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Posts tagged ‘Christie’

Christie’s Star Dims as Stories of Bullying, Double Dealing Emerge.

Image: Christie's Star Dims as Stories of Bullying, Double Dealing Emerge

By Sandy Fitzgerald

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is still a favorite in presidential polls, but the popular politician is already being singled out by Democrats and in the national media before he has announced his future intentions.

“It’s all a setup,” Michael Steele, who chaired the Republican National Committee in 2009, when Christie first ran for governor, told The Daily Beast. “It’s unbelievable. It says to me that there are interests in the media and in politics who don’t want the status quo to change, and who actually like this red/blue politics crisis-management model.”

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Just two months ago, Christie beat Democratic opponent Barbara Buono by a 21-point margin. Since then, polls have shown him in a virtual tied race with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the presidency, with a CNN survey showing him as being slightly ahead.

The media attacks did not come far behind his second-term win. Last week, a front page article in The New York Times painted Christie as a bully who uses his political power to get revenge against his enemies.

Among several complaints, The Times article included the “Bridgegate” scandal, which targets Christie as being behind closing access lanes from Fort Lee, N.J. on to the George Washington Bridge. The lanes were shut down for four days after the city’s Democratic mayor refused to back Christie’s re-election campaign, and two Port Authority officials have resigned their posts over the issue.

In addition, the book “Double Down” was released just before the November election, using details from former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s vice presidential vetting team. The book painted Christie as being a politician who did favors for his allies and lobbied for business interests of people like Bernie Madoff.

Christie loyalists say that the governor is used to media scrutiny. One aide said that he’s also not surprised when “media outlets and Democratic organizations make him a target.”

Steele said such negative coverage plays itself out in many ways, “sometimes aided by the main target, sometimes by subordinates or opposition camps. There’s a tendency to reach that turning point so that the knives come out and the new narrative begins.”

However, it’s not just the liberal media that has turned against Christie. Conservative commentator Glenn Beck recently blasted Christie during an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, calling the New Jersey Republican “a fat nightmare” and labeling him as a “progressive.”

Some of the scrutiny also started in November 2012, when Christie hugged President Barack Obama after Superstorm Sandy, which experts say will likely haunt him if he runs for the presidency.

But even with the negative coverage, Steele said, Christie “is the same guy today as he was when he sat in my office when I was national chairman during his first bid for the governorship of New Jersey . . . He’s still the same breath of fresh air, the same guy who can create a new narrative for the Republican Party and the country, which is longing and starving for it.”

Steele says Christie needs to be sure he doesn’t become his “own worst enemy” and fuel
new headlines.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Christie Has History of Bullying, Petty Attacks.

Image: Christie Has History of Bullying, Petty Attacks

By Drew MacKenzie and Greg Richter

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie often takes petty revenge against people who he believes have slighted him, enhancing his bullying image, The New York Times reports.

Christie has most recently angered many over George Washington Bridge lane closures in September. Two of his close allies ordered lanes closed for four days leaving Fort Lee and going into New York City, causing traffic snarls.

Editor’s Note: Obama’s Budget Takes Aim at Retired Americans 

Critics have charged the lane closures were retribution against Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie’s re-election. Christie has denied any such motive.

“Every organization takes its cues from the leadership as to what’s acceptable and what’s not, and this governor, in his public appearances, has made thuggery acceptable,” said Democratic Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is heading an investigation into the lane closings. “For the governor to say, ‘I knew nothing about this’? He created the atmosphere in which this is acceptable.”

Democrats and Republicans alike point to other instances where Christie’s foes have been dealt swift retaliation.

In 2011, Christie accused State Senator Richard J. Codey of being “combative and difficult” in blocking two nominees. Codey responded that he had not blocked the nominations at all, but had agreed to them and held a meeting to speed them up.

Shortly thereafter, Codey, a former governor, was informed he would no longer be granted the occasional state trooper for protection that had guarded him at public events. On the same day, his cousin was fired from his job with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as was a friend working in the state Office of Consumer Affairs.

“I understand politics, that a new administration comes in, Codey told The Times. “But this wasn’t about the usual ‘he brings his own people in.’ This was all about sending a message.”

The same year, Christie urged Rutgers political scientist Alan Rosenthal to side with Republicans on a redistricting map, as Rosenthal was the tie-breaking vote. Rosenthal voted with the Democrats, and Christie cut $169,000 for two programs at Rutgers.

In 2010, Republican state Senator Sean T. Kean criticized Christie for not being quick enough to call a state of emergency during a blizzard. Christie held a press conference in Kean’s district, sending word for him not to attend. During redistricting, Kean’s seat was eliminated.

