Christie doesn't address bridge scandal in second inaugural address

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Tuesday his state must resist adopting the “Washington, D.C.” mindset that puts political wins ahead of bipartisan agreements.

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In his inaugural address for his second term, Christie did not address the bridge scandal that has damaged his poll numbers. He instead talked of bipartisan cooperation, asserting his commanding reelection victory in November was validation for his administration.

“The people have definitively set the course for the next four years,” he said in prepared remarks. “They have affirmed the decision to take on the big problems. They have validated the idea that our answers to our problems must be bold.” 

Christie talked about economic growth, education and the failed war on drugs during his speech. As evidence of bipartisan cooperation, he cited a bill he signed that would allow New Jersey students living in the United States illegally to receive in-state tuition rates when attending college. 

Warning against the partisanship of the federal government, he said compromise should not be seen as a “dirty word.” 

“We cannot fall victim to the attitude of Washington, D.C. The attitude that says I am always right, and you are always wrong,” he said. “The attitude that puts everyone into a box they are not permitted to leave. The attitude that puts political wins ahead of policy agreements.”  

During his prepared remarks, Christie said his job as governor requires a certain amount of responsibility and accountably. 

“With that honor comes solemn obligations — to make the hard decisions, to raise the uncomfortable topics, to require responsibility and accountability, to be willing to stand hard when principles are being violated and to be willing to compromise to find common ground with all of our people,” he said. 

His inaugural address comes as his poll numbers have seen a decline after emails released earlier this month show a top staffer was involved in a plan to close down lanes on the George Washington Bridge last year, in apparent political retribution against a local mayor who would not endorse Christie. 

Christie has apologized and fired his deputy chief of staff, maintaining he had no prior knowledge of the closure plan. 

Separately, the mayor of Hoboken, N.J., accused Christie’s administration of threatening to hold up Hurricane Sandy relief funds unless a private development was approved. Officials named by the Hoboken mayor have said the allegation is baseless.