New Jersey governor Chris Christie's backers hope he'll be a different kind of Republican presidential candidate in 2016: a compassionate (sort of) beacon of bipartisanship (except when we're talking about Principles) who isn't afraid of a little straight-talk (shouting) or doing "anything" necessary to win. The first major act of this transformative candidate is to emulate George W. Bush's rise to power.
The Times reports that coasting to a victory over a weak Democratic gubernatorial candidate this fall is giving Chris Christie an excuse to travel the country and hit up the very same rich people who donates to Mitt Romney and George W. Bush: 35% of the $9 million Christie has raised for the race is from out-of-state donors.
“Under the guise of his re-election, he’s able to meet these folks and say, ‘I need your help,’ ” says Karl Rove, who is, yep, one of the people Christie is asking for help.
Senior Republicans who are familiar with Mr. Christie’s strategy say it is most closely modeled after Mr. Bush’s bid in 1998 for re-election as governor of Texas. The parallels are clear. Mr. Bush was considered a shoo-in for re-election to the governor’s office, but he and Mr. Rove became determined to win over Hispanic and black voters to demonstrate the governor’s broad appeal to a national audience. Mr. Bush won that race, with 68 percent of the vote, which included more than a third of the Hispanic vote, offering him a powerful credential when he ran for president two years later as “a different kind of Republican.”
“The unspoken element in the room is that this could potentially be a test of what works and what doesn’t” for a presidential contest, said a Republican with knowledge of the inner workings of the campaign who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid antagonizing Mr. Christie’s circle.
Chris Christie: A Different Different Kind of Republican. Sounds great.