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New Jersey Gov. Christie calls teachers union ‘political thugs’

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New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie had harsh words for the state’s largest teacher’s union on Wednesday.

In an interview Wednesday night, the governor told ABC’s World News host Diane Sawyer that New Jersey teachers were wonderful public servants but that the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) was a “group of political thugs.”

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“Governor Christie’s name-calling is a tired attempt to draw attention away from the fact that he chose to cut taxes for millionaires, rather than fund the state’s public schools,” NJEA President Barbara Keshishian responded in a statement.

Christie blamed the union for the 10,000 teachers and school staff who he laid off, claiming they should have accepted a salary freeze he proposed.

“They should have taken the salary freeze,” he said. “They didn’t and now, you know, we had to lay teachers off.”

Christie also said he plans to reform teachers’ tenure program to make it easier to remove teachers from tenure if they’re found to be ineffective. The governor has already cut pension benefits for teachers and proposed they pay for more of their health care.

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“Once again, Christie is resorting to name-calling because he’s ducking responsibility for his own misguided priorities,” Keshishian said. “His cuts to education were so deep – and so harmful to the futures of New Jersey’s students – that a state judge found they failed to meet the requirements of the state constitution. The state Supreme Court is now poised to rule on their constitutionality.”

Christie told Sawyer he didn’t think the Supreme Court should be able to rule on the issue.

“It seems to me under the constitution that that’s what you elect a governor and a legislature for,” he said. “But we’ll see what happens.”

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[Photo credit: Walter Burns]


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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 4 losers from the CNN/NYT Democratic presidential primary debate

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Twelve Democrats took to the stage Tuesday night for yet another debate in the party's 2020 president primary hosted by CNN and the New York Times.

After only ten candidates qualified for the previous debate, an additional two — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and wealthy donor and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — made it to the stage this round for an even more crowded event.

The candidates discussed a range of important policy issues, but since the format was a debate, and they're all competing for the same nomination, it is ultimately most critical who won and who lost the night. Here are three winners and four losers — necessarily a subjective assessment, of course — from the debate:

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