Gov. Chris Christie Arrives at CBS News
Feb. 27, 2011--In town for the National Governors Association Winter Meeting, Gov. Chris Christie appeared on CBS News' "Face the Nation."

Christie has forcefully ruled out a presidential run in 2012.  Back in March 2010 he stated:

"I have absolutely no interest in running for president of the United States. None. Zero interest. Zero. None. Close the door. No chance. No way. Under no circumstances. I don’t know any other way I could put it. No hope, don’t try to talk me into it, nothing. Forget it. I’m staying here.”

Seems clear enough, but in October 2010 Donald Sico launched a Draft Christie for President website.  On Nov. 4, 2010 Christie said that, "Short of suicide, I don't really know what I'd have to do to convince you people that I'm not running. I'm not running!"

Christie is seen as a conservative rock star and is very popular prospect among Tea Party activists.  He did not appear at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, but finished fourth in the CPAC straw poll with 6%.  Christie also happens to be the subject of the cover story of today's New York Times Magazine ("The Disrupter"). (+)

Host Bob Schieffer questioned Christie about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R)'s recent efforts to end collective bargaining rights of many public sector employees to address his state's budget deficit.  Christie said this is a state by state issue, and he supports "fair and reasonable collective bargaining." 

"We can't have what we've had before.  You know, Bob, public sector workers, state workers in New Jersey this past year were working under a contract from my predecessor Jon Corzine, got 7-percent salary increases in a 0-percent inflation world.  I don't think the people who are paying the bills think that's the result of fair and reasonable collective bargaining.  They want someone in the room representing the taxpayers and that's what I'll be this June when the contract expires."

More generally Christie said that in New Jersey he is seeking "to reform the pension system, to roll back expensive health benefits for public sector workers to put them more in line with the rest of the population in New Jersey, to put us on a long term path to fiscal stability."

Schieffer also asked Christie about his strong stance against the teachers' unions.  Christie said, "The teachers in New Jersey deserve a union as good as they are, and they don't have it." 

"What I'm trying to do is set up a merit-based system for teachers so that great ones get rewarded and paid more and that the really great ones want to stay in the profession, not only because they love it, but because they're also rewarded financially for it.  The union, Bob, they protect the worst of the worst.  That's what they're there for.  They make it impossible to fire bad teachers, and its ruining our education system."  

Finally, Schieffer asked Christie about his recent remarks at the American Enterprise Institute, where he said "you're going to have to raise the retirement age on Social Security."  Christie stated:

"You know and I know that the overwhelming majority of the problem on the federal level comes down to three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  And unless we go about tackling those three issues all the rest of the things the President's talking about and others on Capitol Hill are talking about are minor league issues."