Excerpts from Christie's inaugural address provided by the
governor's office made no mention of the abuse of power accusations
swirling around some of his closest aides. Instead, the speech
criticized the idea that an "almighty government" can "fix any
"I do not believe that New Jerseyans want a bigger, more expensive
government that penalizes success and then gives the pittance left
to a few in the name of income equity," Christie said in the
Christie will also repeat a common theme in his speeches: the need
for Republicans and Democrats to work together.
"We cannot fall victim to the attitude of Washington, D.C. ... the
attitude that puts political wins ahead of policy agreements. The
belief that compromise is a dirty word," the excerpt said.
A charismatic and tough-talking fiscal conservative, Christie is
widely seen as a Republican contender for the White House in 2016.
But after cruising to re-election, Christie has been forced on the
defensive in recent weeks as several of his top aides have faced
accusations of abusing their power.
The political tempest erupted this month with the release of emails
that seemed to show aides purposely snarling traffic in Fort Lee,
New Jersey, by closing access lanes to the George Washington Bridge
linking New Jersey and New York.
The lane closures appeared to be retribution against Fort Lee's
Democratic mayor, who declined to endorse Christie for re-election.
Christie has said he did not know of his aides' plans, and he fired
and cut ties with them after their roles were revealed. Federal
prosecutors and both chambers of the state legislature are
investigating the lane closings, which occurred without notice for
four days in September.
The scandal broke some two months after Christie, who has built a
political brand on his blunt-spoken manner and his success in
getting his agenda through his heavily Democratic state, easily won
[to top of second column]
But after the "Bridgegate" scandal broke, Democrats began
raising new accusations.
Last week, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, a Democrat and frequent
Christie ally, claimed the governor's administration had linked the
release of Superstorm Sandy relief funds to approval of a Hoboken
Zimmer has said that Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno told her
Christie would withhold disaster recovery funding if Zimmer did not
support a bid by the New York-based Rockefeller Group to build on
several blocks in the city.
Christie's spokesman on Sunday dismissed the Hoboken mayor's claims
as false, as did Guadagno on Monday at a public appearance in Union
Beach, New Jersey. Christie was on a fundraising trip in Florida
over the weekend.
Federal officials are also reviewing Christie's use of about $2
million in storm relief funds for a tourism campaign that features
him and his family. New Jersey Democratic Representative Frank
Pallone requested the probe, saying he was concerned about the
bidding process for the marketing campaign.
A spokesman for Christie said there was nothing improper about the
campaign and suggested Pallone's inquiry was politically motivated.
Christie will attend an inaugural service at the New Hope Baptist
Church in Newark. It will be followed by an inauguration ceremony in
the state capital of Trenton and an evening celebration on Ellis
Island in New York harbor.
(Reporting by Edith Honan in New York; editing by Lisa Shumaker)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.