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#MarkRiley blog: Barack & Chris: The New Odd Couple

by Mark Riley posted May 29 2013 10:57AM

I'm not exactly sure how to feel about the bromance between President Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.Their seeming friendship, borne in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, now seems to have blossomed. For Barack Obama, the risk is non existent this time around, as the pair toured one of my favorite places, the Jersey Shore (the place, not the TV show). No longer is he seeking a second term to the office he now holds. Next stop for him is pretty much anywhere he wants.

Christie is a different story. In his home state of New Jersey, his friendship with the president comes across as strikingly non partisan, which in a blue state is a good thing. He's managed to defang his Democratic critics, while virtually assuring his re-election this November. I can imagine how his presumptive opponent, Barbara Buono felt seeing the pair acting like old buds. No matter she later had a private meeting with President Obama. It was the public one that counted, and that wasn't with her.

All this is complicated by the fact that Christie wants to be Barack Obama's successor. As well as yesterday's photo ops played in the Garden State, one wonders how it augurs for 2016. It's an old political axiom that primaries bring out the true believers of both parties. If that's the case, Christie has some work (and some explaining) to do. 

In case it's escaped your attention, dear reader, politics has gotten more partisan. There are a substantial number of House Republicans who wouldn't share a half smoke with this president, much less tour their constituency with him. Many of these people have outsized clout in their state parties. These are the very people Chris Christie will have to move if he has any hope of winning the Republican presidential nomination.

Or maybe Christie really doesn't care about being president. Maybe Jersey is good enough for him, so much so that he could care less what his own party's leadership thinks about his cavorting with the enemy. Don't bet the store on that. He's also got a few problems on the home front. A stubbornly high unemployment rate, and a budget based on overly optimistic revenue projections may even give some of his Democratic friends in Jersey pause.

I doubt it, though. Like it not, Chris Christie has honed his "Jersey Guy" thing quite well. Part of it is to make nice when it suits his purpose, which many can tell you isn't all that often.

Yesterday, at the shore, with Barack Obama, was one of those times.

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Topics : Politics
Location : NewNew Jersey
05/29/2013 10:57AM
Barack and Chris: The New Odd Couple
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