Morning News Digest: August 28, 2012


Morning News Digest: August 28, 2012

By Missy Rebovich



Rutgers Poll: 64% of voters say they don’t care Christie wasn’t VP pick

As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie prepares to give the keynote speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC) today, New Jersey voters do not expect his latest moment on the national stage will benefit the Garden State’s image, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

While nearly a third believes Christie’s address will enhance New Jersey’s image with the rest of the country, 46 percent think it will make no difference; 14 percent say Christie’s speech will hurt the state’s image. 

That presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney failed to choose Christie as his running mate also elicits mostly yawns from voters: 64 percent say that it does not matter that Christie was not selected, a quarter are pleased with the outcome and only 10 percent are disappointed.  (Staff, PolitickerNJ)



Christie denounces Post story, but admits Romney needs to show a more human side

The door flung open to the briefing room on the 7th floor of the Westin and in walked Gov. Chris Christie one night before his scheduled keynote to the Republican National Convention.

“I’m not going to talk about the speech before tomorrow night there,” he told New Jersey reporters above a roiling bay where sunshine alternated with storm clouds in the whiplash of Hurricane Isaac. “There will be some stuff in this you’re familiar with. Nothing I’m saying in there will come as a great shock to you.”

The speech will run about 20 minutes.

It took him 14 drafts to stick the landing, he said.

Fewer than ten people have seen it at this point, and yes, he did implement advice of 1988 GOP keynoter former Gov Tom Kean, Christie’s political idol.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Christie denies re-election vital part of his legacy

Prodded by about his political plans, Gov. Chris Christie said he hasn’t yet decided about running for a second term next year.

He said the outcome of the presidential election will have no bearing on his decision.

“No,” he told reporters, “because I don’t want to be in a Romney cabinet.”

The decision, said the Republican governor, will be based on “whether it’s the right thing, not based on, ‘Do I want to.”

He expressed his desire to make the decision with his family, relying on their input.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Poll: Consumer confidence takes a hit in New Jersey

The number of New Jerseyans who say they are better off financially now than they were last year has dropped, according to a recent Fairleigh Dickinson University survey.

The university’s PublicMind poll found 26 percent of residents say they are in a better financial spot than they were last year – down six points from January 2012, according to the survey.

The poll found no change from January of people who report being worse off, according to the survey, which also reports that more residents – 26 percent – say they expect to be worse off financially in the upcoming year than the 19 percent surveyed believed so in January.  (Arco, PolitickerNJ)



Morning news shows, breakfast speech, practice run on tap for Christie before keynote

Today Governor Christie will deliver the keynote address at the Republican National Convention. But before that, tune in to several morning news shows to hear what he has to say.

Christie will be on ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s Today Show with Matt Lauer and MSNBC’s Morning Joe all before 8 a.m.

At 8:30 a.m. he’ll meet up with the Michigan delegation (he spoke to California and North Carolina yesterday) in downtown Tampa.

From there he’s off to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where he’ll do a quick walk through for tonight’s keynote.

While Christie is busy in Tampa, the New Jersey delegation has a few events of its own planned at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach.  (Hayes, The Record)



Christie gives read on Romney speech

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave his own read on presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s big convention speech later this week, and told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he believes Mr. Romney will win the presidential election. Mr. Christie was reacting to a report in the New York Post that he didn’t want to join the Romney ticket in part because he thought they would lose.

“I think he’s gonna win,” Mr. Christie said, according to excerpts of the show released ahead of its airing Wednesday.

Mr. Christie also talked about his preparations for his own address, set for Tuesday night.  ”[M]ost of the time I think about what it is I want to talk about and then I get up there and I talk about it. Now, with the time restrictions here and obviously the different stage, they want you to work off a text and that’s fine.”  (Staff, The Wall Street Journal)



Christie says keynote speech is truly his own

Governor Christie is no stranger to speaking before diverse crowds and said Monday afternoon that he may speak “off the cuff” Tuesday night if he feels like his keynote address isn’t going over as well as he’s planned.

“They’ll stop the prompter if I go off script,” he told a group of reporters during an afternoon briefing Monday in advance of his remarks at the Republican National Convention tomorrow night.

Christie said he hopes his speech – which he had to submit to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign in writing – will go over well, but he’s not opposed to changing it up if he sees too many people in the crowd fiddling with their phones, though that’s unlikely.

