SOMERVILLE, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie was “in charge and at work” in a hospital room Thursday following emergency treatment for asthma, his deputy chief of staff said.
The blunt-talking governor, who some Republicans have been trying to persuade to run for president, was taken to the S
omerset Medical Center on Thursday morning after he had difficulty breathing.
Christie, who uses an inhaler for asthma and is overweight, was headed to a bill signing when he felt unwell. The governor was driven to the hospital by his state police security detail out of an “abundance of cauti
on,” gubernatorial spokesman Michael Drewniak said.
The 48-year-old walked into Somerset Medical Center at around 10:30 a.m. and was working from there Thursday afternoon, said Maria Comella, his deputy chief of staff. Christie’s EKG, blood work and chest X-ray were normal, and the governor expected to be discharged from the hospital Thursday evening, Comella said.
In a post on Facebook, Christie’s brother Todd Christie described the problem as an asthma attack.
The last time Christie sought emergency treatment for asthma was when he was in law school, Drewniak said.
His wife, Mary Pat, was at the hospital but left after a few hours. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno was in her office at the Statehouse.
Christie canceled his monthly “Ask the Governor” radio show, which was scheduled for Thursday night.
“All breathing problems should be considered a medical emergency until proven otherwise,” said Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who heads the emergency medicine department at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., and is not involved in Christie’s care.
Christie, a former federal prosecutor who took office 18 months ago, has drawn praise from fiscal conservatives and complaints from unions for efforts to trim benefits for public employees as part of steep budget cuts. His national profile also has risen, in part, for his frank and sometimes confrontational exchanges with the media.
The governor attended an education conference and a congressional fundraiser in Iowa on Monday, where he again told reporters he was not running for president. He has said that his four school-age children and further goals in his first term rule out a White House bid, but Republicans continue to court him.
The governor has made headlines for his sometimes stormy relationship with Democratic lawmakers.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney recently called Christie a “bully and a punk” after the governor cut $1.3 billion from the state budget Democrats had sent him. But on Thursday Sweeney issued a statement wishing the governor a speedy recovery.
“Politics goes out the door at a time like this, and I join all of New Jersey in wishing the governor well and hoping for his swift return,” Sweeney said.
Christie has been open about some of his health problems.
He has long struggled with his weight, which he said he started putting on after high school when he stopped playing organized sports. He’s tried dozens of diets over the years with varying success and has shed some pounds in recent months.
His weight came up during his 2009 campaign against Democrat incumbent Jon Corzine, who ran an ad accusing Christie of “throwing his weight around” to get out of traffic citations while he was U.S. attorney. Christie confronted the ads head on, telling Corzine to “man up and say I’m fat.”
In April, Christie told a town hall meeting in Hamilton, “I’m an asthmatic and I take an inhaler every morning.”
Christie was named the state’s top federal law enforcement officer after playing an important role in President George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign in the state.
He soon gained national exposure by overseeing two major terrorism convictions and the convictions of dozens of public officials on corruption charges.
Christie’s hospitalization lit up Twitter, with some people offering well wishes and others ridiculing him for his weight, trying to connect it to his asthma.
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter, who supports a Christie presidential run, made light of the situation.
“I took Christie’s inhaler away until he promised to run in 2012,” she tweeted.
Christie personally joined in from his hospital room, taking to Twitter to thank Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono, a frequent critic, for her get-well wishes: “Thx 4 your kind thoughts…and BTW, Happy Birthday!”