so thrilled to get out of there alive...and seemingly not infected by the awful partisanship that is going on down there now."
Christie's gubernatorial opponent, Sen. Barbara Buono (D., Middlesex), though, said today that Christie should take responsibility for the shutdown because he "put in office the architects of this shutdown" by campaigning and fundraising for "that crazy element in Washington, the Tea Party."
"Chris Christie needs to disavow them, to repudiate that party, and if he doesn't he's no better than that crazy wing of the Republican party that's driving America off the cliff," Buono said in an interview with WWDB-860 in Philadelphia.