FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said at a town hall meeting Tuesday that he is working to fix the sins of past administrations by pushing for an overhaul of the state’s pension and health benefit system for public workers.

“I’m like the guy who showed up for dinner at dessert and then everybody went to go to the bathroom and never came back, and I got the check,” Christie told the audience at the Freehold National Guard Armory. “That’s fine. That’s the job I ran for and it’s the job I’ve been elected to twice and I’m not complaining about it. But you need to know the facts.”

Christie’s comments came a day after his administration formally appealed a February ruling from state Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson, ordering the governor and legislators to find a way to pump $1.57 billion to pay into the system.

Neither Christie nor legislators have expressed much optimism at the chances of doing that.

Christie has been traveling the state selling his proposed budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year, including pressing the need to reduce health care costs to fund the state’s pension liabilities. But Christie argued Tuesday that it was his predecessors, including Govs. Christine Todd Whitman and James Florio, who hadn’t paid their fair share.

Christie also argued the proposed changes would help to reverse the state’s repeated credit downgrades on his watch.

“I believe if we were able to fix this problem, that our bond rating would go up significantly,” he said. National Democrats have cited the downgrades as evidence of Christie’s poor financial stewardship of the state.

The potential Republican presidential contender also talked Tuesday about his biggest frustrations as governor.

He says his inability to appoint Republican state supreme court justices, and the court’s decisions when it comes to school funding, have topped his list.

Christie led his 131st town hall event at the Freehold National Guard Armory.

He has been traveling the state selling his proposed budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year. He’s been pressing the need to reduce health care costs to fund the state’s pension liabilities.

Christie said the move would help to reverse the state’s repeated credit downgrades on his watch.

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