TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Senate President Stephen Sweeney said he was regretful but unapologetic for calling Gov. Chris Christie a “bully and a punk” when talking about the governor’s budget cuts over the weekend.

Sweeney said he was upset after Christie cut money from programs and services for the poor, elderly and disabled.

“This got very personal for me because of the way he hurt people,” Sweeney said.

Christie cut $139 million to struggling municipalities from his original budget, leaving just $10 million. He reduced funding by $8 million for AIDS drug distribution, by $5 million for legal services and by $25 million for Tuition Aid Grants, among others.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports: New Jersey Residents Weigh In

Sweeney said he was particularly upset that Christie cut funds for an early intervention program for children with disabilities, which Sweeney’s daughter benefited from as an infant.

WCBS 880’s Pat Carroll and Michael Wallace With Sweeney

Sweeney says he regrets his choice of language, but is not going to apologize.

“Well, you know people said I went over the top and I probably did, but I’m not apologizing for it because he hurt people in this budget,” Sweeney told WCBS 880’s Pat Carroll and Michael Wallace on Wednesday morning. “He was vindictive and he went after people, not to balance a budget, just to prove a point.”

Although Christie recently referred to a Democrat assemblywoman as “a jerk” Christie’s office said it was “inappropriate and disrespectful” for Sweeney to call the governor names.

The state Republican Party also called on Sweeney to apologize Tuesday.

But Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver came to the Senate leader’s defense.

“This governor has constantly used inappropriate and disrespectful language since he took office, so maybe from now on he will finally at least think twice before doing so again,” she said.

Sweeney said Democrats would meet this week to determine their next move. The Assembly wasn’t scheduled to convene this week. Override attempts are likely on at least some of the governor’s line-item cuts.

But this isn’t the first time Sweeney and Christie have been at odds.

In the past, Christie has called Sweeney the leader of the “do-nothing Legislature” while Sweeney has nicknamed the governor “King Christie” in news releases and in previous interviews.

Do you think Sweeney went too far? Sound off below in our comments section…

(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.)

Comments (12)
  1. LM says:

    Most people are fine with paying for basic services like police and fire fighters, and of course teachers. However in New Jersey we have so much corruption and waste that we pay several times what we should. Most teachers, police and fire fighters are not overpaid, but there are a few who abuse the system, and they get all the ink. Also, there are too many high-paid administrators who suck us dry with little added value. Lastly, public unions have created a system wherein they essentially elect their bosses, hence the “bosses” give away the store to them in hopes of keeping their jobs.

    Enter Christie, who may be a bull in a china shop, but he is trying to get the spending under control. It’s like turning around an air craft carrier. Slow going. His style is loud and obnoxious. As a taxpayer I may not want him over to my house for dinner, but I sure do want him in the Statehouse!



  3. Pokey Minuti says:

    You LIE, See B.S!!!

    Sweeney called Christies a “prick” … and repeated it several times … yet you failed to report this. Why are you always covering up for leftist cretins? Doesn’t suit your leftist agenda?

  4. mark says:

    Sweeney very much on point. Chrisite is pathetic.

  5. JRD says:

    No, the NJ Teachers Unions have been nothing but bullies and punks for years. They only get it when you respond to them in kind. TOUGH!

    The NJ voters are getting what they elected Christie to do.

  6. p8nt says:

    Like Christie or not, he’s doing one thing that former governors have not done. He’s less concerned about being re-elected, stands up against Unions, and understands that you can’t rely on projected income to set a budget. Seriously, who raises taxes then declares at the end of the fiscal year that they have a surplus? Christie can be a member of the “insert name” party, and it still wouldn’t matter. What’s actually more hilarious is that you have grown people running the state, yet they bicker like they are in 1st grade.

  7. Derry Nelson says:

    Stephen Sweeney Puts me in the mind of Lynden B Johnson. Thats Right you have to tell these Republicans,conservatives,and TeaPartiers like it is. and it wouldn’t hurt if he put his foot up Christie’s Fat Ass. Sweeney for President 2016. Because that type of Tough talk is Needed in Washington.

  8. jagdish says:

    Anyone who thinks it’s O.K. to keep spending money on discretionary things is fiscally irresponsible. These programs, although wonderful in nature, are by definition “discretionary” and like him or not Christie is making the tough decisions. NJ will benefit from this in the future.

    1. Nrichard says:

      oh – so spending on the Rich is not discretionary – no it’s amoral and that is the point. You all want services like paid police, firemen, teachers for your towns but you don’t want to pay for it. I just wish just one time you all had to walk in the shoes of the people who struggle to pay for basic needs but PAY THEIR FARE SHARE OF TAXES…nahhhh – people like you that spew this nonsense about discretionary spending and you wouldn’t know what it was if it slapped you in the face to be “on the edge” You who vote for this type of government are the very leaches who don’t pay their share and don’t want to – How many times have you looked for a way to not pay full price for something. ! I am sure that you live in a nice home, drive a nice car and surely you don’t have to worry about the ‘element’ moving in your area – please… get your head out of your butt and wake up!

      1. jagdish says:

        Hey Nrichard – you are comically obtuse. First, you make LOTS of assumptions and use these assumptions to bolster your own argument [you say I must be rich, I approve of spending for rich people, I don’t pay my fair share of taxes, etc]. You are angry and wrong – a bad combination you fool. The fact is I am on a fixed income so I know firsthand the definition of discretionary spending. Additionally, the programs mentioned in this article are not basic needs – they are by definition discretionary. These are the exact programs that Millionaire Steve Sweeney used for his own daughter as mentioned in the article. Kudos to Christie.

      2. Nrichard says:

        Then you are dumber than I gave you credit for…

  9. Nrichard says:

    I don’t think he went far enough….he told it like it is! Seriously? Disrespectful? Christie has absolutely no respect for ANYONE so it is hilarious that he doesn’t like being called the names that he represents most.

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