Chris Christie isn't running for president, yet. But when he inevitably does, it's a fair bet his pitch to the nation will look something like the first ad for his re-election campaign in New Jersey. The 30-second spot hits all the sweet spots for a moderate audience — emphasizing Christie's bipartisan outreach, and his record on fiscal responsibility, job creation, and education.
The first Chris Christie ad of his re-election campaign. And a thematic rollout of what 2016 might look like. http://t.co/0zoyELmqvQ
— The Fix (@TheFix) September 12, 2013
Christie's trying to score an impressive re-election victory with the support of not only Republicans but also Democratic and independent voters. His 2013 re-election bid is also increasingly seen as a testing ground or launching pad for a possible 2016 bid for the White House. [CNN]
The governor's re-election campaign has spent $1.5 million to air the ad in local markets, but Christie undoubtedly has one eye on a national audience as well. The gauzy, sepia-tinted feel of the ad attempts to soften Christie's reputation as a tough-talking, sometimes abrasive pugilist, and plays up his role as a bipartisan leader — not just any old governor, but "The Governor." Christie never even mentions his Democratic opponent Barbara Buono, notes Matt Katz at the Philadelphia Inquirer, but focuses on positioning himself as "the bipartisan Mr Fix-It" of New Jersey.
The Garden State's political make-up is something of a mirror for the United States as a whole, with Democratic-leaning urban areas and rural counties heavily in support of Republicans. And Christie takes credit for bridging that divide, in his home state at least. "They said it couldn't be done," intones the ad's narrator. "New Jersey was too broken, too partisan. But they never met Chris Christie." Viewers may immediately think of another broken, partisan institution in need of firm leadership — the United States Congress.
The governor's campaign seems determined not to offend either constituency, however; nowhere is mentioned the fights with teachers unions that have alienated Democrats, nor the post-Sandy photo op with President Obama that so infuriated Republicans days before the 2012 presidential election. National Review's Washington editor Robert Costa also notes another unmentionable that could spell trouble for him in a Republican primary:
What's featured in Christie ad: Mary Pat, AfAm ldrs, suburban homes, education/kids, NJ boardwalk, hugs; not feat: "Republican"
— Robert Costa (@robertcostaNRO) September 12, 2013