Also in 2010, New Jersey state assemblyman John F. McKeon rebuked Christie during a radio interview for attacking public employee who had been some of the governor’s biggest supporters. Later he was sent a handwritten note from Christie, saying he didn’t appreciate the comments.

“I thought it was a joke,” McKeon said. “What governor would take the time to write a personal note over a relatively innocuous comment?”

Christie has denied taking retaliation against political foes, but he has made news and won some fans by taking on challengers rather than giving typical politician answers.

Christie, considered to be a 2016 presidential hopeful, is an early front-runner in opinion polls, showing a three-point lead over Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton in a recentPublic Policy Polling survey. 

Editor’s Note: Obama’s Budget Takes Aim at Retired Americans 
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Hillary Group Attacks Christie Over ‘Bridgegate’.

Image: Hillary Group Attacks Christie Over 'Bridgegate'

By Melanie Batley

A group linked to Hillary Clinton has joined the fray to attack New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over the bridge closure controversy that has dogged his administration for weeks, already resulting in the resignation of two officials and a firestorm of accusations from state and national Democrats.

Correct the Record, a group formed by top supporters of the former first lady, created a graphic showing the Republican governor’s frowning face, a highway sign that reads “Lanes Closed. Expect Christie?” with another road sign say “political retribution.” The bottom of the ad says, “…the emerging facts aren’t lining up with the administration’s story,” CNN reported.

“Welcome to the world that is 2016,” Adrienne Elrod, communications director for the group, told The Washington Post.

“We’re watching every word that comes out of his mouth… He’s been able to enjoy for the most part being a pretty popular governor, but he’s never really been tested on the national stage.”

The organization is an offshoot of Democratic super PAC American Bridge, and is a research and response project dedicated to mobilizing against possible 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls, as part of a larger push to lay the groundwork for a 2016 Clinton candidacy.

Democrats allege that Christie ordered a September closure of lanes onto the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey to New York as retribution for the refusal of Fort Lee Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich to join other New Jersey mayors in endorsing Christie for re-election.

This week, Democrats in Washington D.C. turned up the heat on Christie with Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate’s transportation committee, asking Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to investigate the closures.

“You’ve got the DNC, some of the Hillary-tied PACs diving into this story,” Kevin Hagan, a New Jersey-based Democratic strategist told the Post. “You don’t want to continue to give your perceived opponent a pass.”

Democrats have also created a politically-charged YouTube video  with a narrative designed to raise the profile of the issue and link it to questions about Christie’s character and integrity.

“It undercuts his key argument that he’s a straight shooter,” Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Czin said of the controversy, according to the Post.
“It highlights the worst about his bombast and his condescension.”

And in a signal that Democrats intend to continue to escalate the issue, one Democratic leader told the Post that the “Bridgegate” episode reveals the Christie administration’s “Nixon-like dirty tricks,” while another compared it to Watergate, and a third speculated about impeachment.

Christie has continued to downplay accusations of wrongdoing, suggesting they are politically motivated and have been “sensationalized.”

“National Democrats will make an issue about everything about me, so get used to the new world everybody, you know?” Christie told a news conference Friday.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Democrats Take Bridge Flap National in Bid to Hurt Christie.

The bridge closure controversy that has dogged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for weeks is threatening to go national as Democrats see a possible chink in the armor of the GOP’s potential 2016 presidential nominee.

Democrats in Washington D.C. turned up the heat on Christie with Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, chairman of the Senate’s transportation committee, asking Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to investigate the closures, according to Politico.

Democrats have also created a politically-charged YouTube video with a narrative designed to raise the profile of the issue and link it to questions about Christie’s character and integrity.

New Jersey Democrats allege Christie ordered a September closure of lanes onto the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey to New York — said to be the busiest road bridge in the world — as retribution for the refusal of Fort Lee Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich to join other New Jersey mayors in endorsing Christie for re-election.

Already two Christie appointees on the New York/New Jersey Port Authority — which overseas the bridge — have quit after it was revealed they did not go through the proper channels when ordering the lanes closed.

Christie has insisted that the closures, which led to as much as four-hour traffic delays over a span of five days, were part of a traffic study. But opponents say the lack of advance notice, coupled with no evidence of study results, proves that Christie’s explanation is not credible.

New Jersey state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, who has been leading the charge against Christie on the matter, said she would like a congressional probe. Assemblyman John Wisnieswki has subpoenaed all correspondence between Christie and Port Authority aides about the closures.

Political observers on both sides of the aisle say Christie’s emergence on the national scene explains why Democrats are trying to capitalize on the negative press.

