Video: Chris Christie rips feds after clerical error costs New Jersey $400 million in school funding

posted at 9:02 pm on August 25, 2010 by Allahpundit

Via Cubachi, a textbook example of how to turn a mistake to one’s political advantage. To be clear: The error here was made by his own staff, not the Department of Ed. They were applying for “Race to the Top” money and accidentally inserted 2010 budget numbers in the space where 2008 numbers were requested. Rather than call them to ask for the correct information — and despite the fact that Jersey officials actually did give them the proper numbers at an oral presentation two weeks ago — the feds simply processed the application and, based on the incorrect info, determined that NJ missed the cut for almost half a billion dollars in funding. (They finished three points behind Ohio on the DOE’s application scorecard; had they filled out the application correctly, they would have finished slightly ahead.)

So what’s a governor to do knowing that voters won’t be pleased at this innocent yet costly goof? Well, if he’s smart, he uses it to reinforce his grand critique of big government, indicting a mindless bureaucracy for penalizing Jersey students over a harmless, easily fixable error. Chris Christie, smart guy. Exit question: Anyone else think the DOE would have picked up the phone if Corzine was still governor?


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The perfect Facebook page to address admiration of Gov Christie.

I’ve got a man-crush for Gov Chris Christie and his “Common Sense Porn”

http://tinyurl.com/27dd3hf

closetgop on August 25, 2010 at 11:29 PM

Actually its already happening via the FDA and Avastin (the breast cancer drug) and ProAmetine-a drug that my girlfriend is on-one of only 2 drugs approved for the condition she has. Orthostatic Hypotension.

SgtSVJones on August 25, 2010 at 11:02 PM

I met someone once who had that. Very debilitating. Does the other available drug not work?

Your link to the press release said that the drug co has to produce documentation this month. With any luck, maybe it’s only the Obama Administration’s…er, hopeychangey way of ‘reminding’ the drug company that they forgot to make a contribution to the DNC this year.

leilani on August 25, 2010 at 11:32 PM

Comes off as whiny, and if you hate bloated bureaucracy then don’t grovel for federal money.

ClassicCon on August 25, 2010 at 11:29 PM

That ‘federal money” is New Jersey’s money, not the US GOV’s – they’re a donor state & pay way more in taxes than DC deigns to give back to them (unlike MS, AK, AL, MT, ND,D, WV & VA which make out like bandits and get more than they put in.

Lemme guess. You come from a beneficiary state? ;-)

leilani on August 25, 2010 at 11:40 PM

ClassicCon on August 25, 2010 at 11:29 PM

Governor Christie hardest hit.

BigWyo on August 25, 2010 at 11:41 PM

Exit question: Anyone else think the DOE would have picked up the phone if Corzine was still governor?

Just ask Bobby Jindal and the other gulf governors (Republicans) when the Obama administration delayed the response to the oil spill, shut down drilling, and held up aid. Obama has not only declared war on Arizona (Republican governor), NJ, and the gulf states, but any state that has elected a Republican governor. It is political black mail on an amazing scale, intentionally opposing and hurting Americans to gain political advantage (or revenge). Like a spoiled brat or 2 yr old temper tantrum.

jerseyman on August 25, 2010 at 11:49 PM

Let me tell you, as a man, as a dad, as a brother… I am moved and impressed by the fact he wouldn’t throw that govt worker under the bus. If that were my kid, my sister, my brother, my mom who accidentally put that piece of paper there, I would be forever grateful to that man for doing the right thing. That wasn’t just gutsy, it was a good manager move. If he were my boss, I’d love the guy and I’d go to the mat for him. I’d fall on my sword to protect him.

WashingtonsWake on August 26, 2010 at 12:31 AM

Moreover, this administration’s war on republican states is criminal. I hope to God the Republicans get that subpoena power and start asking how this all went down. Were there memos that outlined the strategies to destroy republican governors and states? The firestorm that will happen when this racketeering is revealed is going to be biblical in proportion.

WashingtonsWake on August 26, 2010 at 12:33 AM

I know he says he won’t run.

