Matt Katz, New Jersey Public Radio
On Wednesday, the day after his State of the State speech, Governor Christie’s daily schedule announced he would have no public appearances.
Last year, it was a very different Chris Christie. On the morning after his State of the State speech Christie was interviewed on the two biggest TV network morning shows – The Today Show and Good Morning America, plus Morning Joe on MSNBC and Imus In The Morning on Fox Business Network. He followed it up with a news conference down the Shore.
Likewise, on the morning after the 2012 State of the State address, Christie appeared on CBS's This Morning and Imus In The Morning. He did a town hall meeting in the afternoon.
Also, this year, there was no Christie video released the morning of the speech. Often, his staff posts a YouTube video beforehand that sounds and looks like a movie trailer meant to build excitement. And this year’s speech didn’t sound like Chris Christie, either. Gone were the claims that he had transformed New Jersey from a broken state into a model for the nation. Instead, Christie began with an apology for bridgegate.
"Without a doubt we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure this breach of trust does not happen again," he said. "But I also want to assure the people of New Jersey today that what has occurred does not define us or our state."
Patrick Murray, political scientist at Monmouth University, conducted a poll last weekend showing that Christie’s approval rating had dipped in the wake of the scandal involving close aides orchestrating a traffic jam as part of a political retaliation scheme.
His speech reflected that. There was just one new policy proposal, no laugh lines, and no attacks on his political enemies.
"There was no bombast," Murray said.
It’s only been weeks since the Republican governor won re-election in a blue state by 22 points. He took 51 percent of the Hispanic vote, propelling him to front-runner status for the Republican presidential primary in 2016. And he became chairman of the highly influential Republican Governors Association.
After the scandal broke, Christie had a tough weekend, associates say. But he is moving on from this -- slowly. He will be down the Shore tomorrow to make a Sandy aid announcement, reprising his role as New Jersey's leader but not taking questions from the press. And on Saturday he will try to get his mojo back as a Republican player by headlining a $1000-a-head fundraiser in Florida.
But Christie will continue to wince for the near future. Democrats have hired an attorney who investigated and successfully prosecuted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. And if all of that wasn't bad enough, Christie is now enduring public ridicule from the Boss -- the one who really matters.
Christie’s favorite late-night host, Jimmy Fallon, and his idol, Bruce Springsteen, did a "Born To Run" parody just hours after his state of the state address. It's called "Gov. Christie's Traffic Jam":
Sprung from cages on Highway 9 we got three lanes closed so Jersey get your ass in line.
Whoah baby this bridgegate was just payback, a bitch-slap to the state Democrats.
We gotta get out while we can. We're stuck in Gov. Chris Christie's Fort Lee New Jersey traffic jam.
Christie, who has attended more than 130 Springsteen concerts, plays a lot of Bruce while working in his Statehouse office. And so he may find some solace in Springsteen’s new album, released on the day of his State of the State address. It’s called…"High Hopes."