Christie's UK trip: Vaccines, football and bashing Obama

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey.

Story highlights

  • Gov. Chris Christie (R-New Jersey) is in the United Kingdom for a three-day swing
  • The governor is preparing for a possible presidential bid

(CNN)New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's comments on vaccinations are already grabbing headlines, but the would-be 2016 contender has a busy schedule while overseas in London.

On the trip — billed as trade mission — Christie also criticized President Barack Obama's negotiating skills, arguing that Obama has been weak in recent talks involving Iran and Cuba.
"You need an effective negotiator at the top and as I've said before, I think the President has shown over and over that he's not a good negotiator," Christie told reporters in Cambridge, England.
    "If you see the reaction from Raul Castro, it doesn't seem like he's saying 'thank you, how can I make Cuba freer?' It seems he now wants Guantanamo Bay and it sounds to me like he now wants reparations and compensation," he continued, addressing Obama's push to ease the Cuba embargo. "So the president is not proving himself to be the most adept negotiator in my mind on behalf of American interests."
    Christie is in the United Kingdom for a three-day swing that will offer the governor -- who recently launched a political committee ahead of a potential White House run - -a chance to polish his foreign policy credentials. Later Monday he meets with Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street, as well as U.S. Ambassador Matthew Barzun and members of the prime minister's Cabinet.
    Asked about vaccinations, Christie said he and his wife vaccinate their children but he understands "that parents need to have some measure of choice as well. So that's a balance the government has to decide."
    Christie, an avid sports fan, started his trip watching Arsenal defeat Aston Villa, 5-0, in a Premiere League game. He also stayed up late to watch the Super Bowl game, he told reporters Monday morning.
    Christie ventured across the pond a couple of days after Mitt Romney announced he wouldn't pursue the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, a decision that opens up funding streams for Christie. The two, who've long described themselves as friends, had dinner Friday night.
    Asked about the dinner, Christie, according to the Associated Press, told reporters Sunday: "Good to see you all."
    The governor declined to comment further on how Romney's decision affects Christie's chances for 2016. "I just arrived here a few hours ago," he said. "I'm not processing a lot at the moment. I've processed some soccer. That was about it. Or football as they call it."
    His schedule on Monday included a wreath laying ceremony at the Cambridge American Cemetery to honor U.S. military service members who died in World War II.
    The itinerary this week also includes a visit to Hope House, a drug addiction treatment facility that's backed by members of the royal family. Britain's Prince Harry teamed up with Christie in 2013 to tour recovery efforts after Superstorm Sandy severely damaged the Jersey Shore.
    Unlike his trip to Mexico in September and to Canada in December, Christie is not set to deliver any major foreign policy speeches. Instead he'll hold roundtable discussions and tour facilities that focus on the life sciences industry, including pharmaceutical and health care organizations.
    The United Kingdom is New Jersey's third-largest trade partner with more than $7 billion exchanged annually.