Harmony in Camden

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Senate President Stephen Sweeney (left), Cooper chairman George E. Norcross III (center), and Gov. Christie at the groundbreaking for the cancer center. Mayor Dana L. Redd, also on hand, said she would continue working for her city. “I believe it’s Camden’s time,” she said. CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer

Inside the big tent at Tuesday’s classy groundbreaking for the Cooper Cancer Center, Vivaldi’s “Spring” blossomed, courtesy of a young string quartet.

From the rain outside came a dissonant chorus of “no justice, no peace” and other selections by a stentorian trio of protesters.

But on the stage, bipartisan harmony reigned as Republican Gov. Chris Christie, state Senate President Steve Sweeney, Cooper Board of Trustees Chairman George E. Norcross 3d and other top Democrats collaboratively composed a symphony of, well, love.

“Governor Christie has shown a determination and a will to make things happen,” said Norcross, one of the investors who recently purchased the company that owns this website, as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News. “This governor (is) someone I am proud to call our friend.”

Christie was equally gracious. He quipped about getting Norcross a job title, offered a respectful shout-out to Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd, and also tipped his hat to former Gov. James McGreevey, who was in the audience.

McGreevey – who has generally kept a low profile since simultaneously coming out and resigning in 2004 – was also saluted by Norcross and Sweeney , both of whom credited his early support for the $100 million project.

“Without you,” Norcross said, “this cancer center would not be rising.”

Indeed, so abundant was the warmheartedness that perhaps only an appearance by vintage U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg -- a man thoroughly and equally un-loved by both Christie and Norcross – could have interrupted the flow.

But Lautenberg was, wisely, elsewhere. And by the time the men and women on the stage posed with those inevitable commemorative shovels, the rain had stopped, too.

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