GOP governors say they support New Jersey's Christie

Anita Kumar

Republican governors visiting Washington Tuesday said they support their new Republican Governors Association Chairman, New Jersey's Chris Christie, despite a swirling controversy over political retribution.

"I think Chris has been a great leader for New Jersey, certainly he's turned things around there economically," Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, R, said. "He's had bipartisan support....I can tell you this is one Republican governor who supports Chris Christie as our chairman of the RGA."

Christie, a potential candidate for president in 2016, faces an investigation over whether his staff organized serious traffic gridlock near the country's busiest bridge to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for refusing to endorse his re-election last year.

"The bottom line is he stepped up," Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said. "I think whether it's Chris or any other governor, all of us who are governors, we certainly appreciate people who hold folks accountable in their administration."

The governors were part of the six-member team of the National Governors Association executive board in town to meet with President Barack Obama to talk about their priorities before he delivers his State of the Union Address Jan. 28.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met with governors for nearly 90 minutes at the White House.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, D, praised their "Willingess to listen and talk about really almost anything we brought up."

Topics including investing infrastructure, energy production, education, health care as well as the budget.

The governors said they were pleased the House and Senate were moving toward passing an omnibus budget bill.

"We think its important that we have an omnibus bill that passes," Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, R said. "Any time we have uncertainty in our nation's capital that affects uncertainty in our states."

The others governors at the meeting were Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, D, and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, D.

Anita Kumar
McClatchy Washington Bureau