Christie scrutinized for cameo in NJ tourism ad
May 20th, 2013
09:29 AM ET
1 year 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. Jeff Miller

    He's in the ad for maybe 5 seconds. His whole family appears before he does and they are the "first family" of NJ! I'm a lifelong, wouldn't vote Christie for President but wouldn't mind him as Governor here in CT. It isn't partisan politics for the Governor to spearhead a tourism campaign and he is legitimately "Jersey Strong"!

    May 20, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. glorydays

    He's too smart to be a republican.

    May 20, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    I understand that the media wants me to get all giddy over the prospect of a Mr. Chris Christie presidential run ... but you know, I'm kind of not caring what this man does anymore. Certainly not enough to debate his ... well ... egocentric personality.

    May 20, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. Fish

    Gov. Christie has a proven record of promoting his state regardless of politics anyone who doubts this has only to ask the man. Some things are simply fiction in this world and Gov. Christie taking advantage of New Jersey is the greatest work of fiction since Moby Dick!!!

    May 20, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. judith

    Of course Christie is a shameless opportunist. He also is far too moderate to be the GOP candidate for President. So, in truth, he's totally irrelevant.

    May 20, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. John

    Although I think Christie would make a terrible president I have no problem with the Governor appearing in a TV ad to bring tourism back to his state after a hurricane. These pre-emptive strikes against politicians before they even say they are running disgust me on both sides of the isle. Trying to attack Mrs. Clinton over Benghazi is the same thing. It's just trying to sully the name of someone you see as a future opponent because we all know these same people would not have batted an eye if the whole thing happened under Condoleezza Rice.

    May 20, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. J in NJ

    @The Truth citizens united is a plus for democracy! Corporations are nothing more than a collection of individuals and therefore have no more or no less rights than those of an individual. There are no “rights” of special groups, there are no “rights of farmers, of workers, of businessmen, of employees, of employers, of the old, of the young, of the unborn.” There are only the Rights of Man—rights possessed by every individual man and by all men as individuals. Therefore corporations have only those rights posessed by each individual and nothing more.

    May 20, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  8. birdyboy

    Chris Christie rails against "Socialist $$$" until, he get's hit by "Super Storm Sandy" ,then cries to Congress for "Socialist $$$" and now he uses "Socialist $$$" in his re-election bid. I hope he has TWO cheeseburgers today. One for each face he has.

    May 20, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. I'm a DEM,, buuuuuut

    I do like Christie. In fact I've love to see Christie and Hillary run on an independent ticket.

    They'd destroy the competition.

    May 20, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. I'm a DEM,, well.

    I do like Christie. In fact I've love to see Christie and Hillary run on an independent ticket.

    They'd de-–stroy the competition.

    May 20, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. Junior

    Much ado about nothing. I'm a Democrat and I have no problem with him. If the Dems. can't put someone decent on the ticket for 2016 then I'm fighting for Gov. Christie. I would much rather see him in the White House than one of the tea-baggers.

    May 20, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. skione13

    He hasn't announce his candidacy, there is absolutely nothing inappropriate for the governor of a state to appear in an ad for the state he governs to promote tourism. This is going to far. I happen to be a democrat and a NJ resident.

    May 20, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Evelyn

    as a lifelong Democrat I would vote for Governor Christie for Pres. in a second .Brass as he may be ,He beats what we have in the White House now.We need someone to tell it like it is. Not the BS coming from, Washington now.

    May 20, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Cassie

    Despite Christie being a republican I really like him, I see no problem with him being in the ad. Will he run or won't he? Who cares, the ad is to bring people in to the state now and that means he is just doing his job, right now.

    Should all politicians refrain from doing anything that boosts their state's image and their own, on the off chance they might run for higher office? Heck no that would be stupid because it is their job to help improve things for the people that voted for them (and those that didn't)

    May 20, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. tet1953

    Baloney. He is doing his job.

    May 20, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Skyblue45

    I think Gov. Christie would be a great candidate for president. I do see his weight becoming an issue so I hope he can lose some before he is real serious about his future. I do not think Hillary. Clinton will run for the presidency. She wore herself out as Secretary of State–I think she can do very well working for the Clinton Global Initiative and writing books on her experiences.

    May 20, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. timverba

    I do not see a real issue with Governor Christie appearing in tourism ads, unless the content of the video is objectionably political. I remember the old Tom Kean "New Jersey and You – Perfect Together" ads, that were presented with Governor Kean reciting the slogan in that Elmer Fudd southern Jersey patrician drawl. You had to ask yourself who is this funny sounding governor of New Jersey, but then you said let's take a trip. I also recall the McGreevey ads of he and his new family strolling down the shore. He may have also used the Perfect Togther slogan, but his spots were not as effective with me. I do not remember the spots for Governors Florio, Whitman and Corzine.

    May 20, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Barry Obama, NJ, US

    all governors star in tourism ads. Kean did it from what I recall, probably Florio did it, McGreevey...not Corzine though probably – guy had the charisma of a wet mop

    May 20, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    This video is not about tourism, as much as it is about Christie's accomplishments in the Sandy Recovery.

    For those who say that there is nothing wrong with the governer blowing his own horn have missed the point. That's exactly what makes it a political ad, which Christie should be paying for out of his own campaign, not federal tax dollars.

    May 20, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. Woody-Wood-Pecker

    As usual the GOP turns on anyone who has something positive to say about or in reference to President Obama. smdh

    May 20, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. Moonraker

    I'm a Democrat but this is just stupid. First of all, Christie could never be the GOP nomination because he's too liberal and (perceived as unhealthy) and second of all, he's clearly just having a little fun with his cameo. Everyone is always so conspiratorial all the time, lighten up, people.

    May 20, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Barry Obama, NJ, US

    Rudy NYC, it is only sensible to use the recovery funds on a tourism marketing campaign. it is such BS, such a red herring, for people to suggest that this is a misallocation of federal dollars. to the contrary, it may be THE most effective use of federal dollars in disaster recovery. what is more important than drawing attention to an enormous economic base in the state – tourism! that helps get business back in order which helps stabilize the state coffers. after all, except for shamelss Southern and Midwestern congressmen who wanted to buck history, this is what we do in America when there is a natural disaster – we have a federal response.

    May 20, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. The REAL Truth...

    @J in NJ – Corporations are nothing more than a collection of individuals and therefore have no more or no less rights than those of an individual.
    ------------------------------
    Can't tell if this was a sarcastic comment or actual. If actual, then you are completely wrong. Legally, corporations are NOT collections of individuals as no one person represents them, nor is liable for any judgment(s) or litigation against them. They are an entity, not a person. Citizens United was the absolute worst decision the SCOTUS has ever made.

    May 20, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. Surya

    I hate Christe. All programs are cut under him and Turn Pike tolls went up 50%. Life is miserable in NJ the most taxed state in the world. We don't needs Ad's now. We need help with Tolls/Tax cuts and Home owner tax rebate which was abolished. His calls to leave the Shore repeatedly on the day of Sandy was more depressing than the storm itself. It took 7 days for us to get Power. That to me is a 3rd world country not a developed one. Wake up.

    May 20, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. Emmanuel Goldstein

    As a liberal democrat, I think this 'issue' is what is wrong with our country. Both parties going back and forth trying to find scandal where none exists. It is just pathetic.

    May 20, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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