But please Governor Christie, the last time I got to vote for someone I really wanted to vote for was 1984.

Over50 on August 26, 2010 at 12:53 AM

OK, I officially have my first ever man crush.

But I’m not gay.

I’m not even Mehlman-ten-years-ago-type questioning-my-feelings almost-gay.

NTTAWWT

notropis on August 26, 2010 at 1:08 AM

You have a system in which a few nameless men in some office in some city decide, all at a stroke, all by themselves, whether a people a few hundred miles away will or will not receive $400,000,000? You are all diseased.

What do you do, mail great fistfuls of money to these men, and then send them written requests to give it back? How much do you pay them every year to take your money and then pass it around? You’re in the middle of a recession! Have you laid any of those men off? Have you cut their pay? If you’re in the middle of a recession and you haven’t laid off any of your money-pusher-arounders, how can anyone escape the conclusion? You are all diseased.

Kralizec on August 26, 2010 at 1:09 AM

I met someone once who had that. Very debilitating. Does the other available drug not work?

Your link to the press release said that the drug co has to produce documentation this month. With any luck, maybe it’s only the Obama Administration’s…er, hopeychangey way of ‘reminding’ the drug company that they forgot to make a contribution to the DNC this year.

leilani on August 25, 2010 at 11:32 PM

Weeel, if you’ve read the rest of the links there you’ll see that Shire has pulled it effective Sept 30th 2010. And they DID produce documentation…..almost 10 years ago. Apparently the FDA wants more now.

As to the other drug: She also suffers from severe chronic depression and PTSD. So the other drug makes that shit worse because:

it causes mood changes in her (the kind that wind up with her screaming at me and throwing a clothing iron at my head for LITERALLY no damn reason)

it makes her nearly double her body weight after 3 months (having your g/f go from 150lbs to…..well a lot more than 150lbs-not good for her mental health at all)

it makes her hallucinate for an hour, roughly, every time she takes it-taken 4 times daily as directed results in 3 “good” hours and 1 “horrible hour from hell”-then another pill and the cycle starts again (again for someone with PTSD and severe chronic depression-THESE ARE BAD THINGS)

So NOT FUN for me at all these past 2 weeks :(

SgtSVJones on August 26, 2010 at 1:39 AM

BALLS

Metro on August 26, 2010 at 1:56 AM

the best part was that last 2 min on refusing to scapegoat the mid-level person who made the mistake.

Moreover, this administration’s war on republican states is criminal. I hope to God the Republicans get that subpoena power and start asking how this all went down.

That’s Issa’s plan…..well, officially he’s looking for examples of Obama using taxpayer money for partisan purposes, but this all fits in.

YehuditTX on August 26, 2010 at 2:58 AM

Why the Department of “Education” still exists is the real question.

NoDonkey on August 26, 2010 at 3:01 AM

Fair enough, but what was lacking in his answer was that steps are being taken to prevent the mistake from happening again. That would be “taking responsibility”.

paul1149 on August 26, 2010 at 6:43 AM

Comes off as whiny, and if you hate bloated bureaucracy then don’t grovel for federal money.

ClassicCon on August 25, 2010 at 11:29 PM

That ‘federal money” is New Jersey’s money, not the US GOV’s – they’re a donor state & pay way more in taxes than DC deigns to give back to them (unlike MS, AK, AL, MT, ND,D, WV & VA which make out like bandits and get more than they put in.

Lemme guess. You come from a beneficiary state? ;-)

leilani on August 25, 2010 at 11:40 PM

Donor State? – The money shouldn’t go to the Fed in the first place the US Dept of Education should not exist. It was a gift from Congress to Jimmy Carter.

Dasher on August 26, 2010 at 8:58 AM

1. I hate the term “donor state” vs. “beneficiary state.” It just invites more and more pork and government largesse, which is EXACTLY why we’re bankrupt as a country. If the citizens in New Jersey pay $20 billion in taxes a year and get $16 billion in government spending “back”, I wouldn’t call that much of a victory. Sure, it’s better to get $16 billion than to get nothing at all, but thinking that way obscures the real problem: why does the government need $20 billion in New Jersey residents’ money to begin with?

