Christie Continues To Catch Grief For Chopper Ride To Son’s Game

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey’s pugnacious, budget-cutting Gov. Chris Christie — widely mentioned as a potential Republican candidate for president — is catching grief for taking a state helicopter to his son’s high school baseball game.

“Gov. Christie must learn that taxpayers cannot afford his helicopter joyrides,” said Assemblyman Paul Moriart, who called on the governor to disclose his use of state police helicopters and reimburse taxpayers for costs associated with personal and political trips.

Christie, who has made a name for himself nationally for his tough talk and budget cutting ways, arrived with wife Mary Pat just before the game between Delbarton High School and St. Joseph’s of Montvale in Montvale on Tuesday night.

The governor’s oldest son, Andrew, is the starting catcher for Delbarton — a position Christie also played in high school.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell: This Isn’t Just About A Baseball Game

New Jersey State Police officials say it costs $2,500 an hour to fly in their helicopter, but that ferrying Christie to his son’s high school baseball game didn’t cost taxpayers anything extra.

Colonel Rick Fuentes, the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, released a statement Wednesday saying that Christie’s use of the helicopter didn’t come at an additional cost to taxpayers or the State Police budget.

Fuentes said ” it is important to understand that State Police helicopters fly daily homeland security missions.”  He added that the missions and flight time are used for training purposes and that the flight hours are those that “would be logged in any event.”

“Any flights transporting the Governor would be subordinated to priority needs for our aircraft including rescue and emergent law enforcement missions,” Fuentes said.

christie helicopter sff1 Christie Continues To Catch Grief For Chopper Ride To Sons Game

In this May 31, 2011 photo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, walks toward playing fields after exiting a state helicopter to attend his son's high school baseball game in Montvale, N.J. (credit: Christopher Costa/

“One of the options at our disposal is the helicopter.  I mean, we can certainly move him from one point to another by land and that’s what most often happens.  Especially given the fact that he’s only been on the helicopter 35 times since taking office.  You can see that this is not something that happens regularly,” New Jersey State Police Sgt. Stephen Jones told 1010 WINS.

However, it is still unclear whether any of those 35 trips were either personal or political.

“It’s inappropriate,” said state Democratic Party chairman John Wisniewski. “The only thing I can think of is that he wanted to look presidential flying in. It’s his version of Marine One.”

In an interview with 1010 WINS, Wisniewski also criticized state police officials coming to Christie’s defense.

“I didn’t know Col. Fuentes is now working in the communications office for the governor.  The fact of the matter is that it is not a matter for state police to determine whether or not the use of a public resource is appropriate,” he said.

Flanked by state police troopers, the Christies watched the game from the stands until the 5th inning. Play was stopped briefly while the helicopter took off.

“This is to me is an example of do as a I say, not as I do,” state Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle told CBS 2’s John Slattery.

The governor had no public schedule Tuesday but had a dinner meeting later at the governor’s mansion in Princeton with a delegation of Iowans who tried — unsuccessfully — to persuade him to run for president.

“It is a means of transportation that is occasionally used as the schedule demands,” Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said, declining to give specifics. “This has historically been the case in prior administrations as well, and we continue to be judicious in limiting its use.”

Drewniak said there was nothing inappropriate or illegal about the governor’s use of the helicopter, but declined to release his schedule for the day, or say where the governor was coming from when he arrived at the game.

“The Governor gets EPU (executive protection unit) coverage every day to and from Trenton or anywhere he travels on government or personal time, 24 hours a day,” he said.

Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club said that it can make sense for governors to use helicopters on long haul business trips over gas-guzzling SUVs.

“If you have an event in Cape May and then Princeton, it makes sense,” he said, “but I’m talking about official state business, I’m not talking about going to a baseball game.”

Do you think it was wrong of Christie to take a helicopter ride to his son’s game? Let us know below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Peter Haskell
  • SCannonc

    Where was the media when Obama took Air Force One to a play in NYC? Or had pizza flown in to DC from Chicago? Or rented out the entire Taj Mahal hotel with friends, family, security, etc? Where was the press when Nancy Pelosi worked up a $180K alcohol bill for her private jet? Or when it was revealed that federal limos have doubled under the Obama administration? Is there anyone in the mainstream nedia that has any ethics at all?

  • adeyinka

    he is a gove 24/7,we need more dads like him,who takes interest in his son’s activities.

  • DoubleEdge


    get rid of this idiot!

  • Mike

    Pols are all snakes. People get into politics Due to ego, and the power and influence. Whether you are talking about Christie, Obama, bush, Clinton, etc. Theirs and their families needs are the priority.

  • MJ

    piggly wigglt strikes AGAIN…….OINK !!!!!!

  • Committed2Good

    This state is in trouble because of the fools that are quick to attack without knowing all the details, can’t see the entire picture, and say they understand that we need to cut but as long as it doesn’t impact them. Stop wasting time commenting on these boards and spend the time in any one of a million more productive ways. No…you’d spend your time finding fault in everything this guy does. He isn’t perfect. Never claimed to be. Makes an occassional bad decision…as we all do. But he is interested in cleaning things up in Trenton and yes that will cause all of us some pain. Quit yer bit-chin and focus on what you can do better and how you can help improve things around here. Why don’t you go look into the teacher’s union leadership. That is 2 x as scary as anything Christie has or will do and yet you all want to turn your heads. Selfish bunch of whiners!
    eam about every little thing you

  • Dr. John

    Pride goeth before a fall.

