Christie plays Hardball

Ten days after leaving his post as U.S. Attorney, Chris Christie is hitting the national television circuit to weigh in on corruption in other states.

Christie appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews to discuss the corruption scandal surrounding Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who allegedly tried to auction off President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat for personal gain.

Christie said that Blagojevich is “clearly off his rocker, arrogant and drunk with power” and that the case was a “potpourri of corruption.”

He also drew on his experience to defend the decision of his former colleague, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, to arrest Blagojevich before he had finished his investigation, since Blagojevich may have been close to naming a replacement for Obama.

“That’s the toughest decision a U.S. Attorney has to make, and I think Pat Fitzgerald, from what I can tell from this, came down on the side of saying I can’t allow that type of public policy to happen, and I’ll deal with the ramifications for my investigation at another time,” he said. “That’s the responsible thing to do. That’s what you want a prosecutor to do – not just blindly do it the way you usually do it. The stakes are too high.”

But the most notable part of the appearance was what was not said. Matthews did not once ask or allude to Christie’s potential run for governor – perhaps the first interview in recent memory where Christie was not asked that question.

On Tuesday, Christie discussed the scandal with Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren. Transcript here.

Christie plays Hardball