New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is really into New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
At least that’s the impression you get when you look at the latest scandal embroiling the governor: The feds are investigating his administration for spending millions of extra taxpayer dollars on a post-Hurricane Sandy tourism ad campaign that — unlike a competing, cheaper option — featured him and his family.
You also get that idea when you look at the George Washington Bridge scandal, wherein the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., was seemingly punished by the Christie administration for not endorsing the governor for reelection. That endorsement would have done virtually nothing to impact Christie’s odds of winning his reelection (which were always high), but it would have marginally added to Christie’s bipartisan credentials.
There is, right now, no evidence directly tying Chris Christie to either of those decisions. But, in concert with his past, it’s increasingly easy to get the idea that the New Jersey governor puts a high premium on self-promotion, even when it comes at an obvious cost.
This, after all, is the same guy who threatened to drop the f-word on live, prime-time TV during the 2012 Republican National Convention if convention organizers cut short his three-minute introduction video. The video ran.
It’s also the same guy who is followed almost everywhere by an aide with a video camera, whose job is to catch every moment where the governor goes off on someone to make sure the clip can be blasted out on YouTube.
Even if Christie isn’t directly implicated in the George Washington Bridge or ad scandals, at a minimum they leave the impression that Christie’s staff is fiercly protective of the governor’s image. Why else would a top aide work to cause a traffic jam in apparent retaliation for a Democratic mayor not endorsing the governor? The same question could be asked by federal investigators looking into the Sandy tourism ad, where the head of the panel in charge of selecting the marketing firm was a former aide to Christie, and had once received a $46,000 loan from him.
By no means is Christie the first politician to ever be obsessed with and protective of his self-image (see our current president). But the lengths his administration has gone to are, at best, unique. Now, that carefully whittled bipartisan, antipolitician image is seriously damaged. And as the governor weighs a 2016 presidential run, he’s got at least one already declared opponent: a perception of self-defeating narcissism.
What We're Following See More »
Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.
“My view is, first you get them to laugh, then you get them to listen," says Michelle Obama in a new profile in Variety. "So I’m always game for a good joke, and I’m not so formal in this role. There’s very little that we can’t do that people wouldn’t appreciate.” According to writer Ted Johnson, Mrs. Obama has leveraged the power of pop culture far beyond her predecessors. "Where are the people?" she asks. "Well, they’re not reading the op-ed pieces in the major newspapers. They’re not watching Sunday morning news talk shows. They’re doing what most people are doing: They are watching TV.”
The FBI and other US security agencies are currently investigating a series of computer breaches found within The New York Times and other news organizations. It is expected that the hacks were carried out by individuals working for Russian intelligence. It is believed that these cyber attacks are part of a "broader series of hacks that also have focused on Democratic Party organizations, the officials said."
In a 3-1 decision, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of Columbia University graduate students, granting them the legal right to unionize. The petition was brought by a number of teaching assistants enrolled in graduate school. This decision could pave the way for thousands of new union members, depending on if students at other schools nationwide wish to join unions. A number of universities spoke out in opposition to this possibility, saying injecting collective bargaining into graduate school could create a host of difficulties.
Following Texas Senator Ted Cruz's controversial decision not to endorse Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention, instead telling voters to "vote (their) conscience," a new poll out today shows that his approval ratings have sunk. The poll from Public Policy Polling shows that 39 percent of Texans approve of the job Cruz is doing, compared to 48 percent who don't approve. Additionally, despite winning the GOP primary in the state, the poll found that if the primary was held today, Trump would garner 52 percent of support to just 38 percent for Cruz.