Chris Christie: The Inside Story of His Rise to Power

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9781452657646: Chris Christie: The Inside Story of His Rise to Power

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has become a national Republican Party figure, famous for his blunt public statements, his willingness to confront powerful special interests, and his determination to change the ingrown, corrupt, backroom political culture of New Jersey. In just two years as governor, Christie has moved aggressively to reduce the state's ballooning deficit, rein in lucrative entitlements for teacher, police, fire, and public employee unions, cut out-of-control government spending, and create jobs by reducing counterproductive business regulations. But beneath Christie's combative public persona is an intensely loyal family man, whose deep roots in New Jersey shape his core values. Written by New York Times bestselling author Bob Ingle and fellow journalist Michael Symons, who have covered the governor's political career for more than a decade, Chris Christie offers the first inside portrait of this fascinating man.Drawing on interviews with Christie himself, his wife, Mary Pat, his brother, Todd, his father, Bill, his uncle Joe, and many longtime supporters as well as political opponents, Ingle and Symons trace Christie's life. He grew up in New Jersey, surrounded by a big, roiling Italian-American family where his mother, Sondra, and grandmother Anne were powerful influences. Surprisingly, his political career nearly ended after a bruising loss in a local county campaign, but was revived when Christie was appointed United States Attorney for New Jersey. He soon became a feared prosecutor, and culminated an impressive string of successful cases with a multi-year investigation that resulted in the arrests of more than forty people, in one of the state's most notorious examples of political corruption.Despite calls to run for president, Christie reiterated his commitment to reforming New Jersey. Chris Christie: The Inside Story of His Rise to Power goes behind the scenes to reveal his family life, his public life, and what the future might hold.

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About the Author:

Bob Ingle is an award-winning veteran journalist and broadcaster who writes a syndicated column called "Politics Patrol." He is coauthor of the New York Times bestseller The Soprano State.

Michael Symons is a veteran New Jersey journalist who is currently based on Press Row in the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton.

Johnny Heller has earned multiple Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, including one for Closing Time by Joe Queenan, and has earned two Audie Awards and many more nominations. Named one of the Top Fifty Narrators of the Twentieth Century by AudioFile, he has recorded over five hundred titles.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER ONE
 
