Christie's State of the State

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

January 14, 2014 1:53:21 PM PST
Mistakes were clearly made. Those words, right out of the gate this afternoon, from New Jersey Gov. Christie, echoing so many politicians, as well as famous and infamous figures in history.

Never has there been so much interest in a New Jersey State of the State address. The scandals swirling around the Christie Administration made the Governor's speech today much more attractive to news organizations that don't usually care much about New Jersey. And right off the bat, he gave them what he wanted, admitting mistakes were made. About 150 of the nearly 4,300 words in his speech - the first words of the address - dealt with the George Washington Bridge scandal. And then that was it.

The part of Christie's speech that seems to have legs: A proposal to extend the school day and the school year, giving students longer days and more days in the classroom. And yes some will say it is Christie doing battle with the teachers union, which will likely oppose more classroom time for students. But this is a proposal that should have bi-partisan support. Why not keep students in class longer, making better students? What's the reason NOT to do it? What's the reason they should be instead playing on computer games? Many have urged a similar longer day/year for students in New York. And in this space we've often wondered in the past why there isn't a law that requires kids to stay in school until they're 18. Currently the law requires attendance until kids turn 16, and the truth is that for years, one out of two African American kids in New York public schools have dropped out before graduation. This can be fixed. This has to be fixed.

We'll have reaction to the Christie speech, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, and talk about pressure ? Sea World, under fire for how it treats its animals (one of my first investigative pieces as a TV reporter was digging deep into the avalanche of injuries to trainers by Sea World's killer whales ? there's a reason they have that name, ya know), has cancelled a 50th anniversary cocktail party in Lower Manhattan at a popular eatery. The reason? PETA planned to protest the use by Sea World of penguins at the party! Probably a smart move ? to cancel the event.

And speaking of bad PR ? the Defense Minister of Israel getting blowback tonight after he blasted Secretary of State Kerry, calling his attempts to negotiate peace in the Middle East as "misplaced obsession and messianic fervor." Wow.

The State Dept. says the remarks are "offensive and inappropriate."

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg with his AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Diana Williams (in for Sade Baderinwa) and me, tonight at 11.


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