2. You don’t suppose that DOE’s decision had anything to do with the fact that Ohio’s Democrat governor might lose re-elction this fall, and receiving $500 million in “Obama money” for the schools might be a way to buy votes?

Outlander on August 26, 2010 at 9:37 AM

NJ is better off not getting the money. At least now they won’t have the feds and dept of ed directing how they spend this money on the education of their children. That would have caused a lot of trouble in our state and at first our ed secretary wasn’t even going to apply. The dem gov decided that she would, but eventually the state was not chosen.

Kissmygrits on August 26, 2010 at 9:42 AM

As my team is preparing to answer 2 RFP’s to States and one to the a Fed agency, welcome to my world.

As unfair as it may seem and as reasonable as Christie is and I am ready to vote him for President or Vice President; tough.

The “other” team that won, didn’t make the mistake.
I have lost Bids because the individuals opening the RFP’s called my competitor and “allowed” them to make corrections like this.

It is fair.

barnone on August 26, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Fair enough, but what was lacking in his answer was that steps are being taken to prevent the mistake from happening again. That would be “taking responsibility”.

paul1149 on August 26, 2010 at 6:43 AM

.

Everyone makes mistakes. I think what he proposes is the people at all levels of government use common sense and look out for citizens rather than be bureaucrats who mindless check boxes.

.
Wait until government is in control of health care and then the real box checking will begin. New Jersey can recover from a clerical error and still educate their students, but when it is life saving drug you need and the bureaucrat checks the box denied, you may not have time to straighten out the clerical error or appeal the decision.
.

The DOE was only dealing with 50 applications at most from 50 states. Imagine how it will be when the government deals with approving or denying requests for health care treatment approval or denial for millions of people.
.

Just like with social security disability, if you need it, you often have to get a lawyer to help you. It will be like that with health care. You will likely be denied care and have to get a lawyer to help you through the paper work to get care. Oh it is going to be fun for all.
.

USBB on August 26, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Donor State? – The money shouldn’t go to the Fed in the first place the US Dept of Education should not exist. It was a gift from Congress to Jimmy Carter.

Oh I agree with you there. The Federal Gov’t has no business confiscating this money from ANY of the citizenry under the pretext of educating local schoolchildren.

But Gov Christie was elected to serve the people of his state & to protect their interests. Would any of us expect Gov. Christie sit idly back & watch the real pork kings in MT, WV (RIP Sen. Byrd) & elsewhere skim New Jerseyan’s money for their own states for bridges to nowhere?

This is NOT the federal gov’s money. It’s the people of that state’s money, they’re the ones who worked their buns off to earn it. For us to suggest that NJ should just lie back & think of England while other states are given carte blanche by the vote-buyers in DC to raid the the kitty filled with everybody else’s hard earned money because we’re bankrupt is blaming the victim here.

Stop the Fed Gov from stealing by reducing their theft, sorry, ‘tax’ rates and take away the Feds ability to redistribute other people’s money for pork projects, and then the people elected to safeguard their constituents’ interests elsewhere won’t HAVE to fight to get their own money back from the amoral kleptocrats in DC.

leilani on August 26, 2010 at 10:13 AM

This money was a “one-time shot” – so how were we going to fund what was resulting from this money next year? How are we coming up with $400 million to keep it going next year? And….if the teachers’ union had signed onto this, which they did not, he would have had 14 more points and this would be irrelevant right now. The whole thing is FUBAR.

NJ Red on August 26, 2010 at 10:15 AM

@SgtSVJones on August 26, 2010 at 1:39 AM

You both have my sympathy, this is truly an awful predicament. Is the drug still being marketed in Mexico &/or Canada?

leilani on August 26, 2010 at 10:27 AM

You wanna take shots? Take shots at me.

Leadership.

dczombie on August 26, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Eliminating the DOE would open up a lot of funds for NJ, I’d wager.