“This is nothing that’s any kind of shock to Governor Romney or to his people, they know me,” Christie said. “They didn’t pick me and think I was going to come here and be something different than what I’ve been.”  (Hayes, The Record)



Keynoter Christie is a skilled speaker and Tea Party pleaser

You could set a watch to the cadence of the town hall-style meetings that have helped make Chris Christie a Republican favorite in his 2 ½ years as the governor of New Jersey.

There are the flashes of self-deprecation (“You didn’t elect me for my good looks and charm”). The Jersey guy routine (“If today is the day you decided that you want to take your governor out for a walk, let me remind you that we are all from New Jersey, and if you give it, you are getting it right back”).

He will acidly insult Democrats, and then offer humanizing glimpses of his bond with his late mother (“Be yourself, Christopher, because if you are, you are never going to have to worry tomorrow about remembering who you pretended to be yesterday”).  

It is a performance so disciplined that you can predict the moment — just before he takes the first question — when Mr. Christie will strip off his suit jacket and toss it to an aide, who disappears behind a curtain.   (Zernike, The New York Times)



Christie gets his time in spotlight

To complement a clean-cut, numbers-focused presidential ticket, Republicans will turn Tuesday to Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor who has brought a combative and distinctive style to the party’s argument for tax cuts and budget restraint.

Mr. Christie’s keynote address has the potential to buff his profile as a national political figure. His gruff, matter-of-fact approach already has helped earn him a following outside New Jersey, largely through short video clips. Dubbed “YouTube moments” by his staff, they often show Mr. Christie aggressively hitting back at critics or, as in the case of last summer’s Hurricane Irene, telling citizens to “get the hell off the beach.”

Now, he has a chance to use that style, along with a more subdued, emotional approach he frequently employs but which doesn’t make headlines as often, to aid Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and whatever future national ambitions he might harbor.  (Grossman and Haddon, The Wall Street Journal)



Chris Christie: I may ‘stray’ during keynote

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday he will stick with his signature style and may “stray a little” from the teleprompter during his keynote address at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.

Christie told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in an interview set to air Tuesday morning that he finds working off of a prepared speech on a teleprompter “less natural” than his more informal, off-the-cuff style.

“I don’t use text almost ever,” Christie said on the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, according to a “Morning Joe” transcript. “So most of the time I think about what it is I want to talk about and then I get up there and I talk about it. Now, with the time restrictions here and obviously the different stage, they want you to work off a text and that’s fine.”

The New Jersey governor said the challenge he sees for himself during the high-profile speech is to “be natural and be myself.”  (Weinger, Politico) 



Gov. defends jobs record, progress as speech nears

Gov. Chris Christie takes center stage tonight at the Republican National Convention, delivering a keynote speech touting what he has dubbed New Jersey Republicanism as a model for progress.

To Christie, that means directly tackling difficult issues, talking bluntly and reaching compromises with Democrats but not yielding on core principles.

To Democrats, it is an illusion — particularly as it applies to the economy.  (Symons, Asbury Park Press)



Republican National Convention notebook: Gov. Christie helps get N.J. delegates into building

Gov. Chris Christie’s pull with national Republicans isn’t on display simply by virtue of the New Jersey delegation’s prime spot on the convention floor.

Christie was faced with hundreds of crestfallen honorary delegates who wouldn’t be allowed in the Tampa Bay Times Forum to watch him deliver his much-anticipated keynote speech Tuesday night.

While the state’s 50 delegates and 50 alternates will be seated in the arena, only a fraction of the 300 honorary members were going to be let in.

But Christie and his friend Bill Palatucci, who is a national committeeman, leaned on the party, according to two people with knowledge of the negotiations but unauthorized to speak about it.

Yes, the honorary delegates will be allowed in the building — though not on the convention floor.  (Staff, The Star-Ledger)



Obama and Christie share common ground on education

Although it’s surely not the theme he’ll sound tonight in his keynote address to the Republican National Convention, Gov. Chris Christie has often agreed with President Obama on one big issue: education.

Christie has said that he and the president often see eye to eye on charter schools, teacher evaluation, and tenure reform — among other topics. Last year, the governor even hosted Obama’s education secretary, Arne Duncan, at Drumthwacket to help promote his school reform agenda.

“I have a lot of agreement with the president and Arne Duncan on these education issues, and I’ve said that publicly many times,” Christie said in March at a televised forum on education.   (Mooney, NJ Spotlight)



Gov recalls Streisand ouster with glee

Barbra Streisand, apparently, was not amused.

At least that’s the way Gov. Chris Christie saw it when the singer, actress and Democratic supporter — “one of your most famous Californians,” as Christie told the California delegation to the Republican National Convention Monday morning — was booted out of the governor’s seats during a White House event for Chinese dignitaries.

