I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Gov. Chris Christie fired state Education Commissioner Bret Schundler today after the governor said Schundler misled him about what was said during a meeting with federal examiners on the state’s application for a $400 million federal grant.
Schundler said it was Christie who was wrong, and added the governor did what he often does, took a kernel of fact and went too far with it....
"We regret that Mr. Schundler continues to sully his own image by engaging in revisionist history," said a statement by the Governor. "Mr. Schundler was the Administration’s only source for what occurred in the Race to the Top presentation. All of the governor’s statements were based on Mr. Schundler’s account."
Well, there were four other members of the administration there - Christie never bothered to ask them? No one in his office thought to do a post-mortem after such a major screw-up?
Schundler, the former Jersey City mayor who founded one of the state’s earliest charter schools, said he never told the Governor he tried to add new information to the state’s application — which would have been against the rules. But he said he told a reviewer the state would have met the application’s requirements had the correct information been included.
Schundler said Christie knew this but got carried away in his press conference.
"I believe the governor gets rolling, and...." he said, trailing off.
Christie’s spokesman Michael Drewniak said Schundler was trying to "cover up misleading the governor."
Every teacher in NJ is laughing his or her ass off right now, because in a week we will all be living this every day at work: "But he called me stupid!" "She did it first!" "Nun-uh!" "Yuh-huh!"

Don't bother asking for proof: the Star-Ledger says there are emails that support Schundler; the NY Times says Christie produced a letter from Schundler that proves he lied.

The emails do back up Schundler's story:
He said he met with Christie on Wednesday before the governor talked to the media about the grant application error.
"I told him stuff that he had said wasn't accurate on Wednesday morning when he was telling me what he was going to say to you guys," Schundler told a group of reporters. "I said, 'Stop. Where you say I gave the numbers, I did not give them the numbers."'
He also shared printouts of e-mails from Tuesday that he says show that he accurately told the governor's public relations office what happened during the meeting in question. On one, he writes an account that was backed up by the video: "All we could do was confirm that we had erred -- the 2008 data was not included," he says.
But the letter itself contradicts the video of the meeting where Schundler presented the state's application:
In addition, it was confirmed verbally at our August 11 presentation that New Jersey satisfied this criteria.
How likely is it that Schundler sent this letter out without having the governor's staff look it over?

I do feel somewhat sorry for Bret: everyone knows that when a Republican falls on his sword, he's supposed to be able to leave in honor so he can get a ticket on the wing-nut welfare gravy train. I mean, no one screwed up worse than Michael "Heckuva Job, Brownie!" Brown, but Bush let him go off to drink margaritas without too much of a fuss; today, he's broadcasting talk radio blather from New Orleans.

Maybe Christie really is a different kind of Republican politician. Most can't muster up compassion for strangers; he can't even muster up compassion for a subordinate he'd already embarrassed badly.

Bret's going to have a hard time lining up a gig in a lobbying shop or as a Fox News contributor or at some Scaife-funded playpen after all this. Well, at least he's "able-bodied."

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