Christie: Obama and Clinton to blame for growing Syrian crisis

 Gov. Chris Christie (left) and  Sen. Marco Rubio at Thursday's Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate in South Carolina. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Gov. Chris Christie (left) and Sen. Marco Rubio at Thursday's Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate in South Carolina. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blamed President Obama and Hillary Clinton for allowing the Syrian civil war to grow into a global crisis. 

The comments came at last night’s South Carolina Republican debate when he was asked about how important it was to remove Syrian President Bashar Assad from power. Christie said the Obama administration simply failed to stop the Syrian government’s escalation in its fight against rebels. “This is the President who said along with the Secretary of State drew a red line in Syria, if Assad uses chemical weapons against his people, we’re going to attack. He used chemical weapons, he’s killed a quarter of a million of his own people and this President has done nothing,” he said.

Christie said the Syrian president has to go. “You’re not going to have peace in Syria with Assad in charge.” He said the key to approaching Syria is to bringing together other Arab countries that believe the Islamic State is a threat to combat the terrorists.

He also spoke out against the U.S. taking in Syrian refugees, saying they should stay in Syria.

Christie vs. Rubio

Christie went head to head with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, after Rubio accused him of supporting many of President Obama’s policies. The senator said Christie gave money to Planned Parenthood, backed the Common Core academic standards and gun control bills.

“When you’re a senator what you get to do is talk and talk and talk and no one can keep up to see if what you’re saying is accurate or not.” He said when you are a governor you are held accountable for every word.

Christie said he never supported Planned Parenthood, said Common Core was gone in New Jersey and that he had vetoed many gun control bills.

The Associated Press took time during the debate to fact check many of the candidates statements.

It took issue with two of Christie’s answers to Rubio.

On Common Core, the AP found that a panel Christie put together recommended a series of changes to state standards this week, and recommended keeping 84 percent of Common Core’s requirements.

A separate Christie panel recommended the state continue using a Common Core-aligned test – and require it for graduation by 2021.

On Planned Parenthood, Christie’s denial is at odds with a Sept. 30, 1994, Newark Star-Ledger story that quotes Christie as saying, “I support Planned Parenthood privately with my personal contribution, and that should be the goal of any such agency, to find private donations.”

Christie was running for local office in Morris County, New Jersey, at the time. The same quote appeared again in a book, “Chris Christie: The Inside Story of his Rise to Power,” a book with which Christie cooperated.

The original story was written by Star-Ledger reporter Brian Murray, who now works as a spokesman for Christie in the governor’s office. On Tuesday, Christie said he was misquoted in the 1994 story.

Fixing roads

When asked how he would pay to maintain the nation’s infrastructure needs like roads, Christie said it could be done by overhauling the corporate tax system. He said there’s more than $2 trillion being kept offshore because companies don’t want to be overtaxed.

The New Jersey governor said the federal government should offer a one-time plan for companies to bring that money back into the U.S., where it would be taxed at 8.75 percent. Christie said that revenue could be used to rebuild crumbling roads and bridges.

New direction

Christie used his closing comment to suggest that President Obama is out of touch with everyday Americans. Christie said that listening to the State of the State address on Tuesday  shows Obama was in a “fantasy land about the way they’re feeling.”

That’s not the America Christie sees. “They know that this Country is pushing the middle class, the hard working taxpayers backwards, and they saw a President who doesn’t understand their pain, and doesn’t have any plan for getting away from it,” he said.

Christie said there is a way to change the country’s direction,” it is to make sure we put someone on the stage in September who will fight Hillary Clinton and make sure she never, ever gets in the White House again, I am the man who can bring us together to do that and I ask for your vote.”

Gov. Christie was one of seven Republican candidates featured in the 9 p.m. debate on the Fox Businees Network. The other candidates that appeared on stage were: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush and John Kasich.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story

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