Gov. Christie Hails 'Free Ride' for N.J. on Health Care Challenge

By Penny Starr | February 17, 2011 | 4:01 AM EST

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spoke at the American Enterprise Institute on Wednesday telling the large audience that he would not run for president in 2012 and that he would leave the legal battle over Obamacare up to other states. ( Starr)

( – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says his state can’t afford to join other states in the legal battle over the constitutionality of Obamacare. “For once I want New Jerseyans to get a free ride” if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of the states that are suing to stop Obamacare's implementation, Christie said on Wednesday following a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.

Christie said a free ride was a “foreign concept” to people in New Jersey who are used to paying for lawyers and other experts to solve problems. He said the other states could fight the battle and if they win, New Jersey residents would also win.

“There’s 26 states pursuing this lawsuit,” Christie said when asked why his state had not joined in any of the lawsuits. “If it’s unconstitutional for Florida, Virginia and Alabama it’s going to be unconstitutional for New Jersey.

Christie said the initial decision not to sue over Obamacare being implementing in New Jersey was made by his Democratic predecessor, Jon Corzine, who is a fan of the president’s health care plan.

“When I got there, my view, as a trial lawyer was, appellate judges don’t look at it and say ‘Oh we got to 26 states; they win.’ That’s not the way it works.

“They’re spending the money, they’re forcing the argument and then if it’s found unconstitutional, for once New Jersey taxpayers are going to get a benefit for free,” Christie said.

Christie said he had joined other Republican governors in sending a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, asking him to fast-track the lawsuits to the Supreme Court – the only course that will resolve the conflict between the federal government and those states over the health care law, Christie said.

“The only people who are going to do that are the nine folks who sit over at the Supreme Court,” Christie said.

Christie said he has not hidden the fact that he is “not a fan of the president’s health care plan” and believed the law’s fate rests in the outcome of the lawsuits.

“I can tell you that with 29 Republican governors out there, it’s not inevitable by any stretch,” Christie said.

Christie’s speech was entitled, “It’s Time to Do the Big Things,” and the popular politician with a “Jersey attitude” talked about balancing the budget in his state and taking on the state’s teacher unions to make sure bad teachers are not allowed to stay in schools because of seniority and other union concessions.

He said that Corzine, his predecessor, invited the press into his office to see a cot Corzine said he would sleep on if the government shut down over a dispute about how much to raise the taxes in the state.

Christie told the Democrats after he was elected that the state was under “new management” and that he would veto any tax increases.

“But I want to tell you something,” Christie said he told the state lawmakers. “I’m not moving any cot into this office to sleep in here.

“You close down the government, I’m getting in those black SUVs with the troopers, I’m going to the governor’s residence, gonna go upstairs, gonna open a beer, I’m gonna order a pizza and I’m going to watch the Mets.

“And when you decide to reopen the government, give me a call, I’ll come back,” Christie said.

“Take a look at me,” said Christie, referring to his large build. “You think I’m sleeping on a cot? Not happening.”

Christie said elected officials are called on to lead and that being a successful leader requires politicians to be more concerned about how their decisions will affect future generations rather than future elections.