  • Jersey Girl

    pretty pathetic how the focus on CBS is on Christy how do you know that the state police didnt just do him a favor? never a mention on cbs about BO’s abuse continually of tax dollars. His trip to London alone was out of control i guess he really needed 6 doctors his white house chef and full kitchen staff a total of 500 staff member’s accompanied him on that trip alone. 200 secret service come on! OUT OF CONTROL! He i ts a Disgrace to this country!

  • Jersey Girl

    pretty pathetic how the focus on CBS is on Christy but never a mention about BO’s trip to London and the abuse of tax dollars and 500 unnecessary staff member’s.

  • Howie Sprague

    No surprise, Gov. ‘Hippo-Christie’ is a product of today’s GOP; the ‘Do as I say, not as I do crew’. This P-O-S has been attacking middle class pensions & salaries & blaming the middle class for the financial problems in the state. The GOP stands for corporate welfare, tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans & billion$ in subsidies for big oil. Remove this hypocrite from office. (I wonder how many free hot dogs this hippo scarfed down at the game …)

  • tina


  • mark

    He is arrogant. He is a hypocrite. He is a one term governor. The more he does the more I am convinced he is not a trailblazer but merely a puppet of the republican party. It’s a shame we aren’t given better choices for candidates to vote for, so we get stuck with the losers we have as politicians.

  • mak

    GMAFB. Let’s look at Corzine’s helicopter flight records.

    You people wouldn’t be able to see political footballs if they smacked you in the face. You all are being played by the Democrats in Jersey with the media doing what they do best by shilling for the left. They hate Christie because he tells it like it is and they look like morons.

    What sheeple …

  • Jack

    This incident will be hard to live down. Absolutely 100% foolish.

  • Tommy

    I like the Governor, but this is a really STUPID thing to do given the economy and the sacrifices he has asked all NJ residents to bear. STUPID STUPID STUPID. And yes, he is fat too (like most Americans).

  • bukowski

    What typical privileged-class hypocrisy! Cut vital services, put down hard-working teachers, but it’s NO PROBLEM to help themselves to some fat-cat perks! There are people in this state who cannot even GO to their children’s sports events because they are working TWO jobs just to get by, but this guy take a heli and a limo. It doesn’t MATTER whether the State Police want to cover for him and tell us it costs the taxpayers nothing, it’s the PRINCIPLE!

  • r katen

    Christie has one helluva nerve using taxpayer money for his joyride for 5 innings of his son’s baseball game. This is a perfect example of the Republican
    way of thinking they should be able to receive preferential treatment which costs taxpayer money while at the same time cutting funds from education and other programs for taxpaying citizens and their children. He is owes the State
    of NJ about $ 5000 for this misuse of state property. Also is he so diabled by his girth that he cannot walk 100 yards instead of being driven to the field. Is he really someone that some people think of presidential timber? I think he is more
    representative of presidential blubber. What a hypocrite!

  • NJ Resident

    The article fails to mention that he then got in a limo to drive the 100 yds. to the field!!!!
    NJ is reeling under this idiot’s ‘budget cuts’ – and this fool does this. Talk about ‘flippin’ the bird’ at everyone in the state! And people are trying to talk him into running for President – he’s nothing but a bullly.

  • Jack Mayhoff

    Did he pay for two seats?

  • ericm

    If for no other reason, it is wrong to use the chopper because it LOOKS bad. He should understand that.

  • Snookie

    “I seen a DRAGON-FLY, I’ve seen a BUTTER-FLY,….”

  • Pete

    This guy is hypocritical bum like most of our politicians. It is our shame that he got elected, but look around, is there somebody better? Losers, thieves, gangsters, rapists, and traitors to our people, are running the show. What do you expect from a guy like this, who just fits right into this picture, and acts accordingly, so his peers can trust him, and maybe even get him elected President.

  • Bob

    “…he ain’t heavy, he’s my heli…… on we goooo.”

  • David R

    …was there a fuel surcharge?

  • Miranda

    HEY HEY HEY!! Who needs Southwest today?

  • Paula

    Maye its because the Governor’s FAT A$$ couldnt fit in a standard car. Nice role model for our already overweight kids. Stop worryin about Snooki and the Situation and maybe walk or jog to your sons game……you could stand to lose a few sir

    • Paula

      How embarassing for his son to have all his friends see his father roll out of a helicopter……..He was probably mortified…

  • Bobby G

    New Jersey State Police officials say it costs $2,500 an hour to fly in their helicopter….so let’s be clear here…it’s NOT by the POUND?

  • M052949

    What afreaking hypocrite this overstuffed turkey is!!

  • Dale Auburn

    Do as I say, not as I do.

  • George Jones

    This guy is definitely an idiot.

  • Joseph Didonato

    Most people in this state are living paycheck to paycheck, and this idiot is taking helicopters!!!