I’d love it if some businessman figured out how to deliver quality education without begging for money from national, state or local governments.

How on earth did our Founders learn, without massive state and national bureaucracies to teach them? And imagine how smart Aristotle could have been if he’d been working from standardized lesson plans.

hawksruleva on August 26, 2010 at 11:00 AM

By his very demeanor, he screams leader. I really like this guy. I wish both parties would send more grownups like him to the ballet instead of the type we usually get.

USBB on August 26, 2010 at 11:03 AM

“I’m sorry you made a clerical error on your health care application but you’ll have to go to the death panel immediately” – Anonymous Obama appointed health care bureaucrat

roux on August 26, 2010 at 1:28 PM

barnone on August 26, 2010 at 9:49 AM

In my world, this is the very definition of corruption.

landlines on August 26, 2010 at 2:00 PM

That ‘federal money” is New Jersey’s money, not the US GOV’s – they’re a donor state & pay way more in taxes than DC deigns to give back to them (unlike MS, AK, AL, MT, ND,D, WV & VA which make out like bandits and get more than they put in.

Lemme guess. You come from a beneficiary state? ;-)

leilani on August 25, 2010 at 11:40 PM

For decades they vote libs that created those high taxes. Tough sht…you made your bed…fckn sleep in it.

Lemme guess…you are one of those phony conservatives that give lip service to financial restraint but actually take every chance to suck on mama gubment’s teet?

ClassicCon on August 26, 2010 at 2:49 PM

And let me remind that everyone here defending this probably raked Ron Paul over the coals for his double standard on groveling for federal funds.

ClassicCon on August 26, 2010 at 2:52 PM

In politics, what to do? CYA

Exit question: Anyone else think the DOE would have picked up the phone if Corzine was still governor?

Although in an oral report, the accurate 2008 figure was spoken, since it was NJ bureaucracy’s error, why didn’t NJ correct their own error before it was too late, call the feds to clear up the problem immediately, and re-apply with the correct figures to follow up? Who proof reads contracts these days?

maverick muse on August 26, 2010 at 3:34 PM

That’s the problem with central government, no matter how big or small.

Go local.

maverick muse on August 26, 2010 at 3:35 PM

Christie really is cutting back on government expenses. He doesn’t even have a bus to toss people under. :-)

Hey Obama, it’s called leadership. Try it sometime.

Imagine how much goodwill Christie bought with that defense of the person who made the clerical error. His people will be that much more loyal to him knowing he is going to support them and they don’t have to work in fear. Good man.

Mallard T. Drake on August 26, 2010 at 3:58 PM

The vindictive Administration,the one which used to be for “Hope ‘n Change” and “Yes, we can”.

Schadenfreude on August 26, 2010 at 4:02 PM

2. You don’t suppose that DOE’s decision had anything to do with the fact that Ohio’s Democrat governor might lose re-elction this fall, and receiving $500 million in “Obama money” for the schools might be a way to buy votes?

Outlander on August 26, 2010 at 9:37 AM

..chillingly insightful observation. Also, can anyone else here see the this type of behavior from bureaucratic federal functionaries when handling medical matters for Obamacare?

*shudder*

The War Planner on August 26, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Classy move that Cristie didn’t fire the person who made the error.

If the DOE has so much ‘give-away’ money; why didn’t they use it for the recent $26 BILLION Bailout to Unions teachers?

TN Mom on August 26, 2010 at 5:10 PM

The Feds = Butters’ dad.

http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/210818

fusionaddict on August 26, 2010 at 5:45 PM

@SgtSVJones on August 26, 2010 at 1:39 AM

You both have my sympathy, this is truly an awful predicament. Is the drug still being marketed in Mexico &/or Canada?

leilani on August 26, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Way ahead of you there buddy and I’d rather lay off the personal stuff for a while, suffice it to say I hope she reads my email-we had a fight recently & have been cooling off (i.e. not speaking) for the past month….

