New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had some kind words for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators at a town hall recently, saying, “I understand why they are angry.”
In remarks that sounded much like President Barack Obama, Christie drew a parallel between the Occupy Wall Street protesters and the Tea Party movement, a YouTube video released by the governor’s office on Tuesday shows.
“I think that if you look at the Occupy Wall Street folks and the Tea Party folks, they come from the same perspective,” said Christie. “They just have different solutions. What they’re saying is, ‘government is not working for me anymore.’”
Although Christie did say that the Occupy Wall Street movement’s solutions were “probably 180 degrees different” than those of the Tea Party, he added, “I understand why they are angry. Because you look at what’s happening down in Washington, D.C., and it should disgust all of us.”
Christie, who recently said he would not run for president and endorsed Mitt Romney, said government just isn’t working for people anymore, and that both paralysis and overreach is contributing to mass dissatisfaction.
“I understand why the Occupy Wall Street people have sprung up, the same way I understand why - two years ago - the Tea Party people sprung up. Because they are frustrated with what government is doing - and not doing - on their behalf,” he said.
Obama expressed a similar analysis in his first remarks about the Occupy Wall Street movement at a presidential press conference two weeks ago. Then, he blamed the protests on “broad-based frustration about how our financial system works.”
This is a surprising response coming from Christie, a governor far more known for aggressive responses to the left than for sympathetic comments.
Christie did, however, show a flash of that frank, aggressive side later in the video, criticizing Obama and Congress for creating a situation of distress and frustration in the country whereby the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements have an incentive to spring up.
“You have a president who is unwilling to drag people into the same room and bang heads and enforce solutions, you have a Congress of both parties who won’t talk to each other, won’t have a civil word for each other to get anything done. Yet at the same time we have people out in the country who are suffering, and they are playing games in Washington, D.C.,” Christie said.