The Edge: Winning Politics on the Jersey Shore

National Journal Staff

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Winning Politics on the Jersey Shore

If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave President Obama a boost toward reelection in the wake of superstorm Sandy last fall, then Obama repaid the favor with today's visit to the Jersey Shore.

Not only did Obama sound like a New Jersey Chamber of Commerce pitchman – "America, bring your family and friends. Spend a little money on the Jersey Shore" – but he gave Christie a high-five, literally, in a state that he won by a wide margin.

It will be a boon to Christie's reelection efforts, and there was an upside for Obama, too. The president got to defend his philosophy, besieged of late by scandals, that government can help people. "When we make a commitment that we've got your back, we mean it and we're not going to finish until the work is done," he said.

Republican Christie got some bipartisan cred in a blue state and Obama got to show that government can work – something he's had trouble demonstrating in Washington.

Political odd couple? Nah. Just politicians at work scoring the coveted win-win.

Chris Frates


OBAMA VISITS JERSEY SHORE, ATLANTIC CITY BOARDWALK WITH CHRISTIE. President Obama traveled to New Jersey today to tour areas affected by superstorm Sandy (full transcript of his remarks here), including a stop at the Atlantic City boardwalk, the Associated Press reports. While Christie has praised Atlantic City's swift recovery, he acknowledged that several other towns have not fared as well. The visit allows the president to highlight the successes of FEMA in the wake of the storm, and gives Christie an opportunity to highlight a major tourist destination. The tour illustrates bipartisan cooperation while Christie is in the midst of a reelection campaign and Obama spars with congressional Republicans. Read more

  • @pkcapitol: Saxby got a hole-in-1 playing golf with POTUS. Christie won football toss. Idea: next Republican hanging with Obama should buy Powerball tix

CHINESE HACKERS GAIN ACCESS TO DESIGNS FOR U.S. WEAPONS SYSTEMS. A report prepared for the Pentagon revealed that Chinese hackers have gained access to plans for major U.S. weapons systems, The Washington Post reports. While an unclassified version of the report was released in January, the information on the hacking of specific weapons systems is contained in the classified version. The more than two dozen compromised systems include "programs critical to U.S. missile defenses and combat aircraft and ships." White House press secretary Jay Carney would not confirm the Post report, but told Politico that President Obama likely will raise the issue of cybersecurity in upcoming talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Read more

  • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working on "Plan X," which aims to streamline and industrialize cyberattacks, Wired reports. Read more

NRCC TARGETS FOUR DEMOCRATS OVER IRS ROLE IN AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched a mobile billboard campaign targeting four House Democrats by linking their support of the Affordable Care Act to the IRS targeting scandal, Yahoo reports. Trucks will drive around the districts of Reps. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., John Barrow, D-Ga., Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., and Collin Peterson, D-Minn., with billboards claiming that each member would "put the IRS in charge of your health care." Read more

OBAMA PROCEEDING WITH JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS. President Obama this week could nominate three experienced judges to fill slots on the 11-member U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, but The New York Times reports that the selections likely will meet Republican opposition and could lead to a broader tussle over Senate rules. The potential nominees are Georgetown law professor Cornelia T.L. Pillard and D.C. attorneys David C. Frederick and Patricia Ann Millett. Read more

NEW IRS CHIEF WILL HAVE HEARING MONDAY. The newly installed acting IRS commissioner will appear before a House Appropriations subcommittee next week, The Hill reports. Danny Werfel will appear before the subcommittee that deals with financial services to discuss how upcoming appropriations bills can stop the targeting of conservative groups from happening again. Read more

  • National Journal's Michael Catalini explains why it's so hard to fire underperforming government workers.

THE OBSCURE COUNTY ELECTION THAT COULD CHANGE THE PLANET. A little-watched race in Washington state will determine how America uses its coal—and the future of the planet's climate – National Journal's Coral Davenport reports. Read more

WAL-MART'S SUPER-COUNTERINTUITIVE HEALTH PLAN. Instead of skimping on the most expensive care, the giant retailer is sending its workers to top-tier hospitals. Turns out, it's a great way to save money, National Journal'sMargot Sanger-Katz reports. Read more

  • Conservatives are hoping to gut the new health care law by convincing lawmakers to try to defund the insurance exchange, Bloomberg reports.

IS MARTY BARON THE MAN TO FIX THE WASHINGTON POST? The paper's new executive editor avoids new-media buzzwords, abhors self-promotion, and espouses traditional journalistic values. As National Journal's Chris Frates reports, in a changing world where Web is swiftly displacing print, is that what The Post needs? Read more


OBAMA TO CHICAGO. On Wednesday, President Obama will travel to Chicago for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee events. The president will remain overnight in Chicago.

BIDEN CONTINUES SOUTH AMERICAN TOUR. Vice President Joe Biden, after praising Colombia for its improved security Tuesday, will travel to Brazil as part of his South American tour. Foreign Policy has a round-up of some Bidenisms from the trip.


"I have no idea how a struggling newspaper has nine reporters covering us." – Anthony Weiner, on the New York Post's coverage of his campaign (BuzzFeed)


JEFFREY KATZENBERG: KINGMAKER FOR DEMOCRATS. Just how big was DreamWorks Animation CEO in deciding the 2012 election? Very big, as Mother Jones' Andy Kroll reports. It's estimated that Katzenberg gave or had a part in helping raise $30 million for President Obama's reelection bid, a good portion of which went to the Super PAC that for most of 2012 attacked Mitt Romney as a real-life C. Montgomery Burns. "It's hard to think of any other donor going back to the [1990s] or even further who did what he did," says Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation. "He's like soy sauce in Chinese food: He's everywhere." Next up for Katzenberg: hosting a fundraiser for Newark Mayor Cory Booker's 2014 Senate run. Read more


CAN YOU WIN AN ELECTION IF YOU'RE AGAINST GAY PEOPLE? A Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia who might have done well a decade ago now faces an increasingly tolerant electorate. Candidates with a known bias against homosexuals might now face close to the same impenetrable barrier to office as politicians biased against blacks, Jews, or women. Candidates known to be racist, anti-Semitic, or misogynistic are all effectively barred from winning elections in the 21st century—and homophobes might be joining that list, National Journal's Alex Roarty reports. Read more


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE KIDS FIND GRANDPA'S POT BROWNIES? Ever since medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2009, inventive entrepreneurs have been lacing sugary things with pot. Researchers wanted to know whether children have accidentally consumed marijuana and, in a recently published study, found that in one children's hospital in the state, the incidence of marijuana consumption in children younger than 12 hopped up from zero cases between 2005 and 2009 to 14 cases between 2009 and 2011. The number is small, but the authors find it to be statistically significant. Read more

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