"When you think Gov. Chris Christie, you think fun," Al Roker declared on the "Today" show this morning.
And with that, Christie began his gig this morning co-hosting -- errr, extended interviewing -- live from Seaside Heights. After a bit of controversy over whether a gubernatorial candidate should be hosting one of the most watched shows on TV, the appearance was downgraded to an "extended interview." In reality, it was one brief interview and a ribbon-cutting with the Christie family.
During a walk-and-talk down the boardwalk with his occasional dining companion, Matt Lauer, Christie was asked about the big reunion next Tuesday: President Obama will visit the Jersey Shore, and Christie will be his host. When Obama last visited -- days after Sandy and days before Election Day -- Christie was hailed alternatively as a post-partisan hero and a heretic to the Republican cause.
Is Christie concerned that next week's POTUS visit will open him to more criticism? "No, because I think that what people in my state want more than anything else is for me to do my job. The bottom line is you can't experience it like you're experiencing it now unless you see it yourself. And the fact of the matter is he's the president of the United States and he wants to come to New Jersey -- I'm the governor and I'll be here to greet him."
Is Sandy and climate change linked? "This is a distraction. I've got place to rebuild here and people want to talk to me about esoteric theories."
And how's he doing after lap-band surgery? "I feel good... there's been a lot of attention to it, probably more than I ever imagined...if it inspires other people, great for them. That's not why I'm doing it."
By the end of the 8 am, Christie appeared with his wife, Mary Pat, and oldest daughter, Sarah, to cut a five-mile-long blue ribbon -- billed as the longest ribbon-cutting in world history -- to officially re-open the Jersey Shore.
Then the Christies hung out to listen to the band FUN (which is probably what Roker was referring to in his initial comment about Christie). And Christie tweeted a picture in front of some kids, with this comment: "I think coming to #TODAYatJerseyShore is a pretty good excuse to miss school."