You'd think that sooner or later New Jersey governor Chris Christie's blunt exchanges with his constituents at town hall meetings would grow tiresome. But this one (via Instapundit) just might be his best yet:


Christie has gone toe-to-toe with teachers before, but this time he faces down one of New Jersey's finest--a police officer who's upset that he's going to have to start paying for one-third of his health insurance premiums:

Policeman: "With a 2% cap on a raise per year, how am I going to afford $8,000 to pay for medical benefits?" Christie: "You're not. You're not gonna afford it. What's gonna to happen is you're gonna have to make choices among medical plans. And have more choices than just 3 choices which you have now, and only the Cadillac plan. You're going to have to make choices, like everybody else is making choices in this economy. [...] "A whole bunch of politicians who came before me on the local level and the state level made you promises that they couldn't keep. And they knew they couldn't keep them when they made them. So, I understand you being angry. But I suggest to you, respectfully, don't be angry at the first guy who told you the truth."

After Christie finishes, the policeman persists, “I received a 2% increase in my salary 2 weeks ago, and my medical benefits started to come out. Do you know how much my check went up Sir? $4. How am I supposed to live with that?”

Christie replies:

Here’s the difference. You’re getting a paycheck. And there are 9% of the people in the state of New Jersey who are not. And if their property taxes continue to go up to continue pay for higher and higher salaries in the public sector, they'll lose their homes. And so, I have to tell you, I understand your frustration about not getting a higher raise. But you go around this room and talk to people who are in the private sector who haven't gotten raises for years, if they've been able to keep their job at all. This is the economic reality we live in now. I wish it was different, but it isn't.

On a related note, see Noemie Emery's column on a Christie 2012 run:

Different men are made for different moments in life, and Chris Christie's moment is here. Or, rather, it will be here a year from now, when he gives in to public demand and to destiny and decides to, yes, run for president. He wants to run in 2016, when he will be seasoned, but if he is born to run (like somebody else from New Jersey), there are four reasons his moment is now: The nominee must be a new face, formed and shaped by the post-Lehman era; he must be someone who can unite the Tea Party and the GOP establishment; someone who can defuse the race bomb as much as is possible; and someone who can also emerge as the anti-Obama; a creature of deeds, not of appearance; somebody less talk than act.