AMHERST, New Hampshire -- As he meets with voters on his two-day jaunt through New Hampshire, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been fielding questions on everything from climate change to deflate-gate.
After a stop at a diner in Amherst, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told reporters that he supports the controversial NSA phone record collection program, and he called on Congress to extend the program "without delay," even though a federal court Thursday just called it "excessive." "It should continue," he said. "I don't believe it is [an overreach of power]. I believe there can be appropriate oversight by Congress. They have the Justice Department that can see if the law is being followed, if the law is being violated. I'm not one of these folks who believes we should bring our guard down, especially during this very dangerous time."
The NSA's program is up for renewal as part of the Patriot Act, first passed in 2001, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and Congress is divided over whether to extend the program without changing it, alter it or end it completely. The phone data collection program will end in a few weeks on June 1 if nothing is done.
Global warming came up on Thursday, at the Cheshire County Republicans Lincoln Day dinner. There, the New Jersey governor took a strong stand on climate change that sets him apart from the other Republicans running or thinking of running for president. He said, "I think global warming is real. I don't think that's deniable. And I do think human activity contributes to it."
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And earlier Thursday, during a meet and greet in a Sunapee, New Hampshire bar, Christie said of Hillary Clinton's remarks on immigration, "I quite frankly think her position is extreme." Clinton, in Nevada this week, called for a path to citizenship, saying, "Not a single Republican candidate, announced or potential, is clearly supporting a path to citizenship. Not one. When they talk about legal status, that is code for second-class status." Since she made that statement, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who cosponsored the bipartisan Senate immigration bill, rose to her challenge and said as president, he would veto any immigration bill that didn't include a path to citizenship.
Christie also slapped at his own party on the issue, though, in particular, at Mitt Romney's 2012 suggestion that undocumented immigrants should "self-deport." Christie declared that those who entered the U.S. illegally "are not going to self-deport,"and he promised he would be giving his own speech on immigration in the next few weeks.
And in spite of his abiding fondness for the Dallas Cowboys, Christie came to the defense of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who, according to a report released this week, seemed to know that the Super Bowl playoff balls were underinflated.
"I don't think anybody is really trying to say that Tom Brady won four super bowls or became a future Hall of Famer because the balls were a little under inflated," Christie said in an interview with IJ Review Thursday. "I think the media and others love for somebody who is married to a beautiful model, who is richer than you can imagine and who is a future Hall of Famer, to take a couple of shots at him? People like that every once in a while."
Christie called the controversy "way, way overblown."