Christie scrutinized for cameo in NJ tourism ad
May 20th, 2013
09:29 AM ET
11 months ago

Christie scrutinized for cameo in NJ tourism ad

(CNN) – New Jersey Democrat and gubernatorial hopeful Barbara Buono released a new web video Monday–but it's not the ad getting the most attention in the Garden State these days.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie is taking heat for his role in a new tourism ad for his state following the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy.

The television commercial, released last week, is part of a $25 million tourism campaign using federal funds to promote the Jersey Shore this summer.

So what's the problem?

Christie, who's running for re-election this year, makes a cameo in the 30-second spot, prompting some critics to say the potential 2016 presidential contender is using federal taxpayer dollars to boost his political image.

After Congress delayed sending tens of billions in relief aid to Northeastern states at the beginning of this year, Christie went on a blistering critique of Washington lawmakers during a now-famous press conference.

"We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans," he said, adding politics was trumping the needs of U.S. citizens. "For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch."

The Star-Ledger in New Jersey noted in a biting editorial Sunday that it's not the people who are most bouncing back from the story who get to star in the tourism ad–it's the state's governor, who already gets plenty of air time and positive ratings as the public face of state recovery efforts.

"(It's) not the small business owners working to get back on their feet. Not shore residents trying to rebuild, or their kids," the editorial stated. "Not even celebrities, as in the 'Fall in Love with Louisiana All Over Again ad campaign after Hurricane Katrina, which featured local stars who participated for free. Were Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi simply unavailable?"

Christie may face more questions Monday when he makes a media appearance on the Lavallette Boardwalk.

The governor and his family appear in the ad for about five seconds at the end, as they sit on the shore and declare the state is "stronger than the storm."

Christie has argued in defense that "there's nothing political about the ads" and his aides point out that the commercials won't even be running in New Jersey itself, according to the Star Ledger.

But the editorial asked that "given Christie's presidential ambitions, is it any surprise that he'd use federal relief dollars to splash his face all over TV in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Canada – in addition to ads in print, on the radio and Internet?"

Colin Reed, a spokesman for the governor, told CNN the move was a creative decision by the Stronger Than The Storm campaign to include Christie and his wife in the ad.

"They are in a uniquely qualified position to tell a very wide audience beyond New Jersey that our state and our Shore is open for business," he said.

Christie saw a surge in his poll numbers during the aftermath of the storm, a popularity that he's maintained in the last six months.

Recent surveys also indicate the governor has a strong advantage over his Democratic opponent in this year's gubernatorial race.

In Buono's new web ad, the state senator takes a light-hearted approach in telling voters how to say her often-mispronounced name. She has been vastly outspent by Christie in ads.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    So he'll take this money and make commercials he gets to appear in, but he wouldn't take the money to create thousands of jobs building a tunnel that would have made life easier and less expensive for millions of people? Lovely. Just lovely. I expect a new article on his weight loss by the end of the day to "balance" this article.

    May 20, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    He should not have been in these ad in any way shape or form unless all those running for governor and those in the legislature were shown. He clearly is having the government spend for him along with his own mudsligging ads. This seems cheap and dishonorable.

    May 20, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  3. much thunder..little rain

    please.. this is a no news story..next

    May 20, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. Data Driven

    "Were Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi simply unavailable?"

    Epic smack from the Star-Ledger, but I doubt this will catch fire. Of course, if Obama does something like this it's Scandal Week.

    May 20, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. Pete

    Christie doesn't look thinner to me..Hey where's the case of twinkies promised to be on hand for rehersals as requested by his talent manager,no Pepsi lite come on you have to have drinks like that for Christies conscience or he'd go into a deep depression and could gorge himself to death..Be careful now because a hungry fat man is one never to turn your back on because he sees a meal no matter where it comes from maybe even you!!

    May 20, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. PaulCat

    Oh no, tell me he didn't do that!

    May 20, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    The first time I saw the video, I thought that it was a campaign ad. Every time I see, I still think it's a campaign ad.

