*What politician aiming for success wouldn’t want an endorsement from Shaquille O’Neal (you know, the 7’1, 300 pound, retired basketball player?)
The “Icy Hots” spokesman and pedlar of “Shaq Soda” obviously commands the respect of political circles nationwide, right?
That explains why Gov. Chris Christie welcomed the jolly giant to his office in the Statehouse in Trenton recently. After the sit-down, Shaq proceeded to shower Christie with praise (via Twitter and the advert below), calling him ‘a great man.’
That Shaq must be one intuitive guy to judge a man’s character in under an hour. Impressive.
The endorsement was first reported by The Daily Beast.
The 30-second spot features O’Neal talking straight to the camera, explaining his support.
“I don’t endorse many politicians. But Chris Christie is different,” O’Neal said. “Governor Christie’s provided more funding for schools, given [sic] parents more choices in what schools their kids can go to, and merit pay for good teachers.”
The two met last March to discuss O’Neal’s participation in the state’s ongoing gun buyback programs, and he has taken an interest in civic affairs since retiring from basketball in 2011.
*Governor Chris Christie may be a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney who said he’s get rid of FEMA, but the man who presides over Super Storm Sandy battered New Jersey, had nothing but praise for President Obama and FEMA.
The Governor made his comments on the morning TV shows including ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“I have to say, the administration, the president, himself and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate have been outstanding with us so far,” Christie said on Good Morning America. “We have a great partnership with them.”
Christie told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that Obama called him on Monday night around midnight to ask if there was anything else the federal government could do to help. Christie added that they worked together to move forward with a Major Disaster Declaration for New Jersey.
The Major Disaster Declaration provides funding for recovery efforts, including infrastructure projects, temporary housing, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property loss and assistance to individuals and businesses.
*During an appearance on Sunday’s “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker spoke on a variety of topics – from his political future, to his diet, to his headline-making rescue of a neighbor from a burning building earlier this year.
According to The Star-Ledger, host Oprah Winfrey taped the show in April and therefore did not deal with the mayor’s attack last week on President Obama’s re-election campaign or his subsequent walk-back on YouTube.
When asked if he would someday run for president, he said, “No, it’s not something I can visualize right now,” adding “I don’t know if I’ll run for a third term. I don’t know if I’ll run for a higher office. I don’t know if I’ll do something outside of politics.”
Booker has been mulling a run for U.S. Senate against Sen. Frank Lautenberg in 2014 and is often mentioned as a contender to run against Gov. Chris Christie, according to the Star-Ledger.
Winfrey asked about the relationship between the mayor and governor.
“He said that the two of you are in contact quite often,” Winfrey said.
“I texted him today and he texted me right back,” Booker responded.
Booker said that his relationship with Christie was born of pragmatism.
“We have a lot of things that we disagree on and in a lot of ways we’re different. But the urgencies that I feel, I’m dependent upon the state,” Booker said. “If I want to put a shovel in the ground here in Newark I’ve got to get some state permit to do something.”
Winfrey pressed Booker on whether Newark was a “pit-stop” for him on the way to other ambitions — a long-simmering suspicion of many Newarkers.
“I came to Newark as a young man in my mid-20’s,” Booker said. “I’m now approaching my mid-40’s. This has been about two decades of a so-called pit stop. I owe my life in many ways to the city of Newark. I always say I wasn’t born here, but I’m very likely going to die here.”
*MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” got heated this morning when Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart spontaneously jumped in and harshly grilled New Jersey governor Chris Christie on his position on gay marriage, reports the Huffington Post.
Christie was defending his decision to veto gay marriage in New Jersey and put it to a popular vote. He said that he has “exact same position as the president” on civil unions. “My feet are firmly planted right next to President Obama’s,” he said.
Capehart, who had merely been on set for an earlier segment on Willie Geist’s show, had apparently gasped at the remarks off-camera. Co-host Mika Brzezinski noticed his extreme reaction, and had him weigh in. Capehart’s appearance seemed to catch Christie, who looked surprised, off-guard.
The columnist, who is openly gay, challenged Christie’s claim. “The key difference between you and the President is while you support putting the civil rights of a minority up for a public referendum, the president is certainly not in favor of that,” Capehart said.
Christie pushed back. “Has he said that?” he asked about Obama’s position. “I haven’t heard him say that… he’s silent on the issue, like he’s silent on every issue that’s difficult for him.”
Capehart insisted that that was not true. “He’s not silent on this,” Capehart countered. “The president and the Justice Department have made it clear that they believe that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.” Then he asked whether Christie would support the legislation as president.
Christie tried to challenge Capehart’s argument, but the columnist pressed him to answer the question. Capehart’s persistence seemed to annoy Christie, who snapped, “First of all, I used to be a prosecutor. I don’t know if you did too, but I’m not going to be cross-examined by you this morning.”
“I’m having fun trying,” Capehart responded.
“And you’re going to lose,” Christie shot back. “So let’s just move on.”
Capehart would not let up, and Christie proceeded to say that he had made his position on gay marriage clear. “Let’s have the President of the United States show some courage, come on this program, look into the camera like I’m looking into the camera, and state his position,” he said. “At least I’m standing up to what I believe in.”