NEWARK, N.J. - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who has praised President Barack Obama's handling of Superstorm Sandy, on Wednesday blasted U.S. House Speaker John Boehner for delaying a vote for federal storm relief.
In an emotional but measured State House news conference, Christie called the speaker's inaction "inexcusable," and said he can no longer believe information he's getting from congressional leaders who had assured him the bill would be brought to a vote.
He accused his party of paying too much attention to "palace intrigue" and said the delay in passing a $60 billion relief bill is hurting the people in his state. New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut suffered the most damage from Sandy.
"There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims, the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner," Christie said, reading from prepared remarks rather than giving one of his trademark impromptu takedowns of a critic. "This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue. National disasters happen in red states and blue states, states with Democratic governors and Republican governors."
The day's message once again cast Christie as someone willing to go against big-wigs in his party.
As he has since the storm ripped up parts of New Jersey's shore and other areas on Oct. 29, Christie said his mission is to help the people of his state recover, not to serve his party.
But once again, he's in an unusual political position for someone on the national stage, though he was right in line with New Jersey officials of both parties who expressed anger Wednesday over the House inaction.