Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Voters crave authenticity; Chris Christie is an authentic man

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie (right) continues his whirlwind national tour to stump for GOP gubernatorial, senate and House candidates, using his star power to raise money for fellow Republicans. Today he appeared here for Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett.

As a child, Gov. Chris Christie dreamed of going to the Pennsylvania town that hosts the Little League World Series. Monday, he made it there.

"As a 12-year-old, I always wanted to come to Williamsport. It’s taken me 36 years to get here, but I have arrived,’’ Christie said.

Although it wasn’t quite the same as playing for a championship Little League team, Christie was something of an all-star when he walked into a small Republican campaign office in this small, working-class city to the cheers of about 75 people. He was there to campaign for Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett, the state’s elected attorney general and, like Christie, a former U.S. attorney.

With just three weeks to go before Election Day, Corbett has been leading in the polls against Democrat Dan Otorano. But Christie was the main attraction at this event, where locals familiar with the tough-talking, Jersey guy governor from cable news shows and viral internet videos rushed to shake his hand. Many thought should run for president in 2012, no matter how many times he says he’s not interested.

Cynthia Furey, 61, stopped Christie on his way out to take a picture with him. She called Christie "our savior" and told him he should run for president.

"He’s authentic. He just tells it like it is. He’s a real person – down to earth," Furey, a retired pre-school teacher who lives in nearby Cogan Station, Pa., said. Furey shrugged at Christie’s unequivocal statements that he’s not running for higher office. "They always say that," she said.

The rally was the latest stop for Christie, who has spent much of the last month on the stump to drum up publicity and raise money for Republican candidates across the country.

Talk of Christie as a presidential contender has only grown with his travels. On Friday, conservative firebrand Ann Coulter joined the chorus, saying Christie has to run for president "for his country." On Saturday, Christie topped a presidential straw poll at a Virginia tea party group’s convention, garnering 15 percent of 1,560 votes cast to edge out Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

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