Chris Christie, NewsEdge

Christie’s campaign day: Drugs, Carly, FedEx

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Chris ChristieSept. 03– TRENTON It’s been a busy Wednesday for Gov. Chris Christie in the media on the campaign front.

Christie’s presidential campaign began airing a new television ad in New Hampshire, his fourth, and the Republican continued his recent blitz of TV and radio interviews with another three appearances.

Talking drug abuse (and abortion, sort of) in his new television ad. Christie’s 30-second ad, titled “Every Life,” is predominantly about fighting drug addiction. As he does in other forums, Christie talks about being pro-life for an entire life, not just before people are born: “Every one of those lives is a precious gift from God and it’s not up to us to decide when that life ends.” (He does, however, support restoring New Jersey’s death penalty.) Drug addiction is raised often on the campaign trail, and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton announced a $10 billion plan connected to the issue Wednesday.

Welcoming Carly Fiorina to the debate, not that he has a choice. Asked by conservative radio host Laura Ingraham about CNN amending its debate rules in a way that’s designed to allow former business executive Carly Fiorina into the main debate Sept. 16, Christie said: “I don’t think you ever win a game by complaining with the umpires.” He said Fiorina “has a very important voice that should be heard” but noted that 11 on stage rather than 10 will mean “a little less time for everybody.” He got a little over six minutes of speaking time at the first debate in August and suggested to Fox News that the debate should be longer than two hours: “Listen, the American people have shown that they have an appetite for this — 24 million people watched for two hours on Fox a few weeks ago.”

Threading the needle on the Kentucky clerk who won’t issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Asked by Ingraham about Kim Davis, Christie tried to walk a fine line. “Someone who works in the government has a bit of a different obligation than someone who’s in the private sector or obviously working for educational institutions that are religiously based or others. My point is we have to protect religious liberty and people’s ability to practice their religion freely and openly and, of course, we have to enforce the law, too.”

There was no such tiptoeing regarding Hillary Clinton. As you’d probably expect, Christie didn’t hold back in talking about the Democratic presidential hopeful. On Fox, he called Clinton “a disgrace” regarding the Planned Parenthood controversy and said she isn’t being truthful about her email server because “of course, this is the Clintons.” Or, as he put it to Hewitt: “Of course she sent classified information. Of course she did. We knew that right from the beginning. You know why we knew it? Because she said she didn’t, and Mrs. Clinton never tells the truth.”

… or Barack Obama … Regarding the president’s Iran deal, which appears to have gained the support needed to survive opposition in Congress, he told Fox: “He believes it’s his legacy, and guess what? I do, too. I believe it’s going to be his legacy, too. I believe that the American people are going to look back on this and say this was the single worst thing this president has ever done. And every death that Iran causes is now on Barack Obama’s head.” Wednesday night, he told radio’s Hugh Hewitt: “He will rank behind Warren Harding among presidents for having done this.”

… or, in a milder way, his Republican rivals. With Ingraham, he said he didn’t understand something Jeb Bush was talking about and disagreed with a clip she played of Gov. John Kasich. He told Fox that while the online ads Donald Trump and Bush slung at each other are amusing, that’s not what voters want to hear: “They don’t care about that stuff. They don’t care about the back and forth between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump having a food fight between each other on personal issues.”

Sketching out a trip to China, or at least over a disputed part of it. China has built artificial islands in the South China Sea, 600 miles from its coastline, andthe United States says it has put artillery pieces on one. Asked by Hewitt if he’d have the Navy sail through the disputed islands, Christie said: “I would make sure the Navy sails through those artificial islands, and I’d take Air Force One and I’d fly over it myself. The commander in chief flew over it. I’d fly right over it, and I’d call the Chinese president from Air Force One to let him know I was doing it.” Earlier in the interview, Christie dinged Gov. Scott Walkerfor saying a state dinner planned when China’s president visits should be canceled and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Fiorina saying it should be downgraded. Such ideas show “a bit of inexperience and naivete and bluster that is to no effect,” he said. ” Chris Christie would not cancel a visit of the Chinese president, nor would he downgrade it. What I would do is get the Chinese president in a room, close the door, just keep me and his intelligence officer interpreter in there and say, ‘OK, Mr. President, enough of testing the limits of the patience of the American people. You want a deal? You want to work together? Let’s work together. Otherwise, we can go to separate corners and go to it.'”

Some more info on the FedEx plan. Christie made waves over the weekend by saying he’d have FedEx’s founder — who, incidentally, is the father of his campaign spokesman — show the federal government how to better track foreigners visiting the United States. He said it could be done using biometrics and would be used for people on visas: “Everybody has got the labeling they need on them, and that is how we lay the law. They’ve got a thumbprint. We should use biometric technology to track people who come in as visitors. They’re on visas. They’re not immigrants.” He said there 4.5 million people in the country have overstayed their visas and suggested they be flagged when they use ID to do things like rent a car. “There’s no treating people like packages. I’m not saying put bar codes on people. That’s ridiculous. But you know what? We need to use technology to be able to secure our borders.”

Michael Symons: (609) 984-4336; msymons@gannettnj.com

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