Christie's budget woes may hurt his presidential odds more than Bridgegate did

Facing a $2.7 billion hole in his budgets, Mr. Christie announced this week that he would not pay the state’s full pension obligations for the next two years, reneging on a bipartisan agreement that had made him into a national star, and had become a central boast in his 2012 keynote speech to the Republican National Convention. Credit agencies have downgraded the state’s bond rating six times — making him tied for the record among New Jersey governors, and giving the state one of the lowest credit ratings in the nation — and have threatened that they may do so again because of the pension plans.

The state’s unemployment rate remains above the national average, its growth, below, and slower than its neighbors. Its foreclosure and mortgage delinquency rate are the nation’s highest. And New Jersey has recovered only about 40 percent of the jobs lost during the recession, even as the country as a whole has recovered nearly all.

Mr. Christie was asked at a Republican Governors Association news conference on Wednesday whether he would step down as the group’s chairman — as he had been asked five months ago because of the scandal surrounding the lane closings to the bridge. This time it was about his state’s economic woes, at a time when the group is trying to argue that Republican governors are more responsible financial stewards.