Christie: State much better off now than when he took office

President Donald Trump shakes hands with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during an opioid and drug abuse listening session

With his legacy still a matter of debate thanks to record-low approval ratings, Gov. Chris Christie used his final State of the State address yesterday to emphatically recast his two terms in office, asserting that his tenure was one of effect that will be viewed more fondly over time.

Christie delivered his final State of the State Address at the Statehouse in Trenton on Tuesday, January 9th, where he took the time to reflect on his eight years in office by outlining what his administration has accomplished and what work still needs to be done.

In an exit interview with NJ.com, he had a message for the Garden State's voters and media.

Chris Christie was once thought of as a potential Republican candidate for president, but quickly fell out of favor after the infamous "Bridgegate" scandal. Christie has repeatedly denied knowledge of the decision by two of his associates to shut down lanes on the George Washington Bridge as retribution against a local mayor who withheld support for his reelection.

Among many assertions and claims he made was this: he honestly believes he'd be president today if Donald Trump had not entered the 2016 race. "But that's what it did". But he failed to rise to the top of a crowded GOP field; his biggest political asset - his bluntness - no longer seemed as unique or refreshing with Trump in the race. His 2016 campaign ended with a poor showing in New Hampshire.

He also said that when Trump took jabs at him on the campaign trail by bringing up the "Bridgegate" scandal, he personally called Trump to tell him to cut it out.

"This did not have to be Gov. Christie's legacy", Ashley Koning, assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, said in a prepared statement. "The issues you're talking about are exciting".

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A Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released on Tuesday found that Christie will be leaving office on January 16 as the least popular governor in New Jersey history, with just five percent of respondents saying that they will miss him when he is gone. But we love your husband.

"The state of our state is very good and without question much, much better than it was eight years ago", Christie said, as his family, current and former staffers, predecessors, and hundreds of others watched, frequently interrupting to applaud.

"Are there things that I would have done differently?" Analysts said anti-Christie sentiment was a major factor in the race.

"After seven years as USA attorney, I didn't need to seem to be tough on crime; I am tough on crime", Christie said, but went on to talk about the importance of second chances underlying the bail reform effort.

"I do not regret one minute of it, despite the impact it has had on my political standing", Christie said.

"I did it the way I wanted to do it and I was myself the whole time", the governor explained.

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