Steve Abudato hosted On The Line: Decision 2009 with Jon Corzine, Chris Christie and Chris Daggett last night. The show was broadcast on WNET13, NJN, Jazz88 radio and live streamed on NJ.com. Each candidate appeared separately with Abudato, answering pre-recorded questions from citizens, emailed questions and call in questions. Christie went first, followed by Daggett and then Corzine.
The show can be viewed here.
Christie did very well. He answered the "specifics" critics right off the bat with the first question. As he has proposed throughout the campaign, he said he would take a different approach to state spending with zero based budgeting. Every program will be reviewed, evaluated and audited with an eye towards savings, rather than automatically renewed. He gave a couple of examples of obvious cuts that added up to about 1/2 billion dollars. He didn't reveal all $8 billion plus that he will have to cut, but he told us how he would go about doing it. That's more than Daggett and Corzine have done. They have both assured higher taxes.
While not "magnificent" in his 10 or so minutes, neither was Christie combative or dour, as he had been characterized after the first debate. He was likable and forthright. While I think he needs to bring more optimism to his message, the more people who see and hear the Christie who appeared last night, the better he will do on election day.
Chris Daggett was awful. His tax cut plan was exposed as a tax increase. He was patronizing and insincere. He established himself as a Trenton insider and characterized Christie as a Trenton outsider by criticising him for not having state government experience. Dagget quipped during the first debate that Corzine and Christie sounded as if they might vote for him. During this appearance, Daggett made a terrific argument for electing Christie. The more people get to know Daggett, the better Christie will do on election day.
Corzine was the same man we have come to know and can't wait till he leaves. With his jaw clenched and his head bobbing he told us what a wonderful job he has done and how he wants to spend more money that we don't have.