By By ANGELA DELLI SANTI and GEOFF MULVIHILL Associated Press
TRENTON, N.J. - Gov. Chris Christie sought to turn back the clock as he was sworn into a second term Tuesday, saying voters
gave him a mandate in November to "stay the course" and put aside partisan differences, even as Democrats ramped up an investigation
into whether his administration abused its power.
Christie, considered a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2016, was inaugurated amid a snowstorm that forced him
to cancel an evening celebration on Ellis Island, and then gave an 18-minute address that dwelled on his 22-point election
victory in the fall. He did not mention the investigations that have already led to the firing or departure of four top aides
The people making up a broad coalition that returned him to office, he said, "have demanded that we stay the course they have
"It was the largest and loudest voice of affirmation that the people of our state have given to any direction in three decades,"
Christie said, noting priorities including the economy, education and improving access to jobs for recovering drug addicts.
"We have no moral option but to heed the voice of the voters, and that is exactly what I intend to do."
His speech came less than an hour after Democratic lawmakers announced they were consolidating twin probes into allegations
that aides engineered traffic jams in September in the community of Fort Lee as political retribution, apparently against
the town's mayor for not endorsing his re-election bid.
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, who was on the podium during the inaugural address, said the merger of Assembly and Senate
committees was the "optimal approach to ensuring the people of New Jersey get the answers they need to these questions about
the abuse of government power."
Lawmakers have not decided whether the probe will also be extended to allegations raised over the weekend by Hoboken Mayor
Dawn Zimmer. The Democratic mayor said Christie's underlings tied the delivery of Superstorm Sandy aid to the low-lying city
of 50,000 across from Manhattan to support for a prime real estate project.
Zimmer said she was told by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno that the ultimatum came directly from Christie. Guadagno, who was also sworn
in Tuesday to a second term, has strongly denied those claims and described them as "false" and "illogical."
Zimmer met with investigators from the U.S. attorney's office for several hours Sunday and gave them journal entries she said
were made at the time of the conversation at a supermarket opening in May. She also has offered to take a lie-detector test
or testify under oath.