Sunday, August 2, 2015

Archive: September, 2011

POSTED: Thursday, September 29, 2011, 4:17 PM

In case you missed it, as conflicting speculation about a Christie presidential run continues -- see this story versus this story -- I wrote an article for today's Inquirer about whether the governor is complicit in the confusion:

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. - The speech that could have clarified it all did anything but.

In front of 1,000 devoted Republicans, a national TV audience, and Nancy Reagan herself in the front row, Gov. Christie could have said Tuesday night: "I am not running for president in 2012."

POSTED: Tuesday, September 27, 2011, 11:55 PM
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, and former first lady Nancy Reagan arrive at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. Gov. Christie warned Tuesday that America's promise is being menaced from within, as a troubled U.S. economy, shaky leadership and political gridlock diminish the nation's ability to solve its problems. (AP)

The patriotic music played. The old-timey photos of Nancy and Ronnie showed on the big screens next to four American flags. And then he arrived, uncharacteristically punctual, escorting Nancy Reagan.

Once he got to the mic he was vintage Christie -- forceful with his prepared remarks, deft with the questions and, well, somewhat coy when it came to answering whether he was running for president. He never really said "no," but the answer he gave -- with a dose of awww, shucks, I'm just a Jersey boy -- was adored by the crowd.

My full story from the speech is here. We'll see what tomorrow brings. One thing's for sure: No one is talking about Perry or Palin or Mitt or Michele tonight.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 27, 2011, 9:53 AM
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is seen in spotlights. (AP Photo / Mel Evans)

I’m on the Christie non-presidential campaign trail today, flying to California (US Airways in-flight WiFi – holla!), where Christie is delivering what is being described as the biggest speech of his career at the Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library.

C-SPAN is apparently carrying it live, FOX News is sending a camera, every national political reporter will be reading the tea leaves and Rick Perry will be (presumably) shaking in his cowboy boots.

In front of 970 people, plus press, Christie will speak about “American exceptionalism,” drawing a connection between Christie’s fiscal record in New Jersey and how that kind of prudent leadership is needed on a national level so the U.S. can restore its standing in the world. That's right -- Christie will touch on the biggest hole in his resume, foreign policy.

POSTED: Monday, September 26, 2011, 2:52 PM
Kim Guadagno, New Jersey's lieutenant governor, stops in Atlantic City at the end of August after Hurricane Irene. (Ed Hille/Inquirer Staff) (Ed Hille / Staff Photographer)

The gov began a week of fundraising, politicking and speaking visits around the country today. In other words, he has, advertently or not, fired a flamethrower into the embers of his non-existent presidential campaign.

The conservative media is stoking that flame, from the Wall Street Journal editorial page to the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin to Fox News, due largely to supreme dissatisfaction with the current crop of GOP contenders to face POTUS. Even Saturday Night Live and The New York Times have checked in with some Christie speculation.

So when Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, serving in Christie's place, signed a bill today that moves the New Jersey presidential primary to June, it provoked several questions from the assembled press corps at the Statehouse.

POSTED: Sunday, September 25, 2011, 8:45 PM

In case you missed it, this story ran in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Chris Christie Road Show began its fall tour last week with a new set list but the same swagger.

Following on his successful 2010-11 trek, when he repeatedly called for an overhaul of public employees' health and pension benefits, Gov. Christie now is pushing a package of ethics proposals that he introduced more than a year ago.

POSTED: Friday, September 23, 2011, 9:38 AM
Christie greets Daniels at the forum. Both said whoever wins the GOP nomination must vow to cut spending. (Associated Press)

This has been one of those weeks on the Christie beat when you wonder: Could he? Is he? Will he?

Several occurrences, taken together, could make the more gullible amongst us believe that the Garden State governor is on the verge of announcing his candidacy for the president of the United States:

  • The speaking schedule. Yesterday, as I reported here, Christie hosted fellow not-running-for-president-Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, and the two offered some mild criticism of the current GOP field of presidential contenders. On Tuesday, Christie is scheduled to make a speech about "perspectives on leadership" at the GOP Holy Of Holies, aka The Reagan Library, in California. He's also scheduled to be in Missouri and Louisiana, campaigning and fundraising for the party.
  • The alleged foreign policy dinners. A column in the Wall Street Journal says that Christie has been seeking advice and having dinner with foreign policy experts. Unless Trenton is invading Damascus some time soon, foreign policy experience isn't really needed in Christie's current day job.
  • The new ad. A new $1.5 million pro-Christie ad campaign, sponsored at least in part by Christie's University of Delaware classmates, dropped this week and it looks/sounds/feels, as I wrote earlier this week, like a presidential campaign ad. The opening scene is of the capitol building -- in Washington.
  • The prediction markets. A Yahoo article this week said the "prediction markets" have Christie at 4.7 percent chance of winning the nomination. That puts him in FOURTH PLACE among Republicans -- and he hasn't even campaigned for anything yet.
  • The game plan. The Washington Post's conservative columnist, Jennifer Rubin, laid out a game plan (where did it come from?) for how Christie would announce his candidacy: "He announces at an event featuring former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. The GOP all-stars explain that they’ve gone on bended knee to the one person they think can unite the party, win in the general election and make the hard calls to return us to fiscal sanity and revive American prosperity. They all pledge to raise money and provide policy advice to Christie."

Of course, none of this means anything. He says he's not running. It just makes you go, hmmm...

POSTED: Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 4:22 PM
At a 2009 lieutenant governor debate, Democratic State Sen. Loretta Weinberg faced off against independent Frank Esposito and the ultimate winner, Gov. Christie's running mate and now lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno. The debate was at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. (AP Photo / Asbury Park Press, Thomas P. Costello)

SAYREVILLE - The gov teed off on Christie Nemesis/Democratic Senator Loretta Weinberg today at a town hall meeting, referencing two points in my story today (here) about a bill Weinberg introduced to force notification when Christie leaves the state.

Weinberg wants to know where and when Christie is leaving Jersey because it was recently revealed that he went to a secret meeting of deep-pocketed conservatives without putting the trip on his public schedule. Christie is taking a lot of political trips these days as the vice-chair of the Republican Governors Association and the Dream Presidential Candidate No. 1 for mainstream Republicans.

Democrats want to know who the gov is meeting with and whether that's influencing public policy. (And they want location specifics to better hammer him in press releases for being out-of-town and out-of-touch.)

POSTED: Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 6:10 PM
Gov. Christie last week at Sharp Elementary School in Cherry Hill. (Tom Gralish/Philadelphia Inquirer)

Gov. Christie just won $1.5 million!

Sort of. A new group called Committee For Our Children's Future popped up today, pledging a $1.5 million TV ad campaign to support the gov's policies (see ad below) and posting a slick new web site.

Christie's pals from the University of Delaware are running the organization. Bob Teeven, who sits with the governor for Delaware Blue Hens football games, is the treasurer, and Lynn Grone, who served with Christie in the University of Delaware's student government, is the secretary.

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