Gov. Christie: ‘Real leadership’ could have prevented sequester

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Monday blasted Washington for failing to prevent the sequester, saying the debate showed a lack of “real leadership.” 

“Real leadership would get this fixed. You get everybody in the room and you fix it, and you don’t let them leave until you fix it,” Christie said at a press conference in Jersey City, N.J.

“That’s what real leadership is, not calling a meeting two hours before the thing’s going to hit to have a photo-op in the driveway at the White House,” he added. “That’s not real leadership.”

President Obama and lawmakers were unable to reach a deal to avert the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts that took effect on Friday. 

Hours before the cuts were triggered, Obama met with congressional leaders at the White House. But with House lawmakers having already left Washington, there was little opportunity for both sides to reach a last-minute accord.

Christie also said that the president had oversold the effects of the sequester.

“I don’t believe that sequestration at one cent on the dollar is going to have grave effect on anybody or that anybody’s going to notice it all that much, except for some of the federal employees who are going to be furloughed,” he said.

“I think unfortunately the president has overplayed this in a major way. Planes aren’t going to be falling out of the sky,” he added.

The administration launched an aggressive campaign in the days ahead of the cuts taking effect, warning that the sequester would cost teachers and emergency workers their jobs, damage the economy and weaken the nation’s military readiness and security.

Christie's criticism of Obama marked a sharp contrast from the praise he showered on the president for the administration’s response to Hurricane Sandy. Christie traveled with Obama to storm hit areas days before the election, a move that many felt bolstered the president and hurt GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Christie has been a vocal and frequent critic of Washington. The popular New Jersey governor also slammed GOP lawmakers earlier this year after the House delayed a vote on disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy. That move led to his snub by the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which did not invite him to speak at their annual summit, a high-profile event for potential GOP presidential contenders.