Chris Christie, Ex-Gov. Kean Make Up

Image: Chris Christie, Ex-Gov. Kean Make Up Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, left, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. (Ann Heisenfelt/Stringer/Getty Images; Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 07:04 AM

By Elliot Jager

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his mentor, former Gov. Tom Kean, have repaired their relationship, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"We are fine now, but we should have had a talk earlier," Kean told the Journal, referring to a reconciliation breakfast organized by a Christie aide.

The governor, who has known Kean since he was a teenager, was involved in trying to oust Kean's son as state Senate minority leader shortly after he was re-elected in 2013. That led to a period of estrangement that has now been repaired.

Christie met Kean, who served as governor from 1982 to 1990, when they both lived in Livingston, the Journal said. Christie volunteered for Kean's campaigns. In 2009, Kean supported Christie for governor and recommended that in Democratic areas he emphasize education in his campaign. Once Christie was elected, Kean counseled him to cooperate with the Democratic leadership in the state Senate.

As Christie grew more comfortable in power, contact between the men diminished.

Kean says that Christie reminds him of both Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson and that his former apprentice has a real chance at making it to the White House, the Journal reported.

The two men had been friends though their personalities and positions do not mesh. Christie is considered impetuous, opposes abortion, and is not a supporter of environmental regulations.

Kean is an old school East Coast Republican – conservationist, courteous, and a backer of abortion rights. The party has moved in a more conservative direction though at age 79, Kean still has influence in the New York-New Jersey area, especially in fundraising circles, the Journal reported.

The elder statesman attended a Monday gathering of Christie supporters and will be available to provide advice as the governor tries to decide whether to run for president in 2016.

"He has a lot of standing in this region," Julian Zelizer, a Princeton University professor, told the Journal. "If he's sending signals of not being sure, it's going to be harder [for Christie] to raise money in New York and New Jersey, an area where he needs a lot of support."

Kean, who also admires former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said he would not endorse anyone until he knew for sure the line-up of candidates.

"You can't count [Christie] out in any way," Kean said. "We've had our differences but he's a friend. I wish him well." the Journal reported.

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