“As we’re walking over there, we see two people sit in our reserved seats, and their names were James Brolin and Barbra Streisand,” Christie told Republicans gathered at the Tradewinds conference center in St. Pete Beach. “And so, Mary Pat and I figure, well, it’s going to be back to getting seats apart because … who’s going to get a better deal in the Obama White House, me or Barbra Streisand, right.”  (Schoonejongen, Asbury Park Press)



Kean rips Dem razzing

Former Gov. Thomas H. Kean knocked New Jersey Democrats today for not being more supportive of Gov. Chris Christie as he readies for his keynote speech at the Republican National Convention.

Kean — the featured speaker at Monday morning’s delegation breakfast, as no out-of-state speakers dropped by — said he got words of support from then-U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley when he gave the keynote in 1988, then returned the sentiments in 1992 when Bradley keynoted the Democratic convention.

Now, he said, Democrats are eagerly rooting for Christie to stumble and are trying to trip him up, rather than take pride that a New Jerseyan gets a moment in the national spotlight.  (Symons, Asbury Park Press)



Kyrillos cable TV ad up and running

The Kyrillos campaign today unveiled the release of a 30-second cable television commercial designed to introduce voters to the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

“I’m Joe” is aimed at viewers of the coverage of the GOP convention.

It’s a six-figure ad buy for two weeks.

“We’ll reassess after Labor Day,” said Chapin Fay, Kyrillos campaign manager.

“I’m Joe Kyrillos,” the candidate says in the ad. “I’m running for the United States Senate and let me tell you why.

“I believe in the promise of America – the opportunity to work hard and build a good life. I believe we can fix our economy with strong leadership and less finger pointing.

“I believe it’s time to get this right for our children, grandchildren and America’s future. And that’s why I’m running. I’m Joe Kyrillos and I approved this message.”  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)



Democrats blame Christie’s national ambitions for standstill in offshore wind

In 2010, Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill to promote the development of offshore wind farms along the Jersey coast. Proponents claimed that the measure would propel the state to the forefront of manufacturing wind turbines and generating clean offshore power.

So far, it has proven not to be, and Democratic lawmakers yesterday pinned the blame on Christie and his national political ambitions.

The state Board of Public Utilities was supposed to adopt regulations permitting offshore wind developers to earn credits for the electricity their systems produce, a step that would facilitate banks financing the projects, most of which are expected to cost more than $1 billion.  (Johnson, NJ Spotlight)



Study reveals ACOs being built around primary care, not payers

A study recently released by the Commonwealth Fund shows that early implementation of accountable-care organizations around the country is being governed mostly by physicians and hospitals, not payers.

The study shows 51 percent of all ACOs are built as a joint venture between doctors and hospitals, like the newly approved Barnabas Health ACO-North LLC, and another 20 percent are physician led, like the Optimus Healthcare Partners LLC group.

Accountable-care organizations were created under the Affordable Care Act as a way to streamline care coordination for entire populations of patients while making care better and more affordable.  (Caliendo, NJBIZ)



Dunellen development plan gets transit village designation

As Dunellen today joined a growing list of municipalities mapping areas near public transit for redevelopment, a New Jersey planning expert said developers are increasingly looking to help towns bring designs to fruition.

“Interest from developers in transit villages has been growing leaps and bounds, and part of the reason for that is they like the predictability of them,” said Peter Kasabach, executive director of the smart growth organization New Jersey Future. “When towns go through the whole process of creating a plan, then developers know what to expect and they can get a feel for how their project will fit with the other developments going on in the area.”  (Eder, NJBIZ)



New Jersey decides to save public art installation

After a campaign from conservation groups, New Jersey officials said Monday that they have reversed course and decided against demolishing a landscape art installation outside the state Department of Environmental Protection building in Trenton.

“It’s an incredible victory totally beyond anything that has happened, and of great importance for public art for the whole country,” said Athena Tacha, who completed the 77-foot-by-85-foot designed courtyard in 1986 and was told earlier this year that the state was planning to remove it in favor of a new rain garden.