“After his resounding win, we’re not surprised that national Democrats are going to try to take aim and so are state Democrats, who are looking for a chance to stay relevant,” one source close to Christie told Politico. “We know national groups are going to start looking for opportunity at every turn. That’s what happens when you do well and people start to focus on you.”

Democratic strategist Chris Lehane gave a similar commentary. “The nature and intensity of the coverage of the issue also reflects the fact that Christie is suddenly going to [be] forced into playing politics at a completely different level,” he said.

“For Christie, given his current standing, he will face such scrutiny for several years with both Democrats and fellow Republicans executing what is in effect a pincer action to define him.”

Having spent most of Christie’s first term trying unsuccessfully to define him as a bully, particularly following his performance following Hurricane Sandy, national Democrats think this controversy is an opportunity to renew that strategy, according to Politico.

“It goes to the heart of his potential liability… temperament is a real issue in presidential politics and in gubernatorial political,” Tad Devine, a Democratic strategist who has worked on presidential campaigns, told Politico. “It’s not fatal right now, but it’s a problem for him.”

For his part, Christie has vigorously denied the accusationssaying they have been “sensationalized.” He got an unexpected boost on Monday after New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo backed him up, saying, “I’m sure it is as Gov. Christie says.”

“National Democrats will make an issue about everything about me, so get used to the new world everybody, you know?” Christie said at a news conference Friday, according to Politico. “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Melanie Batley

Christie Appointee Resigns Over Huge Traffic Jam to NYC.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie‘s top appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey resigned Friday over a mushrooming scandal involving charges that Christie masterminded a massive traffic jam for political payback.

Bill Baroni, the bi-state agency’s deputy executive director, stepped down in the furor over several access lanes being shut to the George Washington Bridge in September, resulting in a traffic nightmare that lasted three days.

Baroni’s move follows the resignation last week of Christie’s high-school pal David Wildstein, the Port Authority official who actually ordered the lane closures.

Democrats have charged that the lane closures in Fort Lee, N.J., were ordered to punish that city’s mayor for refusing to back Christie’s gubernatorial re-election campaign. The Port Authority claimed it was simply carrying out a traffic study.

The controversy is escalating as polls show the Republican governor is in a statistical dead heat with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for the 2016 presidential race.

A recent Quinnipiac poll says Christie holds a 42 percent to 41 percent advantage. Christie has laughed off the controversy in his typical blustery fashion, insisting Democrats are merely playing politics.

Asked about the closures Monday, Christie quipped, “I moved the cones, actually unbeknownst to everybody.”

But Christie is definitely not laughing behind the scenes.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Christie phoned New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, to complain about a Cuomo appointee’s handling of the flap.

The newspaper says Christie complained that Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, was “pressing too hard” to get to the bottom of the issue.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


By Bill Hoffmann

Christie Faces Problems in NJ as National Profile Grows.

Image: Christie Faces Problems in NJ as National Profile Grows

By Lisa Barron

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was reelected in a landslide victory over his Democratic challenger last month, but ensuing troubles in the Garden State could hinder a possible presidential run in 2016.

Although Christie took over as chairman of the Republican Governors Association shortly after the election and polls indicate is the GOP frontrunner among possible presidential candidates, he is now under fire at from inside and outside his own party, according toPolitico.

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Hispanic leaders in New Jersey, a traditionally blue state, have criticized Christie for backing down on a campaign pledge to support in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants.

Meanwhile, former Republican Gov. Tom Kean publicly chastised the governor after Christie loyalists tried to oust Kean’s son, Tom Kean Jr., from his post as state Senate minority leader after the GOP failed to pick up seats in last month’s election.

The move failed, but there are still hard feelings.

“In my opinion it was wrong,” the former governor told the Asbury Park Press. “Absolutely. You don’t start going after people who have been loyal to you.”

But Christie adviser Mike DuHaime dismissed the controversies, pointing to the 51-year-old governor’s record.

“His leadership in New Jersey, both in times of crisis and in his long-term efforts to cut spending and reform education, is the very reason for the national speculation. I have zero doubt he will continue to get the job done in New Jersey,” he told Politico.

Not necessarily, said Democratic strategist Tad Devine, who worked for Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis‘s 1988 presidential campaign.

“Some of the worst problems for a governor running for president are in their home state. We were always dealing with local political problems in Massachusetts that were completely out of proportion for a campaign for president,” he recalled.

“And that was in a state dominated by Democrats. If the Republicans had controlled the legislature, it would’ve been a nightmare,” he added.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

NY Post: Christie’s ‘Bizarre Behavior’ Raises Questions on 2016 Prospects.

