New Jersey’s tough-talking Republican governor spent much of this year acting as a surrogate for Mitt Romney on the campaign trail, with mixed results. His keynote speech at the Republican National Convention was panned by pundits and even some fellow Republicans. But Chris Christie’s influence may have peaked this year when he put politics aside. Days after his state had been devastated by Hurricane Sandy, Christie, 50, appeared on Fox News to discuss the cleanup efforts. Asked whether he would tour the wreckage with Romney, the governor responded with his typical Jersey gruffness: “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested.” He continued, “I’ve got a job to do … If you think right now that I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.” In fact, it was Obama, not Romney, with whom Christie wound up touring the damage area — and whom Christie lavished with nonpartisan praise for his crisis response. Some conservatives were furious and wondered if Christie might have helped to tilt the election in Obama’s favor — a potential problem if Christie seeks his party’s nomination in 2016. But first he needs to be re-elected in New Jersey next year. And his bipartisan bromance in a state that Obama carried easily may turn out to have been a clever political move.
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