Supporting Keystone XL Pipeline Is Safe For Christie

Pressed by reporters for his position on immigration reform, Governor Christie offered this instead: No discussions of any contentious, national issue unless he becomes a candidate for president.

But when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline — an issue that courses through a national debate over energy consumption, economic growth and homeland security — Christie is talking.

Christie begins a two-day business-and-trade foray to Canada on Thursday in Calgary, the epicenter of that country’s oil boom, and the starting point of a proposed pipeline that ends at the Gulf of Mexico. Here, Christie is expected to ardently advocate for the pipeline’s construction, much as he did on a similar trip to Mexico in September.

Immigration, Christie said during a visit to Iowa in July, was “too complicated.”

But there is nothing really complicated — politically speaking — about the pipeline project. While it will carry oil extracted from the clay and sands of northwest Canada, Christie’s advocacy places him on safe, firm Republican Party turf.

The issue also gives Christie a chance to remain in the spotlight, and to maintain the momentum after his stewardship of the Republican Governors Association, which expanded the roster of Republican governors from 29 to 31 and chalked up surprising victories in Democratic states like Maryland and Illinois.

“This is a way to keep a lot of that going so that those very relationships you made can still see you,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist who served as an adviser on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. “So, it’s very important to keep those chits relevant. A lot of the states he went to are in favor of this.”

Read more from Charles Stile at NorthJersey.com

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