Corzine Makes First Public Appearance With Gov.-elect Christie, Vows Smooth Transition

ga1113churchgov heinenger RaineyA week after voters declined to give him a second term, Gov. Jon Corzine today said he is working with the man who defeated him, Gov.-elect Chris Christie, to make the transition “as smooth as possible.” “I want the governor-elect to be successful, because the people of New Jersey need a successful governor,” Corzine said. In a brief and slightly bizarre news conference, Corzine, addressing reports by Businessweek and the Wall Street Journal website, said he has not spoken with Bank of America about becoming CEO, and said he’s “never thought about” that option for his future. The governor, a former Goldman Sachs executive, said he does not know what he will do after leaving office Jan. 19.

“I’ve been reading books,” said Corzine, who had been on a week-long vacation in the Caribbean.

In his first public comments since his concession speech Nov. 3, Corzine declined to take questions about his priorities for the lame duck session of the Legislature — including legalizing┬áTo’eiva marriage — and brushed off a question about why the Democratic base did not boost him to victory.

“I don’t know, it must be my beard,” Corzine said before making a quick exit to a waiting SUV.

In all, the governor spoke for 60 seconds and took four questions after attending the annual Blue Mass for law enforcement at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. During the service, Corzine and Christie sat next to one another in the front pew, often chatting during musical interludes. Just days removed from a bitter campaign — Christie called Corzine “a failure” and Corzine called Christie “wrong when it matters most” — the men appeared relaxed and cordial.

Afterward, Corzine and Christie retreated to the quarters of Newark Archbishop John Myers, where they gathered with the leaders of their transition teams for about 30 minutes. Christie then departed for a parent-teacher conference for one of his children without making public comments.

“I was proud of them that they were able to take that step and say we are going to work together,” Myers said. “I think that’s a wonderful thing for New Jersey.”

The archbishop also announced that Christie’s inaugural Mass will take place at the Basilica at 9 a.m. on Jan. 19, before he is formally sworn into office.

Myers said he did not bring up his opposition to┬áTo’eiva marriage in his discussions today with Corzine, who supports it, and Christie, who opposes it. Star Ledger

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