A CNN interview with former Republican National Chairman and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour signaled the latest escalation in an all out death match between Governor Chris Christie and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer over Sandy aid.
The mayor continues to point to additional details in documents to the State supporting her allegations the aid was held over her head in lieu of approving a massive development potentially valued at a billion dollars in Hoboken for the Rockefeller Group.
The media blitz begun Saturday after the three day holiday weekend is exploding nationally.
In a TV interview addressing Mayor Zimmer as "the lady mayor," Barbour laid out some repeated talking points the mayor has received "$70 million" and "has more coming" and was asking for $127 million out of pot of $300 million.
The former Governor also took a shot at the media saying it was jumping on anything to undermine Gov. Chris Christie's emerging status as a presidential candidate in 2016.
These claims are not accurate and have been dispelled previously as flood insurance compensated the bulk of the $70 million referenced and was paid for in policies taken out by local Hoboken businesses and individuals.
Barbour concluded, "But for her to think that this is going to shake that money loose, that was a surprising thing..."
The video comes courtesy of the Governor Chris Christie YouTube channel.
Talking Ed Note: Barbour is polished and prepared and the talking points are laying on the heat talking about favorable tweets after Hurricane Sandy among a series of repeated statements concerning insurance payments made to Hoboken in both the public and private sector.
If it's muddying up your perspective, well expect more of the same.
This demonstrates some very well prepared talking points well polished from a National Republican face. It dwarfs the poor performance yesterday of a wooden Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno who looked to be reading notes several times near the floor. Guadagno concluded her performance saying she stands behind supporting economic development for New Jersey.
Hoboken residents may find that news endearing.
Hoboken are you ready for the storm? The Mile Square City is getting an inside look at what it's like to be the center of a national media hurricane.
And it's only just begun.
The transcript also from the Gov. Christie YouTube channel follows:
1/20/2014. (Transcript Below)
Cuomo: The latest suggestion by a local mayor, you know what it is, does it give you more concern about the atmosphere and culture in Chris Christie's government?
Barbour: No, I'll tell you what it gives me concern about, that the news media is willing to leap at any farfetched story with the basis in fact is unbelievable. This is a lady mayor who asked for 127 million dollars of hazard mitigation money from the governor to give that to her from the federal money. When the state was only receiving in its entirety 300 million dollars. It is absurd to think that one town would get well more than a third of the total amount of money. This town that was getting punished got over 70 million dollars in hurricane relief. She's got other projects pending, but she's already received more than 70 million dollars. More than 4 million dollars of hazard mitigation block grant money and that is the particular program that she was asking money for. So, hazard mitigation block grant money, which unlike what your reporter said, is not to repair damage from much needed damage, it is to prepare for the future.
(transcript continues at the jump)
Cuomo: So, let's say she asked for too much money. Let's grant that.
Cuomo: She says the 70 million dollars that she got wasn't state authorized, it was private insurance so don't count it in terms of what she got. And, she says something that's more important than the numbers, Governor, she says that the Lt. Governor came to me and said if you want help you have to do what we want you to do somewhere else. She has contemporaneous journal entries of this conversation and how disappointing it was to her. Do you find that compelling in terms of her being strong armed?
Barbour: Well, it might be found compelling except that she repeatedly, and repeatedly, sent out tweets praising Governor Christie. There is an article in Mediaite written by a Hoboken writer who supported Dawn Zimmer for mayor of Hoboken who says that on the TV show on MSNBC she repeatedly contradicted herself. And then, here's what he says: "Look at the facts. Tweet, after tweet, after tweet, illustrated Zimmer's approval of Mr. Christie's handling of Sandy. Days, weeks and months after the storm. One reads this praise and adoration from the Hoboken Mayor and it seems to be prompting a question that few in the media are asking: if Zimmer had such a problem with Christie, if she's really been threatened, why continue to offer such public praise and be such a big proponent of the Governor?" Now there is a writer from Hoboken who seems to me like he's got some good judgment.
Barbour: Well, I think it is more farfetched than what she actually said on MSNBC. She said quote, and I'm reading it because I don't want to miss quote her. "So part of what I'm hoping to come out of this by coming forward is to say, governor, please support this rebuild by design competition. Come forward, fully support us, give it your very direct endorsement and understand governor that we have to make, when we're making our development decisions, we have some real challenges." So, what she said on MSNBC is I'm doing this and I'm hoping I can bluff him or rough him up so that he changes his mind to support us. I don't think she's going to succeed in shaking Christie down on this but that's not what Haley says her purpose was, that's what Dawn Zimmer said on television.
Cuomo: So what do you think you would need to see for this to be more than just hyper examination of political culture and maybe a partisan attack by a cable company?
Barbour: Well I think you've got this problem, a journal that's written can be written anytime. You know I'm a recovering lawyer, but I do still remember that from when I practiced law and why was she sending out all these tweets that have been preserved on the internet that said one thing that was totally different from what she was saying and then she comes back and says well I'm hoping I'm putting enough pressure on him that he's going to fold and let me have my 127 million dollars which by the way, the 300 million dollars of Hazard Mitigation grant money, most of that won't even go to local governments, it will go to individuals and businesses that have to elevate their homes and that sort of stuff. I've done this with Hurricane Katrina and you always have people that want more than there is and in fact I'm told that in New Jersey they have received 14 billion dollars of requests for Hazard Mitigation money when they're only getting 300 million. But for her to think that this is going to shake that money loose, that was a surprising thing to read in her interview...