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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chris Christie: The adult in the room?

Not the Chris Christie we saw last night.

Like it or not, Plainfielders and New Jerseyans generally, have a horse in the hotly contested GOP presidential primary run-up. So, how did Gov. Chris Christie do in the 2nd GOP debate on CNN Wednesday night?

Initially, it looked like Christie might not even get an oar in. After a brief answer a few minutes in, it was more than half an hour before he got a second chance to speak. Must have been frustrating for the former Livingston High jock to sit on the bench, waiting for a chance.

Although he criticized the other candidates for focusing on their achievements, he was guilty of the same tactic -- bombastically reminding everyone of how many bills he has vetoed, and what a chore it is to get up every morning being the GOP governor of a blue state.

I was curious what stance he would take, since the "brash boardwalk basher" role was usurped by Trump.

Turns out Christie decided to play "the adult in the room" which is definitely casting against type as far as he's concerned.

A couple of times he challenged his opponents to get off talking about themselves and start talking about the Democrats they will oppose in the general election. To no avail.

He can be thankful for one thing: The others were so busy trying to take down Trump that they failed to zing Christie with his own vulnerabilities, especially Bridgegate and now the Samson-United Airlines resignations mess.

While he might be relieved for the pass, it clearly means that the other candidates don't count him as a serious threat.

It seems the only out-and-out crash-and-burn of the evening was Gov. Scott Walker, not so much from any one flub as from failing to get any sparks flying.

Christie's campaign put a positive spin on the evening, insisting his performance will pay off for him over the coming weeks.

We will see. One thing is sure: No one thinks Christie was the star last night. That honor goes to Carly Fiorina.

For now, he is still the governor of New Jersey, whether or not he spends any time at it.

(For a roundup of debate stories, see today's CLIPS here.)

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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