New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie may have undermined his chances for a 2016 presidential bid after offering effusive public praise for New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo following a counterterrorism summit on Monday.
The chairman of the Republican Governors Association has also refused to commit to any fundraising events on behalf of Cuomo's GOP challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, USA Today
"The job of myself and Gov. Cuomo, as we see it, is to lead and make sure that the appropriate amount of intensity is being brought to the task of protecting our region," Christie said at the summit.
"I thank the governor for, like this and many other issues, our partnership over the last number of years in making sure that we're doing our jobs for the people of this very interconnected region in a way that's going to keep us safe."
The comments have raised eyebrows among pundits who say his positioning could hurt his chances if he makes a bid for the White House in 2016.
"How could that not turn Republicans off for both Astorino's campaign and for Christie?" said Rick Shaftan, a Republican strategist. He suggested that the George Washington Bridge scandal has put Christie in a position where he can't campaign against Cuomo, as the governors share control of the agency which operates the bridge.
Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray, however, suggested that Christie's appearances with Cuomo and other leading Democrats earlier in the day Monday could have some upsides for his presidential chances.
"Assuming he runs for president, he's got to win a Republican nomination process, but at the same time he has to position himself for a general election. He carefully chooses those issues on which he's willing to appear at a bipartisan venue," Murray said, according to USA Today.
Earlier this summer, Christie angered the party faithful
by declaring that the RGA does not "invest" in campaigns that are seen as "lost causes." Last month, Former New York Gov. George Pataki also expressed his anger
about Christie's refusal to support Astorino.
Christie, however, has since tried to mend fences, publicly declaring last week that Astorino was "the best candidate to lead the state forward."
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