Chris Christie really wants voters to know that he's willing to work across party lines. But there's a problem: his party, the GOP, had a bit of a tussle with national approval ratings this month after the conservative wing of the party led everyone into a government shutdown. Christie, as a Republican, could be worried that the tanking public perception of his party might not recover quickly enough, even though the New Jersey governor had nothing to do with the shutdown itself. Granted, Christie doesn't have much time before his next political test: New Jersey's gubernatorial election is in just weeks. Enter Cory Booker, the Democratic Newark mayor elected to the Senate on Wednesday, to save the day:
As a perceived centrist, Christie became the dream candidate that never was for the 2012 presidential elections, which instead resulted with Mitt Romney, running to the right of his normal stance, losing to President Obama. The approval ratings hit for the Republican Party already has some pundits looking once again to Christie, who is kind of teasing a 2016 run even as he campaigns for 2013. And, well, he's given out a lot of material to work with.
When Christie was asked about a recent visit with Republican senators, the governor said his message to the bunch was something along the lines of "get the government reopened, stop monkeying around, and get back to work. I said, I'm out there in the field, people have no patience for this stuff. None." That's a good quote. There are more. Here's what else Christie had to say about the shutdown:
"Everybody is at fault here ... They all saw this coming, and they all played chicken with each other and now the country is fed up and rightfully so."
"The president saw this train coming for a long time. All of a sudden [Friday's] the first day he has anyone over to the White House? Same thing with the Speaker, same thing with the majority. They saw this train coming for a long time and did nothing to stop it."
Christie is currently leading in the polls going into his re-election. The governor is pretty good at winning over Democrats. That's in part because his record contains some deviations from the party line, including eventually accepting a medical marijuana proposal and recently flipping his stance and supporting in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants in the state. He's also good at picking fights with Rand Paul, another theoretical candidate in the 2016 campaign. In other areas, however, Christie has a more conservative record in office.