Image: NY Post: Christie's 'Bizarre Behavior' Raises Questions on 2016 Prospects

By Melanie Batley

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie‘s loyalty to the Republican Party is being questioned after he refused to make a public endorsement of a possible GOP challenger to New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a move some say could hurt his chances of winning the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Cuomo has disputed an earlier Post report that Christie was prepared to back Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino should he get the Republican nomination for governor next year, saying Christie made a personal phone call to him to assure him otherwise,according to The New York Post.

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“Christie already has a problem with many Republicans refusing to forgive him because of his embrace of [President] Obama and his socially liberal policies,” a GOP operative told the Post.

“But this bizarre behavior in suggesting he won’t help a Republican defeat a Democratic governor, and a Cuomo no less, could finish off his chance of becoming his party’s nominee for president in 2016.”

Christie, who is the newly elected chairman of the Republican Governors Association, was criticized by many Republicans after he embraced President Barack Obama last November during a tour of areas that were damaged during Superstorm Sandy. At the time, they said Christie had undermined GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s chances on the eve of the election.

Christie’s spokesman and political consultant have refused to comment on the reports, according to the Post, and after the initial report suggesting Christie would back Astorino, Cuomo told the paper, “I spoke to Gov. Christie this morning, who told me the exact opposite.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Latino Voters: Christie Flip-flopping on Tuition for Illegal Immigrants.

Image: Latino Voters: Christie Flip-flopping on Tuition for Illegal Immigrants

Gov. Chris Christie answers questions from students and reporters at Jose Marti Freshman Academy in Union City on Nov. 6.
By Courtney Coren

Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is flip-flopping on in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, after saying it was something he supported during his gubernatorial campaign in an effort to garner the Latino vote, immigrant advocates claim. The New Jersey Republican said during a debate with his Democratic opponent Barbara Buono that he would support a reduced tuition for those in the United States illegally. But on Monday he said that, while he still supported lower in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, he could not sign the bill just passed by the State Senate that would make it legal, The New York Times reported. “When he was running for election he was running to be able to say, ‘Look, I am the only Republican who can win the Latino vote,” said Giancarlo Tello of the New Jersey Tuition Equity for Dreamers Coalition. “Now that he already got the election, he’s already flip-flopping.” Christie said that the reason he cannot sign the bill is because it allows out-of-state residents to pay in-state costs for New Jersey boarding schools and also qualifies them for in-state college tuition, turning the Garden State into a “magnet state” for illegal immigrants. “They’re overreaching and they’re making it unsignable,” he said. While immigrant advocates were puzzled by his comments, the New Jersey governor’s spokesman said Wednesday that Christie still “supports New Jerseyans receiving in-state tuition, no matter how they came to this country.” Christie won re-election in a landslide Nov. 5 and is seen as one of the top potential presidential candidates for 2016. Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Walker Seen As GOP’s Alternative to Christie in 2016.

Image: Walker Seen As GOP's Alternative to Christie in 2016

Many Republican activists, citing Congress‘ deep unpopularity, say they want a governor to be their next presidential nominee. The buzz centers on New Jersey’s Chris Christie for now, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is using a national book tour to try to climb into the 2016 conversation.

A small but potentially potent group of GOP insiders say he’s a can-do governor with Christie’s good qualities, and few of Christie’s downsides.

Everything depends on Walker winning re-election next year. If he does, he can join Christie in casting himself as a two-term Republican governor who thrived in a Democratic-leaning state.

Then, Walker’s supporters say, his more conservative stances on several issues would help him in GOP primaries. And Walker’s calm Midwestern demeanor, they say, will play better in Iowa, South Carolina and other places than would Christie’s penchant for bombast and confrontation.

Plenty of potential hurdles stand in Walker’s way, as they do for other Republican governors, such as John Kasich of Ohio. They are not well-known outside their states. And they are untested on national stages, which have chewed up many once-promising governors, including Texas’ Rick Perry and New York’s Rudy Giuliani.

Still, some well-known Republicans say Walker deserves a bit of the attention that showered Christie after his easy re-election this month.

“Walker is the type of leader who is the future of our party,” said Fred Malek, a Republican fundraiser and activist since the Nixon administration. He said Walker can appeal to an array of Republicans and unite the party, which has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential races.

Walker has used TV, radio and other forums this week to promote his new book, “Unintimidated,” while also subtly pushing his presidential potential. At a conservative gathering Thursday in Washington, a friendly interviewer helped him make his best possible contrast with Christie.

Marc Thiessen, Walker’s co-author, said Christie “is moderate in policy and immoderate in temperament. You are very moderate in temperament but immoderate in policy.”

Walker didn’t quarrel with the premise. “Chris and I are good friends,” he said, and both of them stay true to their principles.

