NEW JERSEY: In a heated hearing before a Congressional panel, Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie testified that he awarded lucrative corporate anti-fraud monitoring contracts to political allies "to achieve results of justice for the public." He denied that giving former attorney general (and ex-boss) John Ashcroft a $52 million contract to oversee a corporation charged with fraud was "an example of cronyism." He did, however, concede that one of the law firms he had awarded a contract has since made large donations to his gubernatorial campaign.
Christie denied applying any pressure to the seven firms involved in the corporate fraud cases to accept the monitors Christie supported. Pressing the issue, one Democrat on the panel said, "You made them an offer they couldn't refuse," to which Christie said was a slur on his Italian-American background. (That indignation remind anyone of this? "I mean my goodness -- because I happen to have Greek heritage and if I go out in the sun for a half-hour and it looks like I've been out there for four hours because I have a darker complexion than somebody -- honestly Jim, I thought we were at the place in this country where the color of somebody's skin or the complexion that they have is not something that's an issue of political debate anymore." Name that pol.)
Two and a half hours into the hearing, Christie got up and left the hearing, saying, as he had previously told the panel, that he had to get back to New Jersey to attend to "pressing business." As Democrats continued to shout out questions, Christie hurried out of the Capitol, calling the hearing a "political circus."
Democrats on the subcommittee accused Christie of letting corporations get away with fraud by simply paying their way out of charges. New Jersey Representative Bill Pascrell (D) said, "These corporate criminals never admit guilt to the consumers they cheated, and thanks to Mr. Christie, they never will." But House Republicans praised him, with one offering to endorse his run for governor. Rep. Trent Frank (R-Ariz) said, "Chris Christie deserves a medal for achievements like these."
NEW YORK: The chaos continues: After Gov. Paterson
cuts off some state Senate pay and has kept Democrats in Albany day after day to try and work out a deal, Sen. Kevin Parker called Paterson a "coke snorting, staff-banging governor," per the New York Daily News. "Paterson has admitted youthful drug use and several extra-marital affairs."
VIRGINIA: With Sanford having been the head of the Republican Governors Association, does that mean any photos of him and GOP candidates will be some kind of opposition fodder? The Washington Post looks into whether Bob McDonnell has accepted any money from Sanford directly. He hasn't, though he like every other gubernatorial candidate has accepted money from the RGA.