As far as the other folks responding to the actual topic of this post (and sorry for thread-jacking by the way) are saying with Eliminating the Dept of Ed I’m all for it, while we’re at it how about making a few other Federal changes:

-Department of Defense-call it what it is and what it was RIGHTLY called until 1949-The Department of War

-Consolidate as much as possible b/w DHS and DoW (DoD) to eliminate waste (i.e. intel and manpower) with the goal of completely eliminating DHS if possible!

-Completely eliminate (by DEFUNDING and possibly EXECUTIVE ORDER)the following Departments:
Education-state issue
Labor-state issue
Agriculture-state issue
Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-state issue
Health and Human Services (HHS)-again STATE ISSUE

-Department of Veterans Affairs should be returned to a sub-department under the DoD/DoW as it was until the first Bush administration in 1989

-Cut taxes ACROSS THE BOARD-both personal and corporate-to ensure competitiveness in the international business market and couple this with the elimination of the Estate “Death” Tax, and taxes on Dividends or other interest income

-Re-enact the welfare reforms pushed through by the Republican Congress and President Clinton in the 1990s which were recently removed by the various “Stimulus” bills.

-Require across the board CUTS to ANY and ALL remaining departments with the goal of a balanced budget, backed by a Constitutional Amendment with a sole exception-that in the time of a DECLARED WAR the Congress may run a deficit to finance NECESSARY MILITARY EXPENDITURES-i.e. the ONLY Department allowed to have red ink is DoD/DoW and ONLY IN TIME OF DECLARED WAR BY CONGRESS!

-Finally, and I know people will moan and groan and whine, end Social Security, MediCare, and MedicAid as soon as reasonably possible.

Social Security should be turned back to a private investment option i.e. 401(k)s for those who are of a certain age (perhaps 55 as Representative Paul Ryan suggests)-for the rest fund SS from current and future tax receipts

MediCare (Senior Medical Insurance) and MedicAid (Non-Senior Medical Insurance) should be canceled at the Federal level and restructured as State Programs-those states that wish to provide such programs can do so through their own tax collections

SgtSVJones on August 26, 2010 at 5:47 PM

I love Chris Christie. He plays the game the way it should be played by ALL Republicans: In your face, take no prisoners, not gonna go quietly into that good night (like the typical GOP milquetoasts) and he keeps his good humor. Christie for POTUS/McDonnell for VPOTUS in 2012.

JimP on August 26, 2010 at 7:00 PM

You gotta like a leader who refuses to throw the subordinate(s) under the bus for such a minor error (that had major consequences). Gov. Christe gets it.

Kenosha Kid on August 26, 2010 at 7:31 PM

California lost out on a potential $700 million grant in this contest.

The reason:

“Weak support from teachers unions was a key factor in California’s failure to win money in the Obama administration’s school reform competition”

http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci_15894617

We need to stop pretending that the teacher’s Union cares about children or their education at all.

wren on August 26, 2010 at 7:38 PM

barnone on August 26, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Respectfully, sir, I wholeheardtedly disagree with your premise: I have been a purchasing manager for a few Fortune 50 companies over the past decade, including Boeing. In all of these companies, a tendering supplier is allowed to correct an honest error in a bid response. The ethical issue hangs on two important points:

* bidders are told in the RFx package that honest errors or omissions can be corrected, provided they make the case for the change (to eliminate the “oops, I changed my mind” thingy); and

* the behavior on the part of the buyer is consistent and verified by independent auditing.

The capricious behavior exhibited on numerous occasions by this Administration over the past 20-odd months towards so-called “red states” (TARP; Spendulus; Spendulus Jr.; oil spill response; DOD budget cuts and program eliminations; etc., etc., etc.) leads me to believe that if this paperwork mistake would have occurred in a state with a Dem gov, it would have been quietly rectified by the Feds.

While buyers do have the option of not allowing any changes to bid responses where honest mistakes have been made, acting in that manner, IMHO, demonstrates to sellers that everyone is out for themselves. Such a mindset may work in the short term, but there always comes a time where the buyer must depend on the seller for help or assistance that is not contemplated within a contract. Pi$$ing off sellers by acting haughty long enough, in my experience, will always screw the buyer in the end.