“The demeanor you have does have an impact,” Walker said. In New Jersey, he said, “the way that Chris has reacted to things actually fits.”

“I just have a Midwestern filter, that’s the difference,” Walker said. “I’m willing to speak out, but I’m not going to call you an idiot. I’m just going to say ‘That’s a ridiculous question,’ and move on.”

Walker brought up Hillary Rodham Clinton without being asked, calling her the likely Democratic nominee for president. She is “a product, by and large, of Washington, not just of late, but for decades,” he said. The way to defeat her, he said, is with a Republican team that’s “completely focused on being outsiders, taking Washington on, successful reformers in states.”

Walker uses similar language to downgrade the political prospects of members of Congress. That would include such potential GOP presidential candidates as Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Paul Ryan, a fellow Wisconsinite.

“I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor,” Walker told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “People who have done successful things in their states.”

Walker’s biggest achievement as governor was curbing the powers of government-sector unions, which triggered a ferocious backlash. Walker survived a bitterly fought recall election, making him a hero to conservatives who oppose unions.

Walker says he wasn’t intimidated by death threats against his family, thus the name of his book.

Walker takes a more conservative stand on some issues than do fellow Republican governors such as Christie and Kasich. Unlike them, Walker refused to expand Medicaid in his state with new federal funds under President Barack Obama’s new health care law. Democrats accused him of putting political ambition above the best interests of low-income Wisconsin residents.

“Accepting Medicaid expansion through Obamacare would be an anathema to Walker’s tea party base and his corporate backers,” said the liberal Daily Kos website.

Walker joined many other governors in criticizing congressional Republicans who prompted a 16-day government shutdown last month in a failed bid to block the Affordable Care Act. Chief among them was Cruz, who establishment Republicans fear will appeal to hard-line conservatives in Republican primaries but not to general election voters in November 2016.

Campaign strategists say Walker is trying to carve a middle path between Christie’s moderation and Cruz’s staunchly right positions.

Walker “is best positioned to unite the conservative and establishment wings,” said Texas-based consultant Matt Mackowiak. “Winning victories over public unions and beating back a recall attempt,” he said, can help Walker build a national image for conservative voters.

At least one liberal group is taking note of Walker. Progressives United is criticizing his record and seeking donations “to stop his political career dead in its tracks.”

Even Walker’s biggest fans note that the 2016 election is far off, and any number of unforeseen events can boost or doom potential candidacies.

Christie planted himself in the middle of Republican speculation by winning two terms in a state that hasn’t backed a Republican presidential nominee since 1988. Walker, several other governors and a few members of Congress will see if they can join him.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Gay GOP Activists Lobby Party to Support Causes.

Wealthy gay Republicans using their political influence to nudge GOP lawmakers to support workplace protections were also involved in convincing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to drop his court challenge to gay marriage.

The lobbying efforts are led by former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, who did not publicly acknowledge his sexuality until after his term expired, and Paul Singer, a wealthy contributor to Republican campaigns whose son is gay, The Washington Post reports.

Singer is close to Christie, the Post reported, but he declined to comment on Christie’s stand on gay marriage.

The American Unity Fund founded by Singer has two lobbyists on the payroll: former Republican lawmakers Tom Reynolds of New York and Norm Coleman of Minnesota, who, despite their new jobs, maintain they still oppose gay marriage.

Singer’s group and Mehlman are working to gain support from conservative lawmakers one issue at a time. Until the New Jersey gay marriage initiative, they had invested most of their time lobbying for a Senate bill to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual preference.

“But we’re telling Republicans, ‘If you think you can’t get there on marriage, here is a safe list of things you can support,'” said Jeff Cook-McCormac, senior adviser to Singer’s advocacy group.

By taking a softer approach, the activists are hoping to draw younger voters, women, and more independents to the party.

“Because it’s so personal, we are helping them through the process and helping guide them, and showing them that Republican support is there in the electorate, that they’re not going to be punished,” said Dan Meyers, president of Project Right Side, which was created by Mehlman last year.

Republicans who support gay rights are hopeful that the example set by Christie, who is expected to easily win re-election next month, will convince GOP lawmakers they can support pro-gay issues without suffering a backlash from their constituents, the Post said.

Meanwhile, gay marriage is moving forward in New Jersey where numerous couples are scheduled to have their nuptials performed Monday by Democratic Senator-elect Cory Booker and Jersey City Mayor Steven FulopThe Wall Street Journal reports. 

Booker, who had refused to officiate the marriages of traditional couples until the state legalized gay marriage, planned to lead seven ceremonies Monday, including two for straight couples.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Audrey Hudson

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