Chris Christie to Obama: Walk away from Iran nuclear talks

Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, urged President Obama to walk away from nuclear talks with Iran in order to avoid a deal he says is bad for the U.S. and for the world.

"The largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world is moving toward a nuclear weapon with the permission of the United States. It's outrageous," Christie said on "CBS This Morning" Monday. "You wouldn't buy a car this way, let alone have nuclear talks this way. You can't look like you want the car that much, and the president cares much more about his legacy now and having ... his signature on some kind of agreement with Iran than whether it's a good agreement for the country and for the world."

"This is a bad thing for the president and I think he should just get smart about this, walk away from the table," Christie said.

The talks have dragged on several days past an initial June 30 deadline as Iran, the U.S., and five other world powers struggle to resolve their differences on outstanding issues including allowing international inspectors access to Iranian nuclear sites. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters Sunday, "We are not yet where we need to be."

Christie argued that heavy U.S. sanctions were effective in bringing Iran to the negotiating table in the first place, so the best way to increase America's bargaining power is to walk away from the current negotiations and increase sanctions once again.

"They'll come back to the table the same way they came the first time but maybe this time they'll come back knowing that America will not sign a bad deal for the United States and for the rest of the world," he said.

Asked whether he would undo the deal if elected president, Christie said it would depend on the exact outlines of any agreement and the state of international affairs when he is elected.

"I certainly wouldn't be inclined to want to do it but I will tell you that I think it's irresponsible to say I absolutely wouldn't," he said. "It's not a good deal and I suspect that any American president would want to figure out a way to walk away from a bad deal."

On the other looming international issue, the Greek debt crisis and voters' rejection of a European bailout package, Christie predicted there would not be a significant impact on the U.S. economy unless the European Union starts to crumble. The E.U. will have "a very hard decision" figuring out how to move forward after the vote in Greece, he said.

He also talked about his own presidential campaign efforts, fresh off a multi-day campaign swing through New Hampshire to meet with voters. In order to combat negative opinions of him in the state, the New Jersey governor said he'll have to go and talk to voters directly.

"I can't tell you how many times people have come up to me just in the last week and said to me, 'It's really great to meet you because some of the way you're characterized ... on television is really different from what you look like when you meet you,'" he said. "So part of the good thing about having the notoriety that I have is that as you walk down the street there in Wolfeboro and no one doesn't recognize you, but on the other hand you've got work to do but that's what campaigns are for, I think."

He was referring to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, where he spent the July 4th weekend at 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney's lake house with fellow 2016 candidate Marco Rubio.

On the swirling controversy over comments about Mexican immigrants made by another one of his fellow GOP presidential contenders, Donald Trump, Christie once again said the comments were "inappropriate" but predicted they wouldn't hurt the GOP in the long run.

"There's plenty of us in the Republican party who know we have to grow the party in order to win national elections, and that's what I intend to do as the nominee," he said.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.