Chris Christie to Obama: What are we paying you for?

Announcing he won't run for president in 2012, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie took on skeptics who were raising questions about his record and experience. Jan Crawford reports the news means the GOP field is pretty well set.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday launched a broadside at President Obama, rhetorically asking "what the hell are we paying you for?" after Democrats and Republicans were unable to come to a dealon long-term deficit reduction by the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Republican governor, who decided against a White House bid of his own last month, urged Mr. Obama to return to the Senate, where he can be one of a hundred legislators.

"If he wanted to run for Senate again and just be 1 of a 100, I'm sure he could have gotten reelected over and over again in Illinois," Christie said at a press conference in Camden, New Jersey.

Christie said Mr. Obama should adopt the style of governing he uses in New Jersey, where he summoned lawmakers from both parties to work out their differences over such contentious issues as changing the pensions and benefits for state workers.

"He's the one in Washington and he's got to get something done here. And it's not good enough just to say, 'Well, I'll get it done after the election.'" Christie said, adding that he was "angry" Mr. Obama decided to stay out of negotiations because the so-called "supercommittee" tasked with striking a deal on deficit reduction was doomed to failure. With the panel's failure to come to a deal this month, automatic spending cuts agreed to over the summer totaling $1.2 trillion are set to begin in 2013. That effectively puts any negotiations for changing their structure until after the November 2012 elections.

"Well then what the hell are we paying you for?" Christie said, adding " 'It's doomed for failure so I'm not getting involved?' Well, what have you been doing exactly?"

Christie said the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Tea Party movement both stem from "an anger that government can't get things done," though the similiarities end there.

"They look at Washington, D.C. and they look at a president who is a bystander in the Oval Office," Christie said.

  • Corbett Daly On Twitter» Deputy Politics Editor Corbett B. Daly is based in Washington. He has worked at Reuters, Thomson Financial News and CBS MarketWatch.