Nothing Left Unsaid
 
 
Chris Christie was in San Diego late in April 2004, some 2,800 miles from home attending a conference of federal prosecutors, when he got an urgent call from his brother, Todd. Their beloved mother, who was fighting an uphill struggle against cancer, was in St. Barnabas Medical Center, surrounded by family members. Sandy was one tough patient, having survived breast cancer a quarter-century earlier and a brain aneurism in 1996, but the dizziness and headaches she’d started enduring that winter turned out to be the result of two large tumors in the back of her head. Chemotherapy and radiation hadn’t worked. Now, Todd alerted his brother that things had taken a turn for the worse. Mom had only days to live. So Chris hopped a red-eye flight to New Jersey and went directly from Newark Airport to her bedside, where he found his mother fading in and out of a coma.
At one point she gained consciousness, recognized her oldest son, and began a conversation with him, as he later recalled:
“What day is it?” she asked.
“It’s Friday.”
“What time is it?”
“It’s ten o’clock in the morning.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m here to visit you.”
“Go to work.”
“Mom, I’d rather spend the day with you if you don’t mind.”
“Go to work. That’s where you belong.”
“What, are you worried that you’re not getting your taxpayer’s money’s worth today? I’ll make up the time, don’t worry about it. I’d rather stay here with you.”
She grabbed her son’s hand. “Christopher, go to work. It’s where you belong. There’s nothing left unsaid between us.”
Christie frequently recalls that story in a style that leaves audiences hanging on every dramatic word and pause as a way of explaining what makes him tick—and his pull-no-punches attitude. “My mother sent me to work because that’s the values she taught me,” he says. “There was nothing left unsaid between us because she was Sicilian—so you know there was nothing left unsaid between us. If you’re wondering who I am and where I came from and why I’m doing this and why I understand New Jersey the way I do, it’s because of her, because she taught me don’t leave things unsaid. She taught me: Be yourself today, and then tomorrow you won’t have to worry about you got it right or wrong and who you told what version of the truth to. One thing for sure: I will always tell you exactly what I think and you never will have to wonder where I stand.”1
*   *   *
Expressing opinions on matters large and small is rarely a hesitation for Christie, whose say-anything style would cost him his first job in politics, draw attention to a crusade in his second, and seize the national spotlight in his third.
But it’s not all flash: Sondra Grasso Christie, who died at age seventy-one just days after that bedside conversation, and her husband, Bill, infused in their children—Chris, Todd, and Dawn—a work ethic and sense of purpose from the time they were small. Sandy had no patience for complaints and no problem pushing her children socially and intellectually. “She was very opinionated. She loved to argue. You had to learn how to argue or you got run over,”2 Chris remembered.
Sandy’s independence and bluntness can be traced to her mother, Anne, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1909. Anne’s parents, Salvatore and Domenica Scavone, had emigrated from Sicily around the turn of the twentieth century. The family, including Anne’s widowed maternal grandmother, Annie, a brother and a sister, moved in the 1910s to Camden Street in Newark’s 6th Ward, where Anne’s father worked odd jobs as a laborer, eventually catching on at Port Newark and then with the city.
Friends and family called Anne’s mother Minnie. Her father was called, “Yes, sir,” jokes Sandy’s brother, Joseph Grasso.
“Grandma was this tiny, little, wonderful caring lady, and Grandpa was a real chauvinist. My grandma had to shine his shoes, iron his underwear, dump out his spittoon. When we had dinners, he’d sit there and have a jug of wine on the floor and pour it into the soup that she’d made,” recalled Joseph, known by friends, family, and colleagues as Joe. “Then afterwards, we had to put on a show, all the kids. We couldn’t talk though dinner. If Grandpa talked, you responded. You couldn’t talk to your siblings. You didn’t start a conversation with your sister. So he was a real tough cookie. Respectful as hell, but Grandma was his slave. Boy, he ruled the roost.
“Grandma was the most loving, caring little person. She would come and sit on the bed with you at night, always had the rosary beads, would say prayers,” Joe said. “My grandfather just put the fear of God in everybody. If you stepped out of line, you were going to get whacked, whether you were a kid or not. I don’t ever remember Grandpa showing a lot of love to anybody. He was just this staunch guy who sat in his chair—he was the king, and this is the way it was going to be.”
By age twenty Anne was working as a clerk in the courthouse. She married Philip Grasso, who had arrived in Newark’s 14th Ward with his parents, Santo and Santa, from Italy shortly after his 1905 birth—born on the Atlantic Ocean on his family’s way to America, according to Bill Christie. It was a marriage arranged by Anne’s domineering father. Philip, the second of ten children, worked a series of factory jobs—as a hatter, as head of a fur shop—and as a laborer before meeting Anne, a small woman, maybe five feet tall, with tiny hands, and a disciplinarian with strong political opinions. Together they had three children, Sandy being the oldest—then got divorced in 1941, which was unusual in that generation.
Her mother’s divorce compelled Sandy to take on added responsibilities early, helping with her younger sister and brother. Anne’s mother moved in with the family after Salvatore died, but for the most part Anne was raising three children—the youngest, Joe, born a year before the divorce—on her own. She had a tough time in the job market as a divorced woman but did land a few jobs—at the War Department, then working for a friendly attorney, and as a customer service representative with the IRS, a position she would hold for twenty-five years until retirement. Anne was a voracious reader, though she hadn’t completed high school, and socked away $10 from every paycheck in an envelope in her drawer, enabling her eventually to sightsee her way on trips through Europe and go on cruises, and to spend time—much as her grandmother and mother had done years earlier—with her daughter Sandy’s children, who called her Nani. She was at the Christies’ house every weekend, allowing Sandy and son-in-law Bill to go out together each Saturday night, and often during the week. “Chris and I just sat around and listened to her talk about what it was like growing up during the Depression,” Todd said. “She was blunt about when my grandfather left her and her unhappiness with raising three kids on her own.”
How unhappy? Her son’s given name was Philip but she refused to call him that because it was her former husband’s name, and instead referred to her youngest child by his middle name, Joseph. He used his middle and confirmation names on things such as his passport, rather than Philip. And when Joe named his second son Philip in 1987, at the suggestion of his wife, Victoria, who didn’t know the full backstory, Anne refused to use that name in conversation. She would call his house and ask, “How’s the baby?” When her grandson outgrew the label, she dubbed him “Handsome Harry” although his middle name is Thomas. Sandy, perhaps in solidarity with her mom, referred to her nephew little Philip as “the brat.”
“All I heard was all these things about him—some of them well deserved, as I grew up to find out,” Joe said of his father. “She had a very difficult time dealing with the way he treated her, and why they divorced. One time he tried to run her over. I probably saw him ten total years of my life. He’d come to visit, and he’d never come on time. She was very bitter.”
Philip Grasso remarried, had no more children, and died of cancer in 1969. Anne never did remarry and died in 2001 at age ninety-two. “She never remarried because she didn’t want to have another man bringing us up. And at the end of the day, it was pretty sad she spent sixty years alone,” Joe said.
“Look, she was the strength behind all of us and Sandy picked up all of those traits. There weren’t any two ways about it. My mother was pretty calm and she wouldn’t take any crap from anybody.”
Sandy and Joe bracketed a sister, Minette, who had a complicated family life. She married as a teenager and had three children, two daughters and a son, in a rocky union that ended in divorce.
Minette’s second husband, John, had a brother who made an unwelcome cameo in Chris Christie’s eventual political career—Tino Fiumara, a ranking member of the Genovese crime family. “John really stepped up to the plate and became a real good person and gave up a lot,” said Joe. “He was kind of bordered on being a wiseguy, because of his brother Tino. But Minette said to John: If we’re going to get married, you can’t do that. And he didn’t. He never had that life, but he was kind of on the edge with Tino.”
Christie said he first learned about Fiumara’s line of...