    May 20, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Come on, is anyone really surprised that Christie is making federal tax dollars allocated for something else work for him?
    The truth of the matter is that Christie would have to completely re-create himself, and purge himself of excessive weight and excessive gubernatorial high-handedness before he's ready for a serious run for the White House.
    He may be one of three GOP members that may be able to run the presidential race to the end, but it would be a losing end in his case.
    Bring on Collin Powell, or back-up Huntsman if you're serious about changing your image and gettign people to take you clowns seriously again.

    May 20, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    Christie has argued in defense that "there's nothing political about the ads" and his aides point out that the commercials won't even be running in New Jersey itself, according to the Star Ledger.
    ------------------------–
    That depends upon how you define "running in New Jersey itself". Note the keyword, ITSELF. While there are a few minor TV channels broadcasting from New Jersey, all of the state is covered by stations broadcasting from the NYC and Philadelphia areas. The claim may be accurate, but it is horrifically misleading.

    May 20, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. CosmicC

    I hate Christie's politics. I hate almost every stance he has taken, but I'm having trouble getting worked up over something that most NJ governors have done since Tom Kean. Christie has a national reputation for directness and honesty, whether deserved or not, it will draw tourists back to the Jersey shore. Let's sink him on his inhumane social, economic, or environmental policies, not this side show.

    May 20, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. Susan

    He's the governor who was made popular because of the storm. It would look silly if he WASN'T in them.

    May 20, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Boo

    This is not news. NY governors over the years have done the same thing...appeared in ads promoting NYS.

    May 20, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  13. Just Silly

    State travel campaigns always include the governor in them. Look at examples from other states like California. So, I guess the standard should be that the governor is supposed to appear in the campaign unless he is running for re-election or he may run for President in three years?

    May 20, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. ThisIsDUMB

    Who the hell cares. Obama spent over $150million in his second term presidential campaign. This is NOT news

    May 20, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. Logic

    I fail to see anything wrong with the governor stumping for tourists to come spend money in his state.

    May 20, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. Daddy_2010

    The governor of New Jersey promoting tourism to new Jersey??? The nerve!

    May 20, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. ThisIsDUMB

    Who cares?! Obama spent over $150million in his second-term presidential campaign. This is NOT news.
    The only people commenting negatively are the same partisan trolls who have nothing better to do with their time

    May 20, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  18. Mara Tam

    If he didn't appear – they'd complain that he wasn't supporting NJ tourism == can't win

    May 20, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  19. Jack

    Governors are always in these types of tourism commercials. I'll reference the "Visit California" adds that ran for years with celebrities like Rob Lowe in them. The "Governator" Arnold appeared in them, and this was when California couldn't even get thier budget under control. Who appropriates the funds for this type of thing anyway? If that money came in from the feds, someone in the state legislature would have had to apporve it for use for tourism adds. It was probably Barbara Buono or one of her buds, so that the Ledger could use something like this against Christie. Really, we are all from New Jersey and the state could really use the economic gains from a ressugence of tourism at the shore. Represent your state. #jerseystrong

    May 20, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  20. Hogarth

    The hypocrisy of any politician accusing another politician of taking advantage of free publicity is astonishing.

    May 20, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. Jen

    I like Christie and I think the commercial shows that he does care for the People of New Jersey....:)

    May 20, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. TL Jersey Girl

    I live about 40 minutes from the Jersey Shore and this add is running in New Jersey. I saw it about 3 times over the weekend so to say that it is not running in New Jersey is not the case.

    May 20, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  23. Donnie the Lion

    As a Democrat, IMO this should not be an issue. That area needs a boost this summer, why not include one of the most well-recognized people in NJ in an ad for it.

    May 20, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    What's the big deal? Let him prop for his 2016 Presidential run. Hillary is still going to win by a LANDSLIDE!

    May 20, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Jay from NJ

    Tourism is critical to the economy of the Jersey shore. Money spent on advertising is money well spent. The Governor is certainly not perfect, but overall most residents of NJ think he's doing a good job under very difficult circumstances. Who cares if he gets a few seconds in an a TV ad. This country would be doing a lot better if we have more strong, outspoken, independent thinking, leaders like Gov. Christie.

    May 20, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
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