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Union Official Defends Chris Christie on ‘98 Percent’ Remarks … Mostly

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addresses state legislators during his State of the State Address in the Assembly Chamber at the Statehouse on January 8, 2013 in Trenton, New Jersey. The popular Republican governor called on Congress to quickly approve more disaster aid for the state, more than two months after Hurricane Sandy.
Chris Christie. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Chris Christie contended earlier today that he never told Larry Bulman, the political director for the United Association — full name: the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry — that he agrees with Andrew Cuomo on “98 percent of the issues.” In fact, Christie insisted that they “were not talking specific issues in that conversation. We were talking about overall approach to the job of Governor.”

In a phone call this afternoon, Bulman defended Christie’s recollection, at least partly. “The article was taken out of context,” Bulman told Daily Intelligencer. Christie did say he agreed with Cuomo on 98 percent of the issues, but not 98 percent of all issues. “It was specifically about our issues — union issues for the building trades,” Bulman said. “Project labor agreements, the right-to-work question was brought up. That was it.”

Many Republicans won’t appreciate Christie’s opposition to right-to-work laws (“He said right to work wouldn’t happen on his watch,” Bulman says. “He sees the value with the building trades, and he would never push that”), but they’ll be pleased that he doesn’t see himself as a near-copy of Andrew Cuomo when it comes to the broad scope of issues.

He never got involved in speaking about national issues at all,” Bulman says.

Union Official Defends Christie on ‘98 Percent’