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. Hoboken guy

    As the leader of our state, as the governor who did a great job during and after Sandy, and as someone who recognizes that tourism is the state's #2 industry, what is wrong with this? Gov Kean used to do a ton of commercials for NJ tourism. It's for the benefit of everyone here in NJ. I didn't even vote for the guy!

    May 20, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. Hans Weissgerber III

    Great Job Governor! Anyone who cries foul on this is truly a petty partisan loser. Best Wishes to the State of New Jersey, I hope you have a successful Summer Tourism Season.

    May 20, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Brian

    Tourism is economic development and job creation. Governors and political leaders on both sides should be highly involved in tourism promotion. I work in the hospitality industry and can only imagine how many people have lost jobs and how many communities are suffering due to lost visitation.

    May 20, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. Jersey girl and Dem

    Who better to encourage tourism for the Jersey Shore than the Govenor of the state? Christie grew up in Jersey and spent his summers down the shore (that's right, "down the shore"! In Jersey, we don't go to the beach or spend time at the beach – we "head down the shore"). I'm a fairly liberal Dem who sees nothing wrong with this ad.

    May 20, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. Ahhh Sheit Midrauers

    So what! He is trying to make money for the State, which he can use some to pay back the Feds

    May 20, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Joe

    New Jersey is lucky to have him!!!!!!! Please no more pic's with OBAMY

    May 20, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Fed up

    OMG!! I am soooo tired of political jockeying for position!!! Can we just elect someone who wants to do what is beneficial for his state/our country? Get off of Chris Christie's back!! He is the only person out there who is not afraid to say what he thinks, stand up for what he believes AND do so in an articulate way. Is that too much? Apparetnly.

    May 20, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. Jeb2016- We owe the Bushes another shot at bringing the country down!

    If this ad is still running in September, I will have a problem with it. But it's far enough away from the election, the timing is right for boosting tourism at the Jersey shore, and yes, many governors are in the tourism ads for their state.

    Might have been a better ad if they did get Springsteen and Bon Jovi.

    May 20, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. Pam

    Why shouldn't the governor of a state appear in an ad promoting tourism? I'm a strong Democrat and, although I don't agree with Christie on some issues, he seems like a stand-up kind of guy and he loves his state. What's wrong with that? Unlike many right-wing Republicans, I can actually see the good in people I don't necessary agree with!

    May 20, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. Rembrant

    Promoting tourism is a huge part of a Governor's job. Stop the politics. Barbera Buono should recognize this and is wasting time and money criticizing her opponent for doing his job, which will be her job if she were Governor. Since she doesn't know what her job would be she already doesn't qualify to run as a candidate. NEXT.
    People over politics!

    May 20, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. Sally

    Being a Jersey Girl all my life I think Governor Christie is one of the best Governor's we have had in a very, very long time if not "the best". I see nothing wrong with him and his family filming a commercial to promote the Jersey Shore.

    May 20, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. wkscott

    I wouldn't vote for him, but this is a non-story. Christie says what he thinks and does what he believes is best for his state, no matter the political implications. He's willing to buck what's politically expedient to follow his own path. His job is to be governor, not to run for president. When he runs ads for 2016, they won't be tourism ads for NJ. He's a governor trying to drum up tourism in an area that took a hit from a hurricane, and it seems to be drawing in tourists. 2 WEEKS TO ATLANTIC CITY!

    May 20, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. Herbert Herbertson

    As a resident of NJ, and someone who did not even vote for him (although I will next time), I would ask that test these media clowns (especially those from Atlanta and wherever else), mind their own business. There is nothing out of the ordinary about a governor appearing in their own state's tourism adds. Pataki did it when I was in NY, and I know that Shumlin does it in Vermont. Stop fishing for any excuse to take shots at people.

    May 20, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. NameFrank Deery

    Oh, please! Christie,Ike many governors. Is
    trying to help his State! If he were a liberal, I this would not be a story. Where were the
    Obama clan after Nov 6??? Fundraising(him)
    channeling Richard Simmons on cable(first Lady$). Sad!

    Laura Bush braved Kabul
    for women's rights. I do not recall Media-Michele ever in Jersey, hit hard by Sandy!

    May 20, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. what

    seriously?? $25 million??? GUESS HOW MANY FAMILIES COULD BENEFIT FROM THAT MONEY! 10,000 families if each received $2500 assistance. yep! 10,000 families!

    May 20, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. T Diemer

    Cjristie is the GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY for heaven's sake – the head of the state – it is only natural that he be in a tourist promotion for his state!!!!!!!!!!

    May 20, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. plain&simple

    The best thing Christie has going for him is he's got enough independent and democrat support ,to tell the tepubs to go jump off a bridge!!! I'm a democrat and I would love to see Christie run for president. You may not always agree with the man,but he says what he believes and doesn't put his foot in his mouth.

    May 20, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. trilly3807

    Glad to see most of the comments are supporting Christie. This is truly a non-issue. So who is it that is giving him "heat"? His opponent in the race? That is to be expected.

    May 20, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. 1twinsfan

    Seriously? I cannot stand the man but honestly, this is an ad for his state. He's correct to make an appearance in it. People would gripe if he were absent. Sheesh.

    May 20, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. Dave Taylor

    Oh good grief...he is the governor of the state, of course he should be in ads promoting tourism to NJ. Of all thing people can whine about and they choose this???

    May 20, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Wylie

    So how is this any different than President Obama flying on Air Force 1 during his campaign or to fundraisers for other Democrats?

    May 20, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. Texas

    $25 million Federal dollars for tourism ads? And Christie wonders why the Federal Government is broke?

    May 20, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. Duh

    They bash Christie even though he's a moderate conservative and the most likeable and electable person from both sides of the aisle. Our political system is in shambles now that's it's been taken over by fanatical conservatives and liberals. Where did all the moderates and compromises go?

    May 20, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. Chris

    Bring back John Corozine, LOL

    May 20, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. Duh

    They criticize Christie even though he's a moderate conservative and the most likeable and electable person from both sides of the aisle. Our political system is in shambles now that's it's been taken over by extremists from both sides. Where did all the moderates and compromises go?

    May 20, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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