Meet the Press   |  January 19, 2014

Christie Embarks on Florida Fundraiser Fling

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reports from Palm Beach, Fla., where N.J. Gov. Chris Christie is currently campaigning for Florida Gov. Rick Scott and rubbing elbows with major donors.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> let me continue with this idea of the political prospects, the bridge scandal has scram bed christie 's 2016 prospects at some point in this period of kind of the invisible praernlts. "the new york times" quotes top republican donors saying christie has to be careful who he surrounds himself with as advisers. an early test is coming over the course of this weekend with a fund-raising swing through florida . kelly o'donnell has been tracking it christie 'su moves in palm beaching

>> good morning, david. christie 's halfway through a busy schedule of events here in florida and meeting with that important group within the republican party , the donors. i'm told some donors did not want him to come. other insiders say he was received very well by hundreds in attendance and he's here to help florida governor rick scott , his friend and his party. despite troubles at home, christie takes hold of his national place in politics this weekend. mixing with big donors at private fund-raisers for florida governor rick scott . but no plans for christie and scott to appear together publicly. christie has kept his fund-raising schedule including a thursday night event for a new jersey senate candidate.

>> the florida events were scheduled a long time ago and to duck out of them now would only invite controversy and criticism. he's doing the right thing by going down and doing these.

>> reporter: but it's tricky trying to balance business with on going damage control over the scandal.

>> if i were him i would hold back on the donor politics for a little while because he's going fuel the fire about his political ambitions.

>> this florida trip is a test of christie 's star status, becoming chair of the republican governor's association just eight weeks ago.

>> are you getting encouragement?

>> oh, everybody's excited that you know, i'm going to take over the chairmanship and i'm getting great response from donors and from my fellow governors.

>> the rga hopes to raise as much as $100 million this year with christie at the helm. and has more than $45 million in the bank.

>> my focus is going to be raising the funds that are necessary to be able to get the stories of these governors out.

>> democrats say christie is now damaged.

>> the pattern is continuing to develop. i think it's going to start to spiral out of control for chris christie because this is a clear case of where there's smoke, there's even more fire.

>> reporter: for now, fellow republican governors are standing behind christie .

>> i think the bottom line is he stepped up. i think any of us as governors, democrat or republican alike, if there's a challenge in your administration, you step up, acknowledge it, deal with it.

>> and surveys including our own nbc/maris poll suggests he may have weathered the storm short term.

>> what he needs to do is what he did at the state of the state speech, get back to being governor and back to issues people care about. i would stay out of politics for a while while this kind of cools off.

>> reporter: a somewhat different test today. an event to attract new donors new contributors to the party held at the home of billionaire home depot home founder ken langon. christie is scheduled to go to texas and illinois next month.

>> the kelly o'donnell in sunny florida this morning. appreciate it.