  • nathan

    So the obese hypocrite isn’t running for POTUS? What a surprise.

  • Warren Shelmidine

    Come on lets get to what IS iimportant!

    Did his son’s team win? Or did the little biscut fan every time up?

  • sharon wolff

    Gov Chris Christie had absolutely no right what soever to use a NJ Tax payer funded helicopter to get to his son’s baseball game. He just wasted our money and he keeps crying the blues that NJ doesn’t have money. Christie’s salary should be “pro rated” each and every time he is out of the state of NJ on conducting non Governor of NJ Business; ie, a trip to Iowa to discuss running for President, etc.

  • Gary

    Since the trip served no business purpose, at a minimum the costs of a private helicopter joy ride for he and his wife should be imputed as additional taxable income for federal and state tax purposes.

  • Jx

    Was the flight departure and destination not mentioned?

  • Sick of KrispyChristie

    Putting aside for the moment that Gov. Krispy should be doing a LOT more walking, how can anyone condone this behavior? It is the height of hypocrisy. The truth is where there is smoke there is fire. I’m sure this is one of MNAY abuses by Gov. krispy. he just got caught this time. HypoChristie!!!

  • American Worker

    Its not about what others do or did. It would have been cheaper to rent a Limo with
    lobster and champagne on the menu.This was wrong , reimburse the State of New Jersey for the expense . Do what you preach.

  • Omar

    If he wants to be seen and have any credibility as a cost-cutting conservative, then he failed when he used the helicopter to see his son play baseball. If he reimburses the state for the use of said helicopter then no problem. If not, he’s not practicing the same belt tightening he is trying to force on educators and others in the state so this could easily be seen as using state funds for personal use (i.e., corruption.)

  • Dan

    I don’t condone personal use of tax dollars, but what I find more disturbing is the paragraph about Gov Corzine and that a special commission recommended use of helicopters because the Garden State is to dangerous.
    what about us!

  • Play Ball

    I would be embarrassed if my father came to my ball game in a helicopter and created a scene. This is how kids think, and I am sure his son feels the same. At any rate, since the tax payers flip the bill for this stuff, we should have a say as to how much per year politicians can spend on this stuff. Meantime, I am happy he went to his son’s game. It means a lot to them when all is said and done. So good job on that at least,.

    • R U ?

      Are you Gov. Christie?

  • A. Cuomo

    …definitely inappropriate. Cost is WAY too much. Hey, we all miss our kids’ events sometimes, comes with ANY job. The Gov is two-faced! Practice what you preach.

  • JD

    This is just an attempt to slam Christie who is doing a good job. If this is the best smear the libs can come up with on Christie, I say he is doing pretty good. This may, and emphasize may have been an error in judgement, but it is hypocritical to slam Christie and not look in the mirror at the people they support from the POTUS on down who constantly is on vacation on our dime and the former speaker of the house Pelosi’s trips to CA. This whole thing is politics at its worst. I commend the guy for making his kids baseball game!

    • R. Philbin

      C’mon, JD, get real! So you’re okay w/ spending THOUSANDS to get to a game! It’s just not right, don’t care WHO it is. The fact that it’s “Mr. cost-cutter” just makes it more absurd. Very disappointed in chubby.

      • JD

        Even if I concede that he made a mistake here, it doesn’t change the fact that this is absolute BS when compared with other politicians actions and complete lack of attention in the media. Does one decision outweigh his efforts? I would be OK with picking him apart if this was either a habitual thing with him or others who do this sort of thing far more often and to a higher degree were called out, which they are not. I think I more in disagreement with the double standard than anything else. I still commend the guy for making his kid a priority and wanting to be there to support him.

  • Hypocrits

    Let me preface this by saying that I don’t agree with this. However, I don’t see anyone complaining about Nancy Pelosi using taxpayer money to fly from DC or California EVERY WEEKEND to see her family. This includes security, gas, etc. A helicopter ride was about 10% of what she spends every week, but no one says a thing… I call BS!

    • Kris

      Go ahead and call BS. Pelosi didn’t travel between DC and CA every weekend. How about doing some research and check the facts instead of repeating years old Faux news lies that have been debunked since 2009. That’s why you don’t see anyone complaining about it (except for the dopes at Faux).

      What’s BS is when someone who touts his record on FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY uses taxpayer money to get to his son’s baseball game.

      • Hypocrits

        nope, you’re wrong. The rumor was that she was flying in a 757 jet, when in fact she uses a “smaller military aircraft.(c32)” It’s still tax payer money and still more expensive than a helicopter….

        I’m not saying I agree with what Christie did, but I think its kind of sad that people only get riled about things when the MEDIA tells them to…

    • Flynn

      Honestly…if the country weren’t in a financial crisis, I’d probably not care so much — but when everyday people are struggling to fill up their cars so they can get to their own kids’ sports event, it’s a slap in the face to all of them when a politician uses their tax money to not only travel to his own son’s event, but to do it luxuriously.

      And considering Christie is mulling a Presidential run, you’d think he would be smarter than this — perception is everything, and doing this makes him look like he’s seriously out of touch with the average NJ citizen (or anyone else for that matter)

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