Christie’s spokesman rips Dems’ pre-State of State criticisms

TRENTON – A Gov. Chris Christie spokesman is decrying Democrats’ pre-State of the State news conference as “politics at its worst.”

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak issued a statement Monday blasting Senate Democratic leaders shortly after the lawmakers hosted a news conference aimed at bringing to light what they characterize as the governor’s shortfalls.

Senate President Steve Sweeney told reporters the governor will hide behind super storm Sandy during his State of the State address Tuesday in an attempt to gloss over what Sweeney outlined as the governor’s failures in office.

“It was shocking to hear Senator Sweeney reduce Hurricane Sandy and its devastation to a heartless partisan attack. Ask the thousands of New Jerseyans whose homes or businesses were destroyed or damaged if they view Hurricane Sandy as a partisan political issue, or if this is what they want to hear from their leaders at this time of recovery as we fight for disaster aid in Washington,” Drewniak said in statement.

The governor’s spokesman lambasted Sweeney over the Senate president’s apparent gaffe, in which the top Senate lawmaker made an reference to the hurricane in an attempt to reference the state’s high unemployment rate and what he claimed was the governor’s lack of a jobs plan.

“No one ‘prayed’ for what New Jersey has endured,” Drewniak said. “This is politics at its worst and Senator Sweeney’s next press release should be to all residents of New Jersey saying he is ashamed of what he said today.”

Drewniak’s remark is in response to Sweeney saying the governor must have “prayed” for a storm like Sandy.

“We gave the governor a jobs package … [and] he vetoed it. And his job package was a hurricane. I guess he prayed a lot and got lucky a storm came,” said Sweeney, who immediately took back the comment.

“I shouldn’t say that,” he said. “I apologize for saying that.”

Sen. Joe Kyrillos, (R-13), Middletown, also criticized Sweeney for his comment.

“My constituents were among the most devastated by Sandy, and I count the Governor as a close friend. The notion that he would wish that storm upon anyone for political gain is absurd and way out of line,” Kyrillos said in a release.

“The Chris Christie I know and that the people of New Jersey know is a man who responded with strength and compassion to the storm and ongoing recovery efforts.

Only the most blind partisan would ever contemplate thinking, let alone saying out loud, that the Governor prayed for the destruction Sandy wrought.

“The anger and vitriol coming from Democrats directed at this Governor simply because he won an election needs to end.” 

Various other GOP lawmakers issued similar attacks on Sweeney for his comments:

Sen. Kevin O’Toole, (R-40), Cedar Grove, said that “The people impacted by Hurricane Sandy do not have the time, nor the patience, for this sort of nasty partisanship. To baselessly accuse the Governor of New Jersey of praying for a lethal, destructive storm in order to boost his own political standing is just unconscionable.”

Sen. Jennifer Beck, (R-12), Red Bank, said, “There is no upside here, no amount of job creation can help replace what tens-of-thousands lost in the matter of 24 hours. Many homeowners and business owners affected by the storm will spend years trying to piece their lives back together.”

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