caption="Former New Jersey governor Tom Kean accused Corzine of sullying the race with character attacks."]
(CNN) - Republican Chris Christie enlisted popular former New Jersey governor Tom Kean on Tuesday to help shift the dialogue of the race back to the subject Jon Corzine's record as governor and away from questions about Christie's private behavior.
Kean, honorary chairman of the Christie campaign, accused Corzine of sullying the race by launching a salvo of character attacks against the Republican candidate, who still leads in the polls.
"The public doesn't like it, I don't like it," Kean said on a conference call with reporters. "The poll numbers haven't moved."
He may be right: According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday, of the people who have seen Corzine ads criticizing Christie for giving contracts to people with ties to former President George W. Bush, 56 percent say the ads are an unfair attack, while 36 percent say they are a legitimate campaign issue.
Corzine's campaign launched a new ad Tuesday charging that Christie has "one set of rules for himself, another for everyone else."
Christie, a former U.S. attorney, is facing questions about an undisclosed $46,000 loan to a former aide, and revelations about a spotty driving history.
Last week, a Corzine spokeswoman called Christie "a complete menace to society on the highways of New Jersey" after the state's Motor Vehicle Commission released documents revealing he had racked up 13 moving violations over the last two and a half decades.
Kean dismissed the traffic tickets as an issue, saying that "both candidates have speeded from time to time, that's something both of them regret."
Christie earned seven speeding tickets and six more for traffic accidents going back to 1985. Corzine only received three going back to 1992, two for speeding and a third ticket for failing to wear a seat belt in the car accident that nearly killed him in 2007.
Kean said "voters are not going to be served well" by a campaign featuring "millions on negative advertising." Although Kean said he didn't believe the Christie campaign had been negative so far, he left the door open for Christie to retaliate against Corzine as needed.
Still, Kean - who served as governor from 1982 to 1990 and later co-chaired the 9/11 Commission - set a high bar for the remainder of the campaign.
"I don't think I ever ran a negative ad when I was running for office," he said.