The Dallas Cowboys won, but it was Gov. Chris Christie’s hug that captured headlines.
The New Jersey Republican, who many expect to seek the 2016 Republican nomination, gave an awkward, hopping hug to Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones, when the Texas football team made a comeback and won a wildcard game Sunday night.
Christie, watching the game from Jones’ suite, attempted a high five, but when Jones and another attendee embraced, the governor jumped right in for a three-way hug. Caught on camera, the jumping-for-joy trio has prompted commentary on all sides.
ESPN “SportsCenter” co-host Trey Wingo tweeted that voters in the defeated team – the Detroit Lions – might hold the hug against Christie if he runs in 2016.
Others went even further.
The last time one of Christie’s hugs made this much news was in October 2012, when he famously embraced President Barack Obama as the pair surveyed devastated New Jersey coastline in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The hug, just weeks before the president’s reelection, was credited with giving a boost to Obama to prevail over Republican Mitt Romney.
Christie’s brother, Todd Christie, however, responded on Facebook Sunday to his brother’s latest critics “who have their panties in a ringer.”
“GET A LIFE !!!” Todd Christie wrote on Facebook. “The Gov has been a Cowboys fan for his entire life and ALL of you would sit with the owner of your favorite team in a heartbeat if given the chance.”
“Eagles fans—possibly you should worry more about the fact that your sorry a** team has never won a Super Bowl and less about who’s rooting for which team. I mean crazy pathetic posts,” he continued. “And for every calorically challenged FB person who posts about the Gov’s weight–forget the magic mirror and look at yourself. Weight posts—really?”
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Christie spent much of 2014 traveling the country and campaigning for other Republicans as the chair of the Republican Governors Association, a position that could help Christie lay the groundwork for a White House bid. Christie was an early favorite to seek higher office after Romney lost in 2012, but after news broke that top aides in the governor’s office created a politically motivated traffic jam – and the subsequent investigations that resulted – left Christie politically weakened.
Still, recent polls have shown the governor’s numbers improving; in late December, Christie ranked second in a CNN/ORC International poll among Republican candidates for president.