Another big speech, another big promo video.
(Or as some Democrats will undoubtedly crow, another taxpayer-funded campaign ad.)
Christie lays out his election-year budget plan in a 3 p.m. speech today, and as he often does before major addresses he has released a slick new video depicting him rocking the Sandy fleece, visiting an old man in the hospital, hanging out with kids, laughing with an old lady at her kitchen table, shaking hands with a doctor and looking downright gubernatorial.
In the ad, he talks about the role of "legacy" as a governor. He says this: "Budgets come and go. Taxes come and go. But saving lives -- saving lives -- that lasts forever."
The video also unveils a new slogan: RECOVER. REBUILD. RESTORE. Last year's budget slogan was "The New Jersey Comeback has arrived," which was criticized because it wasn't clear that the economic comeback had actually arrived.
Christie Chronicles has the exclusive first look at the new video, below.
The video doesn't reveal whether Christie will cut social programs to close a budget hole or expand Medicaid to 300,000 New Jerseyans as part of Obamacare. It doesn't give a hint to what Christie will tell the joint session of the Legislature in a few hours.
And so we will likely hear a familiar complaint: That Christie is using the video, produced by government employees, to promote himself during an election year when he faces a challenge from State Sen. Barbara Buono (D., Middlesex).
Christie has used the art of the political video to boost his popularity both in New Jersey and around the country. At well over seven million views on his YouTube channel, you'd be hard pressed to find another politician who has taken more advantage of the art of the web video to push his case without the filter of the mainstream media.
And so Democrats have groused about just that. Last year, they filed an ethics complaint after Christie aired a video at a townhall meeting that had shown at the Republican National Convention, arguing that taxpayer funds were being used for political purposes. Last month, Christie released a Sandy video, entitled "Thank You New Jersey," that prompted Bergen Record columnist Charlie Stile to write: "Voters will find it increasingly harder to distinguish between a routine promotion of Christie’s agenda and a promotion of Christie, the candidate."
Christie has also said he might appear in Jersey Shore tourism ads this year, which could be criticized by Buono for being partisan.
Of course, lawmaking and politics are intertwined, and although the below may look and feel like a campaign ad, Christie opponents may be hard pressed to find anything in the law that actually allows them to do anything about it.
Other than complain, of course, about what is essentially the advantage of incumbency.