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Book Description Tantor Media, Inc, United States, 2012. CD-Audio. Book Condition: New. Unabridged edition. Language: English . Brand New. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has become a national Republican Party figure, famous for his blunt public statements, his willingness to confront powerful special interests, and his determination to change the ingrown, corrupt, backroom political culture of New Jersey. In just two years as governor, Christie has moved aggressively to reduce the state s ballooning deficit, rein in lucrative entitlements for teacher, police, fire, and public employee unions, cut out-of-control government spending, and create jobs by reducing counterproductive business regulations. But beneath Christie s combative public persona is an intensely loyal family man, whose deep roots in New Jersey shape his core values. Written by New York Times bestselling author Bob Ingle and fellow journalist Michael Symons, who have covered the governor s political career for more than a decade, Chris Christie offers the first inside portrait of this fascinating man.Drawing on interviews with Christie himself, his wife, Mary Pat, his brother, Todd, his father, Bill, his uncle Joe, and many longtime supporters as well as political opponents, Ingle and Symons trace Christie s life. He grew up in New Jersey, surrounded by a big, roiling Italian-American family where his mother, Sondra, and grandmother Anne were powerful influences. Surprisingly, his political career nearly ended after a bruising loss in a local county campaign, but was revived when Christie was appointed United States Attorney for New Jersey. He soon became a feared prosecutor, and culminated an impressive string of successful cases with a multi-year investigation that resulted in the arrests of more than forty people, in one of the state s most notorious examples of political corruption.Despite calls to run for president, Christie reiterated his commitment to reforming New Jersey. Chris Christie: The Inside Story of His Rise to Power goes behind the scenes to reveal his family life, his public life, and what the future might hold. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781452657646

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Book Description Tantor Media, Inc, United States, 2012. CD-Audio. Book Condition: New. Unabridged edition. Language: English . Brand New. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has become a national Republican Party figure, famous for his blunt public statements, his willingness to confront powerful special interests, and his determination to change the ingrown, corrupt, backroom political culture of New Jersey. In just two years as governor, Christie has moved aggressively to reduce the state s ballooning deficit, rein in lucrative entitlements for teacher, police, fire, and public employee unions, cut out-of-control government spending, and create jobs by reducing counterproductive business regulations. But beneath Christie s combative public persona is an intensely loyal family man, whose deep roots in New Jersey shape his core values. Written by New York Times bestselling author Bob Ingle and fellow journalist Michael Symons, who have covered the governor s political career for more than a decade, Chris Christie offers the first inside portrait of this fascinating man.Drawing on interviews with Christie himself, his wife, Mary Pat, his brother, Todd, his father, Bill, his uncle Joe, and many longtime supporters as well as political opponents, Ingle and Symons trace Christie s life. He grew up in New Jersey, surrounded by a big, roiling Italian-American family where his mother, Sondra, and grandmother Anne were powerful influences. Surprisingly, his political career nearly ended after a bruising loss in a local county campaign, but was revived when Christie was appointed United States Attorney for New Jersey. He soon became a feared prosecutor, and culminated an impressive string of successful cases with a multi-year investigation that resulted in the arrests of more than forty people, in one of the state s most notorious examples of political corruption.Despite calls to run for president, Christie reiterated his commitment to reforming New Jersey. Chris Christie: The Inside Story of His Rise to Power goes behind the scenes to reveal his family life, his public life, and what the future might hold. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781452657646

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Book Description Tantor. No binding. Book Condition: New. MP3 CD. Dimensions: 7.5in. x 5.3in. x 0.6in.New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has become a national Republican Party figure, famous for his blunt public statements, his willingness to confront powerful special interests, and his determination to change the ingrown, corrupt, backroom political culture of New Jersey. In just two years as governor, Christie has moved aggressively to reduce the states ballooning deficit, rein in lucrative entitlements for teacher, police, fire, and public employee unions, cut out-of-control government spending, and create jobs by reducing counterproductive business regulations. But beneath Christies combative public persona is an intensely loyal family man, whose deep roots in New Jersey shape his core values. Written by New York Times bestselling author Bob Ingle and fellow journalist Michael Symons, who have covered the governors political career for more than a decade, Chris Christie offers the first inside portrait of this fascinating man. Drawing on interviews with Christie himself, his wife, Mary Pat, his brother, Todd, his father, Bill, his uncle Joe, and many longtime supporters as well as political opponents, Ingle and Symons trace Christies life. He grew up in New Jersey, surrounded by a big, roiling Italian-American family where his mother, Sondra, and grandmother Anne were powerful influences. Surprisingly, his political career nearly ended after a bruising loss in a local county campaign, but was revived when Christie was appointed United States Attorney for New Jersey. He soon became a feared prosecutor, and culminated an impressive string of successful cases with a multi-year investigation that resulted in the arrests of more than forty people, in one of the states most notorious examples of political corruption. Despite calls to run for president, Christie reiterated his commitment to reforming New Jersey. Chris Christie: The Inside Story of His Rise to Power goes behind the scenes to reveal his family life, his public life, and what the future might hold. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. MP3 CD. Bookseller Inventory # 9781452657646

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