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N.J. governor defends Florida vacation

Associated Press / January 1, 2011

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FREEHOLD, N.J. — New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, criticized for vacationing in Florida as a blizzard pummeled the East Coast, defended his trip and praised his state for its response to the storm, which dumped nearly 3 feet of snow in some parts.

Speaking yesterday at his first press conference since returning home, Christie said all major decisions on the state’s response he made in consultation with state Senate President Stephen Sweeney. Sweeney, a Democrat, had been serving as acting governor after Christie, a Republican, left the state Sunday before the snow started to fall in earnest.

“We did not have any significant loss of life,’’ Christie said, calling it an “extraordinary accomplishment.’’

The rising GOP star, who often is mentioned as a presidential contender, defended taking his children to Disney World for a week while Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno also was away and said he was in constant contact with his staff and Sweeney as the storm unfolded. “I would have been doing the same thing here as I would have been there,’’ Christie said. “I would have been in a room someplace. I would not have been out, like, driving a plow.’’

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