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Victory lap? Christie to be sworn in

Gov. Chris Christie will be sworn in as governor of New Jersey on Tuesday, just as the scandal-driven media storm—and a snowstorm—bury the state.
/ Source: MSNBC TV

Gov. Chris Christie will be sworn in as governor of New Jersey on Tuesday, just as the scandal-driven media storm—and a snowstorm—bury the state.

Gov. Chris Christie will be sworn in as governor of New Jersey on Tuesday, just as the scandal-driven media storm—and a snowstorm—bury the state.

The Republican governor’s first term saw him transformed from young, tough-on-corruption prosecutor into a nationally regarded leader with 2016 potential. He led a hands-on recovery after Hurricane Sandy,  and his approval ratings sky rocketed. Pollsters and pundits alike tossed his name around for 2016, pairing him against Hillary Clinton. November brought along his reelection and he won handily, earning the votes of 60% of New Jersey.

His second inauguration should have been a victory lap, the red-letter event for a governor many think has 2016 aspirations.

But then the scandals hit: news broke that top aides in his office and appointees at the Port Authority had orchestrated a massive traffic jam as political revenge; federal and state authorities launched inquiries and investigations. The federal agency that sent millions in aid money to the state announced an audit. The Mayor of Hoboken went on national television and accused the governor’s office of tying that city’s Sandy relief funds to the mayor’s support of a development project the governor favored.  The U.S. attorney in Newark—the very office Christie made a name for himself running—expanded their inquiry into that claim, too. It’s an allegation that could mar one of Christie’s most famous acheivements. 

In the words of the governor’s favorite rocker, Bruce Springsteen: “Glory days, well, they’ll pass you by.”

The governor will attempt to turn this limelight into a spotlight today, to harken back to days when he was the straight-talking, Republican du jour who famously said, “compromise isn’t a dirty word.”

“The people of this state know that the only way forward is if we are all willing to take on what is politically unpopular. If we are all willing to share in the sacrifice. If we are all willing to be in this together,” he will say this afternoon, according to excerpted remarks released by the governor’s office.

Christie’s address will aim to re-up his credibility as a leader in the age of partisan gridlock.

“We have to be willing to play outside the red and blue boxes the media and pundits put us in; we have to be willing to reach out to others who look or speak differently than us; we have to be willing to personally reach out a helping hand to a neighbor,” he plans to say. “New Jersey came together as one community when it mattered most and now we must stay together - people of every background and belief - the government and our people - to help our fellow citizens reach their dreams.”

Tuesday’s ceremonies will begin with an invitation-only church service in Newark, a noon speech and a swearing in in Trenton along with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno—who just yesterday spoke to strongly deny allegations she’d personally put conditions on Hoboken’s Sandy relief funds. At night, an Inaugural Gala is planned on Ellis Island.

It’s unclear if the impending snowstorm—which could bury parts New Jersey in up to a foot of snow—will affect the planned schedule.