The Cycle | November 21, 2012
>>> i cannot think the president enough for his personal concern, compassion for the people of our state. i heard on the phone conversation with him and i was able to witness it today personally.
>> so, that really ticked off mitt romney 's campaign. and it ticked off a lot of republicans across the country, too. it was two weeks after the election, still griping about how lavishly chris christie praised barack obama during hurricane sandy, which hit new jersey just a few days before the election. i said at the time there probably wasn't a political calculation behind christie 's words, that they were a very understandable and very human response from a man who just washed a monster storm ravage the state he loves. i also said his response would nonetheless help christie politically. oh, how it has. there is a new poll out from rutgers today that gives the governor a 67% favorable rating. that is six points better than barack obama in new jersey. he carried the state by 16 points last month -- a few weeks ago, actually. christie 's number also includes a 27-point spike from the last rutgers poll among democrats. we see bounces like this at the presidential level, think of george bush after 9/11 or george h.w. bush after the gulf war . christie will probably fall from his perch a bit in the weeks and months ahead, but he has a buffer now. we all know christie has national ambitions. he wants to run for president in 2016 . he also loves the job he has and he wants to keep it. it's very hard for republicans to win elections in new jersey . the state hasn't sent a republican to the senate in 40 years and counting, and christie 's narrow victory in 2009 , a four-point margin with less than 50% of the vote. that counts as the second biggest republican landslide in new jersey over the last four decades. now he's sitting pretty for next year. even before sandy, christie 's approval rating was over 50% and he seemed likely to draw a second tier democratic opponent but now it has more clarity. cory booker has been pretending to be interested in the governor's race for a few months now. that's how he gets national media attention and it's worked. now the jig is up. look for booker to run for senate in 2014 , against franc lautenberg, a fellow democrat if necessary, but not for governor. look for the obama white house to keep its distance from next year's governor's race. before sandy new jersey democrats talked of a re-elected obama returning to the state in 2013 to promote their gubernatorial candidate. now the white house is grateful to christie . since obama won't be running again in 2016 it's not likely they feel threatened by his ambition. obama won't be saving new jersey democrats next year either. talk to democrats in new jersey privately, they admit, they probably won't beat christie next year, which means he'll get to take the shot at the white house in 2016 . i don't think the nice words he had for obama will hurt him much with republicans four years from now. i mean, do you want to be the republican candidate who gets up on stage with christie and tell him he shouldn't have praised the president's response to a natural disaster destroying his state? i don't think i would.