Chris Christie released the first ad of his re-election campaign for New Jersey governor Wednesday in a spot that tries to set him apart from many of his fellow Republicans who reside in Washington.
In the 60-second ad, called “Jersey Proud,” a narrator touts Christie’s willingness to work with Democrats and Republicans, while “believing that as long as you stick to your principals, compromise isn’t a dirty word.” Those words are strikingly similar to those used by President Obama in an interview with the AP that came mere days before Hurricane Sandy struck the Jersey coastline.
The ad ends with photos of Christie consoling Hurricane Sandy victims and saying that the most important thing he has done in his first term “has little to do with numbers, statistics, or even politics: he made us proud to say we’re from New Jersey.”
Watch the ad.
The tone is a far cry from Republican leaders in Washington who have openly rejected compromise in recent years.
In a 2010 interview with 60 Minutes a few months before becoming House Speaker, John Boehner practically refused to say the word. He insisted at that time that he would not compromise either his principles or “the will of the American people” and adding, ”When you say the word ‘compromise,’ a lot of Americans look up and go, ‘Uh-oh, they’re gonna sell me out.’ And so finding common ground, I think, makes more sense.”
What came next? One of the least productive Congresses in American history.
The 113th Congress has not been much more inclined to compromise. A small group of Senate Republicans recently managed to block a broad gun control package with the threat of filibuster.
Christie has taken heat from some on the right for openly reaching across the aisle to work with President Obama to help rebuild the Jersey shore in the wake of Hurricane, and ruffling feathers again this week by lavishing praise on the president for keeping his promises to New Jersey.
Christie has received high approval ratings of 65% or more in most recent polls of New Jersey voters. A Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released last month found that number comes primarily from his handling of the Sandy recovery efforts. Only 42% approved of his handling of the economy.
This ad may play well in blue-leaning New Jersey, but for a man widely considered to have 2016 aspirations, the big question for his team is whether Republican primary voters in more conservative states will agree with the idea that compromise isn’t a dirty word.
Christie is expected to face off against State Senator Barbara Buono, the presumptive Democratic nominee, this November.