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Chris Christie: On Second Thought, You're Fired

12:26 PM, Aug 27, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Upon posting the YouTube clip yesterday of a Chris Christie press conference, I remarked how Christie had impressively turned the tables on an issue that could have embarrassed him. A clerical error by his education department--failing to list 2008-2009 funding levels--resulted in the loss of $400 million in federal education funding. Why, Christie asked, didn't an Obama administration bureaucrat just pick up the phone and ask New Jersey's education department for the right number?

Well, NJ.com reports, it turns out the feds asked Christie's education director for the number in person, and he failed to correct the application:

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie fired state education commissioner Bret Schundler this morning after Schundler refused to resign in the wake of the controversy over the state's loss of up to $400 million in federal school funding, two officials briefed on the situation said.

A deputy commissioner will be named acting commissioner while the governor searches for the next person to fill the $141,000-a-year position, the officials said.

Rich Bagger, Christie's chief of staff, asked Schundler to resign on Thursday evening because he "misled" the governor and senior staff about what happened during a presentation in Washington, D.C., the officials said.

On Wednesday, Christie publicly said Schundler had tried to give the correct information to a bungled question during the presentation, but video from the U.S. Department of Education released Thursday proved that did not happen.

Christie asked Schundler to walk him through the details of the mistake before the governor came out to defend him earlier this week, according to a source.

But after Christie and other top officials on Thursday watched the video of Schundler and other offficials' presentation to the U.S. Department of Education, and the video contradicted Schundler's explanation, the governor said, "He can't lie to me," the source said.

Oops.

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