Snapshots: Christie’s bet on Trump pays off

Trenton, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to endorse Donald Trump in February brought him plenty of derision at the time. But it’s bringing rewards now that it’s clear he bet on the winner.

Trump on Monday tapped Christie to lead the transition team that will usher in the new administration if he wins the presidency in the fall. It’s a plum post that could lead to more.

“How did I go from being an idiot 68 days ago to prescient 68 days later?” Christie asked mischievously last week.

Christie has been a key adviser to Trump behind the scenes as well as a presence on the stage. As chairman of the transition team, he will lead a wide-ranging effort to prepare for a potential transfer of power, giving him influence in the selection of White House and administration staff and in the development of a president-elect’s first steps.

Trump’s rise comes when Christie’s favorability in New Jersey is at an all-time low and the end of his second and final term as governor is approaching in 2018 — all after his own GOP presidential candidacy failed.

Study: Sanders’ plan adds $18T to debt

Washington — Sen. Bernie Sanders’ tax and spending proposals would provide new levels of health and education benefits for American families, but they’d also blow an $18-trillion hole in federal deficits, piling on so much debt they would damage the economy.

That sobering assessment comes from a joint analysis released Monday by the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and the Urban Institute Health Policy Center, well-known Washington think tanks.

Democratic presidential candidate Sanders would raise taxes by more than $15 trillion over 10 years, with most of that paid by upper-income earners.

But that wouldn’t be enough to cover the cost of his proposed government-run health care system, along with free undergraduate college, enhanced Social Security, family and medical leave, among other new programs. The cost of the health care plan alone is more than $30 trillion, according to the study.

In a statement, the Sanders campaign said the analysis “wildly overestimates” the cost of the Vermont senator’s health care proposal.

The campaign also said the analysis “significantly underestimates” health care savings through less bureaucracy, simplified paperwork and lower prescription drug prices, similar to what other countries with government-run systems have achieved.

“If every other major country can spend less on health care and insure all of their people, so can the U.S.,” the campaign said.