MANCHESTER – Gov. Chris Christie said in a town hall meeting this afternoon that Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) is “the best example of why Washington, D.C., doesn’t work.”
Lautenberg recently criticized the governor’s proposal to merge higher education institutions in New Jersey, including a plan to have Rowan University merge with and take over Rutgers-Camden.
Rutgers-Camden supporters have opposed the plan throughout the budget hearing process, in part because of the unknown price tag and the loss of the Rutgers brand in South Jersey.
Lautenberg had sent a letter to the U.S. Education Commissioner in opposition to the plan.
Christie said Lautenberg “should be ashamed of himself to continue to play partisan politics.”
“You would think by the time you (are) 88 years old, (you would know) that the country should come first, the state should come first, not your political party,” Christie said.
Christie spoke highly of Senate President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), West Deptford, during his remarks, calling him a man “who puts New Jersey first and not his political party first all the time.”
Sweeney and Christie have reached across the aisle to work together in the past.
Sweeney, along with other South Jersey Democrats, countered Lautenberg’s criticisms of the higher education merger on Wednesday in a letter.
Christie said Lautenberg should do two things – call Sweeney and apologize, and take Sweeney out to dinner.
“Someone said retire, let me tell you, I don’t disagree,” Christie said after a member of the audience yelled out a third suggestion.