Sen. Sweeney Still Upset Over Budget Battle That Caused Vicious Comments

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey lawmaker’s comments about Gov. Chris Christie are drawing a lot criticism.

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said he wanted to quote: “punch the governor in the head” for cutting the budget.

CBS 2’s Christine Sloan sat down with the senator on Wednesday to ask him what he was thinking.

Sloan laid it all out for Sweeney.

Sloan: “You basically called the governor a punk and said you wanted to punch him in the head. Did you mean any of that?”

Sweeney: “Yeah, I did at the time. I was extremely angry with what he had done with the budget.”

Sweeney said during an interview he wanted to punch the governor, reacting to Christie’s program cuts for the needy.

“He sat at his desk and looked at a piece of paper and said ‘AIDS funding … $8 million and consciously drew a line through it,” Sweeney said.

“I’m not apologizing. I am not trying to make up to him; I’m not trying to kiss up to him. This is about the people who need to be protected.”

The outspoken governor, who’s called other lawmakers names, is on vacation. His spokesperson released a statement saying: “The governor believes the language used was inappropriate and disrespectful to the office, but he continues to stand ready to work with Senator Sweeney.”

Some residents were expecting a stronger statement, but Sweeney’s words have shocked others.

“I don’t think it’s very appropriate, no, not at all, but I am a teacher,” said Beverly Scher of Cranford.

Sweeney disagreed.

“I am a person. I care about people,” Sweeney said.

Sloan asked Sen. Sweeney if he would consider running for governor against Christie when his term ends. He said that it depends on who the Democrats want as their nominee. Right now he’s trying to hold on to his seat.

Democrats in Trenton spent the day trying to override some of the governor’s line-item vetoes.

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