• WisPolitics

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

 4:09 PM 

Christie calls Thompson role model for new GOP guvs

GREEN BAY -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie urged Tommy Thompson’s supporters to do everything they could to get out the vote for the former Wisconsin governor, who he described as "a role model" for new GOP governors.

Christie, speaking to a fundraiser with about 150 Thompson backers, told the crowd that Thompson had set "an example" for other governors on fiscal responsibility and "talking the truth" regardless of politics.

"I'm out here in Wisconsin for Tommy Thompson because we need men and women in the United State Senate who think that way," Christie said."Who think beyond today's poll numbers, who think beyond today's 24-hour news cycle, who think beyond their own self interests, and think about the next generations and conduct themselves in public life that way."

Christie also praised the audience and Wisconsinites for returning Gov. Scott Walker to office, saying that voters "stood up when standing up was required." He said that Walker’s re-election aided Christie and other governors attempting to push through similar reforms across America, but that the same action was needed by Wisconsinites in the U.S. Senate and presidential races.

"As I said to Gov. Thompson backstage, if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan win Wisconsin, they are going to be president and vice president of the United States of America," Christie said. "But I tell you, you can make Mitt and Paul's life much easier if you give them a Republican majority in the United States Senate."

Christie largely avoided all mentions of Thompson’s Dem competitor Tammy Baldwin, except for a brief reference when describing the feeling among Republicans waking up after Election Day to find "her as our United States senator."

If that happens, Christie joked, his next visit won't be as pleasant.

Baldwin spokesman John Kraus used Christie's fundraiser to knock Thompson for saying he wasn't a lobbyist. Kraus pointed to past Christie comments by Newt Gingrich saying he wasn't a lobbyist as "the oldest dodge in the book" because he was using his influence from his time in public office to help clients.

"The same can be said of Tommy Thompson, who left Wisconsin a billion dollar deficit and then went to cash in on his connections at a lobbying firm in Washington D.C." Kraus said.

Thompson spoke only briefly before Christie, repeating his assertion that he's running for U.S. Senate because of the looming debt being passed on to "our children and grandchildren."

He also said the most recent Marquette Law School Poll showed the election moving in his favor.

"It said that I was down six points, then I was down nine points," Thompson said. "Today, I'm up one point. And Romney and Ryan are down only one point and they were down 14. We’re going, ladies and gentlemen, in the right direction."

Thompson also praised Christie for taking on teachers unions and his "straight talking, articulate nature," but poked some fun at him to start.

He introduced Christie as "an individual that every one of us wanted to see on television."

"Not the prettiest thing," Thompson said. "But I'll tell you, he's the best."

Both were introduced by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who served with Christie as a U.S. attorney.

"At that time, I realized that he really fit the same vein with myself and Gov. Thompson and others in a number of different regards, one of which, which I felt was tremendously important," J.B. Van Hollen said. "And that was that he was a tremendously normal individual. I can say that with the highest of compliments."

Christie also shared his fondness for Van Hollen, saying that the one bright spot during the 2006 general elections for him was seeing Van Hollen being elected.

"You know, politicians come all the time and introduce someone as their friend and don't really know them," Christie said. "This guy is actually my friend. And I really do know him."

-- By Jason Smathers

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