New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is conspicuously absent from this year's Faith & Freedom Coalition "Road to Majority" Conference in Washington, where conservatives have gathered to hear from most of the Republican Party's potential 2016 presidential contenders.
But according to The Washington Post,
Christie apparently opted for a less conservative crowd Friday in Chicago, where he's attending the Clinton Global Initiative, a decision the Post said "could sting him down the road" with political right Republicans, who are already upset with the close relationship he's established with President Barack Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
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Now, as he takes the stage with former President Bill Clinton in Chicago for what's billed as a "Conversation on Leadership," some in the party are wondering if Christie really understands what it takes to win the Republican presidential nomination. He can't do it by wooing Democratic voters.
"On many issues, Gov. Christie is a solid conservative, but burnishing Democrat credentials may be problematic in a GOP primary if he decides to run for president," Greg Mueller, a conservative GOP strategist, told the Post.
Christie was invited to attend the Faith & Freedom Coalition gathering, the Post noted. But opting for an appearance with Clinton in Chicago instead could help seal his re-election this November in New Jersey. And if he's not re-elected, there probably won't be a Christie candidacy for Republicans, regardless of where they are on the political spectrum, to look forward to in 2016.
Republican strategist Ed Rogers told the Post that Christie's attendance at Clinton's conference will probably have little impact on how Republicans feel about him in a presidential race four years from now. But he said it was important for the governor "to tamp down his re-election as tightly as possible."
"Nothing about attending the [Faith & Freedom Coalition conference] contributes to that," Rogers told the newspaper. "Attending the Clinton conference probably does."
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