As you may know, Chris Christie has reimbursed the state of New Jersey for helicopter flights he took this week to his son's baseball game and to a meeting with political fund-raisers. Tapped's Paul Waldman, citing this New York Times article, thinks Christie looks like a guy with a lot of GOP-base appeal, but not a lot of appeal to anyone else:
...You'd think that in a situation like this, contrition might be in order. Fuggedaboutit:
"I am not going to allow the media and the hacks in the Democratic Party to turn this into something that allows them to do what they always like to do, which is get away from serious issues where you have to make hard choices for things that matter, because they want to have a circus," he said during a visit here for a bill-signing.This is a man who understands his brand.... he knows that the reason Republicans love him and tout him as a national candidate is the pleasure he seems to take in getting into fights, berating people, and being a bully....
Of the Democrats and others who said his helicopter use might have been illegal, Mr. Christie said, "These guys are a joke." He added, "They know full well, full well, that it was none of that stuff at all."
He lashed out at ... Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, who had said that leaving his son’s game in the fifth inning on Tuesday to meet with the fund-raisers "says something about the governor's priorities."
"She should really be embarrassed at what a jerk she is," Mr. Christie said.
Yeah, but you should've heard the guy laying on the schmaltz, which is what I heard on public radio in New York this morning:
During a press conference Thursday, Christie said it's difficult to balance parenthood and his role of governor, but his kids will always come first.
"It's not a good enough excuse for me to just say, 'Well I was governor, you have to understand.' Cause I'll be governor for a lot less of a time then I'll be a father," he said.
I wish there were audio at the link, so you could hear the manly tear in his voice. There is some audio accompanying this local news story:
He unapologetically said he was balancing his role as a father and job as a governor when he used the helicopter to go to two of his son’s baseball games.
"Let's just end it. I'll write the check and end it," Christie told CBS 2's Christine Sloan. "I decided it was important for my son to be there and it was important as a father. So, I wanted to be there so I made the decision to take the trip."
...Christie Says He Wants The Public To Understand The Balancing Act His Life Has Become. 1010 WINS' Kathleen Maloney Reports...
Cue the violins.
So the guy delivers red meat for the base and sentiment for everyone else -- and elsewhere in the Times story quoted above, he delivers a fiscal analysis for that paper's presumed readership of brainiacs:
Mr. Christie's critics have accused him of hypocrisy for taking the flights while preaching austerity. But he has used State Police helicopters far less than his predecessors, including some who flew in them hundreds of times a year. On Thursday, his office released a log of the 33 times it said he had used the aircraft since taking office in January 2010, all but two for official business.
... The governor ... drew a contrast to his predecessor, Jon S. Corzine, saying that the alternative to helicopter use was to have the State Police speed him around as they did Mr. Corzine -- and risk the kind of near-fatal accident Mr. Corzine had.
The State Police have said that the helicopter trips cost the state no additional expense, because the aircraft are aloft daily, whether or not they are needed for emergencies, to give the pilots experience....
So this guy knows how to pitch different messages to different markets. Be afraid -- he really, really shouldn't be underestimated.