The state’s plan met with protest from advocates for public art and landscape design and set off a debate on issues including art, the environment and symbolism. All of this over a work that isn’t particularly well known and, as of Monday, had 14 orange cones marking spots throughout the landscaped yard “so people don’t stumble,” said DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese.  (Mulvihill, Associated Press)



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Princeton University to get $3M to study climate change

Princeton University’s Cooperative Institute for Climate Science is slated to receive more than $3 million in federal funding to carry out research on climate change, New Jersey’s U.S. senators announced Monday.  (Arco, State Street Wire)



Third District lawmakers take Christie to task over slow pace of wind energy

Third District lawmakers gathered at a shuttered oil storage tank site here today and called on Gov. Chris Christie to take action to develop offshore wind energy, restore a Brownfields site to a useful life, and create thousands of jobs in a state where the jobless rate has hit 9.8 percent.  (Mooney, State Street Wire)




From the Back Room 



Bygones are bygones, apparently

State Sen. Sandra Cunningham, who in past days was no fan of U.S. Sen Bob Menendez, owing to a notorious feud between Cunningham’s husband and the Hudson County congressman, has apparently put to rest any ill will.

Cunningham hosted an event this Sunday for Menendez, in honor of Women’s Equality Day.  The event was reportedly well attended and should put to rest rumors that bad blood continues to flow between the two.  (Isherwood, PolitickerNJ)



No bruised egos, says GOP insider

The insider stood there amid the balloons with the stoic, unfazed air of one who’s tried himself not just in leadership roles at past conventions, but in life’s various other furnaces. felt comfortable asking him the inevitably uncomfortable following question: “Is anyone’s ego among the delegates visibly bruised by the fact that it’s obviously Chris Christie’s convention and he’s taken up all the oxygen?”

These are politicians, after all, who must craft their own egos carefully for use int he public square, now wholly occupied by a gubernatorial presence, the keynoter at this year’s convention.  (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)






The comeback skid

There will be two big stars at the Republican National Convention, and neither of them will be Mitt Romney. One will, of course, be Paul Ryan, Mr. Romney’s running mate. The other will be Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, who will give the keynote address. And while the two men could hardly look or sound more different, they are brothers under the skin.

How so? Both have carefully cultivated public images as tough, fiscally responsible guys willing to make hard choices. And both public images are completely false.   (Krugman, The New York Times)



Christie may not have usual bite

The drowsy California Republicans clutching cups of caffè latte and muffins who packed the Tradewinds Conference Center lobby early Monday morning came in search of another popular breakfast dish — a plate of political red meat, served up by Chris Christie.

The New Jersey governor did not disappoint.

He mocked California’s Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown as an “old retread,” mocked liberal celebrity Barbra Streisand for accidentally taking his seat at a White House concert, and, for good measure, mocked President Obama’s style of politics.  (Stile, The Record)



Christie stokes the California connection

Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlitt-Packard tasked with introducing Gov. Chris Christie at a gathering of her fellow California Republicans, recalled for the crowd an incident she thought clearly illustrated the New Jersey governor’s style.

It took place at the end of a campaign appearance Christie had done with her when she was waging an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2010. A heckler, she said, began yelling at her.

“Chris comes across the stage and confronts the guy … and he says, ‘You know what, you stop. Meg is trying to do things for America. We’re fighting for America. We’re fighting for California. You just stop,’” Whitman told the gathered California delegates to the Republican National Convention. “And I was just thrilled to death to be defended by Chris Christie.”  (Schoonejongen, Asbury Park Press)



Christie goes Jersey-style in Tampa

Gov. Christie rallied the faithful this morning, delivering speeches to the California and North Carolina Republican delegations that featured a pretty dang good Southern accent, a picture of him on a surf board and a behind-the-scenes look at how he became the first governor in the country to endorse Mitt Romney.

He also gave the crowds what they came for: Some Jersey-style tough talk.

The endorsement story goes like this: Mitt and Ann came to the Christie’s house in Mendham for lunch last October, after Christie decided not to run for president himself. Christie’s son, Patrick, now 12, rollerbladed through. Then came Christie’s daughter, Bridget, now 9, doing cartwheels.  (Katz, The Philadelphia Inquirer)



Getting to know Chris Smith, the lone N.J. GOP Congressman in tampa

New Jersey has six Republican Congressmen, and five of them have decided to steer clear of Tampa, no doubt because the party’s conservative base is strutting its stuff, and embracing that is a risky move in Blue Jersey.

The exception is U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th), who doesn’t seem to care much about those calculations.

Smith is known mostly for one thing: His never-ending campaign to end all abortions.

And that seems to bother him. It’s not that he has a sliver of doubt about the cause. To him, 54 million souls have been snuffed out with the blessing of the law. With every breath, he is determined to stop that.  (Moran, The Star-Ledger)


  Morning News Digest: August 28, 2012