Chris Christie Touting His Conservative Bona Fides

Governor Christie spent the past week on the campaign trail hitting key issues that are popular with the conservative voters who likely hold the key to his success as a Republican candidate for president.

His tour through the early voting states, which includes return trips to New Hampshire and Iowa this week, comes as his campaign and a super PAC supporting his candidacy are spending a combined $1 million to run political ads nationally on Fox News that show Christie criticizing President Obama over the Iran nuclear deal, just as the next round of horse-race polls are being conducted.

The next two weeks are likely to be critical for the New Jersey governor.

Once a front-runner and the man many pushed to run for president four years ago, Christie is now so far down in the polls that analysts say he needs to build support among these conservatives to keep his chances alive for a spot in Fox News’ televised debate next month. Fox plans to use national polls to select which 10 of the 16 declared GOP candidates will appear in the first debate.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell, who worked on U.S. Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said Christie is doing what he needs to in order to boost his support ahead of the debates and most voters won’t notice if he’s taking some liberties with his record. “I don’t think people are following it all that closely outside of New Jersey,” he said. “All they would generally know at this point is what you say. Therefore, sort of bending the record, if you will, it may catch up to him later, but right now he’s got to throw the kitchen sink out there to try to make sure he not only gets on that debate stage but stays on the debate stage.”

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Analysis & Political Strategy