By Josh Lederman - 06/08/12 04:45 PM EDT
"The big challenge we have in our economy right now is state and local government hiring has been going in the wrong direction," Obama said.
Christie argued that New Jersey has more government workers per square mile than any other state, but said the trend is reversing under his leadership. Midway through his first term, the state now has fewer people on its payroll than it has since Republican Christie Todd Whitman was governor more than a decade ago, he said.
"That's the right direction, Mr. President, not the wrong direction," Christie said.
"It is an outrage to have the president of the United States stand up and say to hard-working governors — Democrats and Republicans in this country — that state and local government hiring is moving in the wrong direction, and we're to blame," Christie said.
Christie, an early backer of Mitt Romney, the presumptive presidential nominee, said it was Obama who had put forward a wasteful stimulus that had done nothing to help the economy.
"And then he has the audacity to stand up this morning and say it's the nation's governors and the nation's mayors who are driving our economy down by not hiring enough people for government work," Christie said.