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Christie’s 2014 in quotes: ‘Sit down and shut up’

December 29, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie is rarely at a loss for words, and the ones he uses often generate headlines.

From blasting hecklers to responding to questions about whether he’ll run for president in 2016, here are some of Christie’s most notable quotes of 2014:

— “Sit down and shut up.”

WHAT HAPPENED: Christie was at an event marking the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy when heckler Jim Keady stood up to complain about the pace of the state’s rebuilding efforts. After a lengthy back and forth, a visibly angry Christie moved to shut Keady down. He ended with the now-famous words: “So listen, you want to have the conversation later, I’m happy to have it, buddy. But until that time, sit down and shut up.”

HOW IT PLAYED: The exchange was played again and again on national television and prompted questions about how Christie’s brash persona would play outside of New Jersey if he decides to run for president in 2016.

— “I’ve been sued lots of times before. Get in line.”

WHAT HAPPENED: Christie became one of the most public faces of the Ebola outbreak when he decided to take a harder line than President Barack Obama by putting a mandatory quarantine on health workers returning from West Africa. Among those caught up in the dragnet: Kaci Hickox, a nurse who made a flight connection in Newark and was quarantined in an isolation tent at a hospital even though she tested negative for the virus. Hickox quickly became a media star, accusing Christie of violating her civil rights and hiring a lawyer to press her case. “Whatever,” Christie said in response to the legal threat. “I’ve been sued lots of times before. Get in line. I’m happy to take it on.” Christie eventually let her return home to Maine.

HOW IT PLAYED: Christie was criticized by scores of public health experts for taking a position they said was unsupported by science and would only make the epidemic worse. But polls showed that a majority of New Jersey residents agreed with their governor’s call.

— “I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team.”

WHAT HAPPENED: After first dismissing allegations that members of his administration had helped to orchestrate a scheme to purposely wreak traffic chaos on the town of Fort Lee in an apparent act of political retribution, Christie was forced to apologize following the release of the now-infamous “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email from one of his top aides to a Port Authority official. During a nearly two-hour news conference, Christie said he was sorry to the people of Fort Lee and New Jersey and said he’d been betrayed. “I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team,” he said.

HOW IT PLAYED: While the scandal tarnished his reputation, Christie’s news conference was seen as the first step toward rehabilitation. No evidence has emerged since then linking Christie directly to the scandal, but a federal criminal investigation is continuing.

— “I won’t have anything to say on immigration unless, and until, I become a candidate for the president of the United States.”

WHAT HAPPENED: Christie traveled to Mexico City in September on a trade mission that was widely seen as an effort to burnish his foreign policy credentials ahead of a potential presidential run. But Christie flatly refused to share his views on how best to improve the nation’s immigration system, even as he stood on Mexican soil, declaring: “I won’t have anything to say on immigration unless, and until, I become a candidate for the president of the United States.”

HOW IT PLAYED: There are arguably few political upsides for Christie in outlining his positons on divisive issues before he has to. But Christie’s refusal to weigh in on this and other national and international topics seems at odds with his tell-it-like-it is, straight-shooter persona and has raised questions about whether he has the policy chops to be a serious national contender.

— “I’m thinking about it.”

WHAT HAPPENED: Christie has been asked repeatedly whether he intends to run for the Republican nomination for president, and usually repeats a single four-word answer to his fans: “I’m thinking about it.”

HOW IT PLAYED: Christie says he’ll discuss the topic with his family over the holidays and plans to make a final decision by early next year.

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