Some critics of Gov. Jon S. Corzine have said that the injuries sustained in his April car accident have softened the public’s feelings towards him. And at a press conference today, Corzine did not shy away from using the analogy of his own injury to defend his record.
Corzine, who came into office on a reform platform, has faced criticism by Republicans for not doing enough to advance promised reforms in Trenton. But Corzine countered the charges of abandoning his agenda by likening reform to the slow process of healing from his April car accident.
“I feel pretty good about where we are on those things. Do I feel satisfied? No. Is there a lot of work to do? Yes,” said Corzine. “It’s like this leg. Every day I work on this leg to make sure that it gets stronger, more flexible and better. But I’m not out running a 100-yard dash with it.”
Corzine said that even though it grandfathered in current dual office-holders, the ban on the practice that he signed last month was a huge reform considering that the practice had been debated since the 1947 constitutional convention, and that it would eventually eliminate dual office-holding altogether. He went on to tout his administration’s progress in capping property taxes, a plan he said that was more ambitious than the one he campaigned on, and creating the position of a governor-appointed comptroller, even if not an elected one.
His administration had made great progress in reforming Trenton, said Corzine, but it can’t be done at once.
“Not everything has to be exactly as defined,” said Corzine. “What I’m talking about is getting up every day, going to work and working on the agenda that I talked about with the public.”
Later, at a Somerset County Republican fundraiser attended by Rudy Giuliani, Republican Assemblymen Peter Biondi and Kip Bateman reiterated the idea that Corzine’s accident had helped bolster his popularity.
“His physicians have said that it’s going to be a slow heal for his leg, and it’s clear that it’s been a very slow heal for New Jersey on ethics reform, pay to play, dual office-holding and wheeling,” said Biondi.
Bateman, who’s running for state Senate in a heavily Republican district, had recently broken his collar bone in a bicycle accident and was wearing a sling.
“He’s going for the sympathy vote too,” joked Biondi.<!–[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]–>
Of course, Corzine’s great moment of accountability will come in November, 2009. That is, assuming he does seek another term.
“I get up every day going to work trying to work on the agenda – and I don’t think anybody will doubt that we’re working,” said Corzine. “If I stand for reelection, I certainly will be held very specifically accountable.”