Christie 'Prayed' for Sandy: Top NJ Dem

Stephen Sweeney immediately apologizes for remark

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 8, 2013 11:26 AM CST

(Newser) – A top New Jersey state senator is in hot water after accusing Gov. Chris Christie of "praying" for Hurricane Sandy. Democratic Senate President Stephen Sweeney was discussing what he sees as Christie's failed economic agenda at a press conference yesterday when he made the comment:

  • "We gave the governor a jobs package. We gave him one. He vetoed it. And his job package is a hurricane. I guess he prayed a lot and got lucky a storm came. I shouldn’t say that ... I apologize for saying it."

Sweeney was apparently talking about Christie's claim that Sandy-related rebuilding projects would stimulate the economy, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. In spite of Sweeney's immediate apology, Christie pounced, with a spokesperson calling the comment "shocking" and accusing Sweeney of reducing Sandy's devastation "to a heartless partisan attack." Sweeney responded just as quickly, releasing a statement accusing Christie of "exploit[ing] my misstatement." He also called the governor "the chief politicizer of Sandy," and said the best example of that was his SNL appearance.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, talks with Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney at a gathering in Camden, NJ, Aug. 22, 2012.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, talks with Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney at a gathering in Camden, NJ, Aug. 22, 2012.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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