And yes, pun intended, as the image is apt.

Wanderlust on August 26, 2010 at 8:17 PM

Seriously did anyone expect bureaucrats to lift a finger or to do anything other than by the book? Not anyone who has ever had to deal with them.

pgrossjr on August 26, 2010 at 8:55 PM

Off topic, but only just:

Today, Governor Chris Christie continued his commitment to grow and strengthen New Jersey’s economy by utilizing and promoting energy initiatives as key to the State’s technology future by signing the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act.

Dammit. Just when you think he’s a true fiscal conservative, he goes and does this sh*t…SIGH.

Wanderlust on August 26, 2010 at 9:17 PM

Wanderlust on August 26, 2010 at 8:17 PM

Yeah but can it be altered/corrected after the deadline has passed? I used to be on a RFP team and this kind of mistake would have gotten me killed.

NJ will get another shot at the funds soon so hopefully they know better next time around. The article linked has more details.

lexhamfox on August 26, 2010 at 9:21 PM

OK, who is going to do the mashup of Gov. Christie and Cheap Trick “If You Want My Love”??

‘Cause really, Gov. Christie, If you want my love, you got it!

Less on August 26, 2010 at 10:01 PM

Chris Christie is awesome. I hope NJ voters realize just how lucky they are.

Sadly, I doubt they will.

ladyingray on August 26, 2010 at 11:37 PM

Just ask Bobby Jindal and the other gulf governors (Republicans) when the Obama administration delayed the response to the oil spill, shut down drilling, and held up aid. Obama has not only declared war on Arizona (Republican governor), NJ, and the gulf states, but any state that has elected a Republican governor. It is political black mail on an amazing scale, intentionally opposing and hurting Americans to gain political advantage (or revenge). Like a spoiled brat or 2 yr old temper tantrum.

jerseyman on August 25, 2010 at 11:49 PM

I live in Florida and we’ve been visited by the One twice…
oh, nevermind

gstep58 on August 27, 2010 at 8:35 AM

Chris Christie is awesome. I hope NJ voters realize just how lucky they are.

Sadly, I doubt they will.

ladyingray on August 26, 2010 at 11:37 PM

WE DO. NON UNION, ANYWAY. 51% APPROVAL RATING.

NJ Red on August 27, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Well, this deal speaks to the incompetence of the Feds, and who doesn’t agree with that. However, even if the figure had been right, he still would have lost the funds, so his mistake has now been compounded. And who isn’t fed up with this type of incompetence.

This episode simply put me on notice that he’s not the savvy guy the media has been trying to make him out to be.

Newbie mistake.

AnninCA on August 27, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Then he turns right back around and claims the feds shouldn’t have made a mistake by reading the EXACT SAME !000+ page application. The Guv loses respect from me for this.

Chest_Rockwell on August 25, 2010 at 10:45 PM
_______________________
Sorry CR, the Guv was (legitimately) challenging the complete asshat who read all 1000 pages of an application, saw an obvious error on 1 page/1000……and didn’t inquire any further

Am I correct in assuming you are ‘working’ for us in some sort of gov’t job at federal/state/or local level?

alwyr on August 27, 2010 at 11:34 AM

As much as I might like Christie – he’s had to walk back from his indignation a tad.

Apparently the feds DID notify NJ of the error -

But on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education released a video of that presentation that showed neither Schundler nor the other four people from New Jersey’s delegation were able to come up with the information for the correct budget years

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/08/gov_chris_christie_asks_nj_sch.html

katiejane on August 27, 2010 at 11:59 AM

You gotta like a leader who refuses to throw the subordinate(s) under the bus for such a minor error (that had major consequences). Gov. Christe gets it.

Kenosha Kid on August 26, 2010 at 7:31 PM

But he did ask for the resignation/fire state education commissioner Bret Schundler

katiejane on August 27, 2010 at 12:01 PM

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