You can't spin your way out of this race

A few hours ago, I saw a press release by state Sen. Thomas H. Kean blaming the Obama Administration for a mistake the Christie Administration made on its application for federal money under the Race to the Top program. The state lost out on about $400 million because of the error.

In my mind, I gave Kean credit for creativity.

Then I realized that this was not only the spin of a state senator being as partisan as can be, but also of the governor.

Chris Christie said the U.S. Education Department lacked “common sense” in not accepting New Jersey’s application. The problem was New Jersey’s application was deficient; all the required information _ budget data for 2008 and 2009 _ was not provided. The governor said that the information was verbally provided to the feds after it was realized that the state’s application was incomplete.

That’s like a student getting an answer wrong on a test and then trying to give the teacher the correct answer afterwards.

No spin can blame the feds for this mess-up; it was the state’s responsibility to prepare a complete application.


About fsnowflack
Fred Snowflack was editorial page editor and a political columnist for the Daily Record of Morristown for almost 12 years. He has won numerous awards for editorial and column writing from the New Jersey Press Association and has written a blog on county and state politics for the last three years. He lives in Ledgewood in Morris County.

25 Responses to You can't spin your way out of this race

  1. Kevin Nedd says:

    A 400 Million Dollar Screw Up? This is about competence and accountability. Christie has clearly demonstrated he isn’t up to the task. And by the way when is my property tax bill going to go down like he promised? I can’t want to see the P spin on this one!

  2. Scott Olson says:

    Give Christie & Kean a break – their dogs ate their homework.

  3. seekntruth says:

    If only the federal government could limit their mistakes to 400 million dollars.

    Plenty of blame to go around here, I haven’t seen the NJEA apologize yet for their part.

    I think the bus is headed straight for Schundler.

  4. You are right about the NJEA. If they had supported the application, the state would have gotten the money …

  5. P says:

    Like the Swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, you can always bet that Nedd will be here to pile on the Gov. whenever an opportunity is afforded.

    Full comment to come, although I will note that it was sooooo nice of the Obama administration to shaft our kids over a missing page (that’s who really loses in the end, isn’t it).

    P.S. Looking at the Round 1 score, can anyone say that a Corzine administration, in cahoots with the NJEA, would have even come this close?? Just asking.

  6. P …
    Blaming the Obama Administration is silly.

    You are supposed to follow the rules — all the other states apparently did — and if you submit an incomplete application, it’s going to hurt you.

  7. thegoodolddays says:

    The NJEA has nothing to be smugly judgemental about. After all, those responsible for the mistake are products of NJ public education.

  8. Bob Grant says:

    Just a thought here, but perhaps someone who can read and follow the instructions on an application should have filled this one out. This was just stupid carelessness and someone, the Education Commissioner, should pay for it with his job.

  9. Kevin Nedd says:


    Save us the full comment. Your boy screwed up. Admit it. I guess the narrative of him being the GOP poster boy may not go as smooth as planned!

  10. Kevin Nedd says:

    Here is a question the governor should answer: did he personally review the application before it was sent in? If not, why not….it was only worth 400 million dollars.

  11. Kevin Nedd says:

    And speakin gof accoountability, here is a newly issued CBO report that spells out what we should hold the Obama administration accountable for when it comes to the economic stimulus package:

  12. Kevin Nedd says:

    Wow..let me try that again –

    And speaking of accountability, here is a newly issued CBO report that spells out what we should hold the Obama administration accountable for when it comes to the economic stimulus package:

  13. Ed Ramirez says:


    You have to know that the Obama Administration was never going to give NJ that money not with Christie as Governor. I find all these comments about Christies screw up when these people all know that one we were never getting that money and the Governor is in charge but he is not going to review a 1000 page application. The Democrats in congress do not read bills before voting on them even when the bill alters the American way of life.

  14. Ed Ramirez says:

    Nedd do not have a clue what the governor’s obligations are, he is running the state of NJ not a town Hall. you actually expect him to review every document developed by his administration. You are a bigger idiot than I gave you credit.

  15. Ken Bank says:

    According to various media reports the original compromise version of the application, agreed to by Schundler and the NJEA, contained the correct information requested by the DOE. When Christie torpedoed the agreement at the last minute the documents were hastily rewritten and that is when the error occurred.

    The real scandal here is why Christie and Schundler weren’t on the same page when the compromise version was being drafted. Why did Christie wait until after the agreement was made to cancel it (besides getting beat up by Jim Gearhart and Paul Mulshine)? Either Schundler exceeded his instructions, in which case he should have been fired months ago, or Christie was lackadaisical in not keeping up with the negotiations. That would be like Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum publicly announcing an agreement with Derrell Revis and then owner Woody Johnson claims he didn’t know about it and is canceling the contract.

  16. Pat B says:

    The records were not kept in Corzines regimine, what do you expect? how can anyone in nine months be perfect, when the former govenor was in power he could have just sent an email and received the money. Get real it is all politics.

  17. ED:
    You have to be kidding; NJ will get $268 million in education money as part of the latest federal stimulus bill .
    Face the fact: The Administration screwed up the application; Hey, that can happen, But let’s not try to deflect the blame.

  18. seekntruth says:

    Mr. Nedd,

    The CBO doesn’t have the greatest track record in scoring the stimulus or it’s effects. They said unemployment wouldn’t get above 8.1% if the stimulus passed.

  19. Ed France says:

    I also agree with Ed Ramirez about there being no way the feds would have given this money to New Jersey. he is right. The reality is politics.
    If the president really cared about the children of New Jersey he would step in and offer a solution. But guess what? They are both from different parties.
    The way politics works is you only the scratch the backs of those who can help to keep you in power.
    In the end our young people suffer. We should get the money. We pay almost the highest property taxes in the land. Does the president and his cronies care? Not unless they know they will get the votes in November. Very simple to see through the smoke and mirrors on this one.

  20. Kevin Nedd says:


    I don’t expect Christie to review every document developed by his administration. However, I do expect him to personally review any application for funds of this magnitude that require his signature, which this did. That’s his JOB! It’s called accountability.

  21. Pravelon says:

    A quote we’ll never read: “We screwed up and we’re sorry…It wasn’t Obama’s fault. It was our fault. We’ll be more careful in the future.”

  22. Ted Doty says:

    Everyone seems to view this as a “Christie screw-up. If you recall, Christie opposed the idea of a one-time grant to fund recurring operating expenses…operating expense that will grow by at least 2% per year. I’m sure he still holds that pragmatic view.

    And Christie only agreed to take over the application when he found out the DOE would be in control if he weren’t

    After all is said and done,a brilliant Governor “screwed up” an application for ill-conceived grant money. I seriously doubt it was an unintentional mistake.

  23. Ed Ramirez says:


    The latest news (and I know that you don’t care about the news) is reporting that it was thee NJEA not signing on to the governors plan that contributed to our loss of the cash. Also the people that did the evaluation said that there was no way that NJ gets anything given the current political environment.

  24. ED:
    Where have you been. It’s well known that the NJEA’s lack of support hurt the application, That is not news. The news this week was that even without the NJEA’s support, the state would have qualified if it submitted the proper application … The state screwed up pure and simple, Now, did the governor personally screw up? Of course not, But someone in the education department did. Why does Bret still have a job?

  25. Kevin Nedd says:


    The 8 percent prediction came from a member of the President’s economic team, not from the CBO. Try again.

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