(CNN)It's been a rough February for Gov. Chris Christie, who answered a series of questions Wednesday about some of the negative headlines he's faced over his travel habits, views on vaccinations and position on testing standards.
Christie answers questions after rocky month
The New Jersey Republican, who's made serious steps toward a potential presidential bid, also spent part of his day defending his fundraising abilities and trying to make the case to New Jerseyans that he hasn't abandoned them for higher ambitions.
During his monthly "Ask the Governor" appearance on NJ101.5 radio Wednesday night, Christie stuck by his travel history, saying he was completely comfortable with the lux spending by his office that was described in a New York Times report earlier this month.
While the New Jersey Republican bashed the newspaper for publishing the story, he said he feels no ethical quandaries about some of the high-end trips he's taken.
"Everything that I do is cleared by ethics folks before I do it, and, yeah, I'm completely comfortable with it," Christie said.
The report, published while Christie was in London in early February, disclosed details about travel and gifts that Christie accepted from foreign governments and wealthy donors, including a weekend trip paid for by King Abdullah of Jordan. Christie's acceptance of free travel from King Abdullah didn't appear to break any laws.
He also faulted the media for what he described as distorting his comments about vaccinations -- a dustup that also occurred while he was in London. Christie at the time argued that "parents need to have some measure of choice" in vaccination mandates, but ultimately defended the practice.
"I am a complete supporter of the mandatory vaccinations that we have in this state, and my children participate in it," Christie said Wednesday.
The governor also brushed off reports that his fundraising momentum had slowed compared to other potential candidates in the race.
"We're doing fine and I don't worry about that stuff," he said. "I'll be just fine. Nobody should be out there worried about me."
Christie also faced a question on the radio program about mandatory tests in New Jersey, which align with the controversial Common Core standards. An eighth grader called in to ask why the state was adopting new testing procedures, complaining that the test is "extremely hard."
While Christie didn't mention the controversial federal standards known as Common Core by name, he defended efforts to implement new benchmarks in the state.
"Let's everybody take a deep breath," he said. "I am someone who believes that testing to determine where people are is important. And I believe in high standards for our students and our schools."
He added that his son Patrick, who's also in the eighth grade, "doesn't like any of this stuff, either."
While in Iowa earlier this month, Christie said he has "grave concerns" about Common Core and the role of the federal government in offering incentives for states to embrace the standards. Yet, he has stood by New Jersey's efforts to adhere to the more rigorous testing.
Common Core has become a major point of contention in the Republican presidential primary, pitting hardline conservatives against vocal advocates for the standards like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and at times, Christie.
Earlier in the day, Christie tried to tackle separate concerns that he's more focused on his presidential aspirations than his day job, telling a New Jersey audience that he can "walk and chew gum at the same time."
"I don't know what I'm going to do, and I have not made up my mind," he said. "So I want you to know that every day I'm working as hard as I can to make sure we get the things done in the state that we get done."
Christie made his remarks at a town hall in Moorestown, a format that he put on hold during the fall while he traveled and helped campaign for gubernatorial candidates as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He resumed the town hall series Wednesday, holding his 128th since becoming governor.
The timing, however, had some wondering whether the governor was aiming to reconnect with Garden State voters. His approval rating dropped six points to 42% since December and his favorability rating dropped seven points to 37% in the same time period, according to a recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll.
When asked why Christie has seen a decline in his numbers, 10% of voters said it was because of his "presidential ambitions and lack of attention to current office," while 4% said it was his "out-of-state travel." Twenty percent said it was his overall attitude, behavior and personality, while 15% cited the George Washington Bridge scandal.
Indeed Christie has spent a lot of time on the road in recent months. He has traveled to Iowa three times this year and New Hampshire once, and he made a trip across the pond to London to help boost his foreign policy credentials. He travels to Washington this weekend as well as California, and makes a return trip to Iowa next week.
The governor and his allies also launched a political committee, Leadership Matters for America, which will help him continue to travel and seek support from donors.
If he runs for president, Christie vowed that "the people in this state will hear about it first," and asked them to trust him as he continues to mull the decision.
"Just because I may have to consider what that next job is going to be doesn't mean I'm not on the job, doing the job I need to do every day here," he said.