Vitale: Christie will hire ‘his own set of hacks’

No matter what Republicans say, there's nothing wrong with being deliberative about choosing a running mate, according to state Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Woodbridge).

"If Chris Christie took 10% of the amount of time that Governor Corzine has taken for selecting a lieutenant governor to try to come up with ideas to fix this state, maybe he'd be a credible candidate. But he hasn't, and he's not," said Vitale.

Vitale's comments came after entrepreneur Randal Pinkett, a former Rhodes Scholar and winner of "The Apprentice," kept himself in the running for lieutenant governor at a press conference today despite pushback from some fellow Democrats and newspaper editorials.

After weeks of speculation, Jon Corzine has apparently come to a decision and is expected to hold a press conference on Saturday.

Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains), the Republican State Chairman, poked fun at Vitale's comment.

"Did Joe Vitale just say that a man who today was fifteen points ahead in the polls wasn't a credible candidate?" he said.

Republicans have repeatedly compared Gov. Corzine's very public vetting of several candidates for the number two spot on the ballot unfavorably to Christie's lower profile process, which culminated in Monday's announcement that he selected Monmouth County Sheriff Kim Guadagno. They see it as more spastic than deliberative.

State Sen. Kevin O'Toole (R-Cedar Grove) called Corzine's selection process a "circus." State Sen. Diane Allen (R-Edgewater Park), who was a finalist to be Christie's pick, said it was "an absolute symbol of how the Governor has run the state of New Jersey" – and not in a good way.

"In contrast to Chris Christie's organized, disciplined process in which he made a great decision by picking a very credible and talented public servant, Jon Corzine continues to embarrass his party and everyone involved with his process of choosing a running mate," said Webber.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth), however, said that Democrats' penchant for gossip should not be taken for indecisiveness on Corzine's part.

"I think it may be just a lot of Democrats like myself liking to talk to the press. That's inside baseball and inconsequential. What matters is what the Governor's ultimate choice and we'll see when he makes that announcement," he said.

Vitale countered the GOP spin by arguing that Democrats did not weigh in on Christie's lieutenant governor choices before he made a decision, and that Christie's campaign platform so far is full of unrealistic, empty promises: increasing school funding while decreasing taxes, paid for by vaguely defined cuts in state government.

Vitale didn't think that Christie would really eliminate many patronage positions, as he has promised.

"So he'll hire his own set of hacks… He should go department by department, and tell the commissioners of Human Services, Health, Labor, the Department of banking and insurance, which people should go," he said. "It's a heck of a lot easier to pick a lieutenant governor than it is to fix a state. Chris has taken the easy route. The Governor is being contemplative like he is with all things, and there's nothing wrong with that."

Vitale: Christie will hire ‘his own set of hacks’