Things to know about Christie’s presidential announcement
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is announcing Tuesday that he's running for president, a move that's long been in the works. He's joining a crowded field with 13 other major Republicans already in the race and at least two more expected to join.
Following is a look at Christie, his campaign, the announcement setting and what it means.
CHRISTIE IN A NUTSHELL
Christie, 52, is a former federal prosecutor who has twice been elected governor in his heavily Democratic New Jersey. He's taken on a string of issues that have long been seen as key for the state. Among them: capping growth of local property taxes, making teacher tenure protections harder to get and easier to lose and attempting to make the pension systems for public workers more sustainable. With economic growth relatively slow in the state and Christie repeatedly vetoing tax increases, the governor has not made the pension fund contributions to which he agreed.
Christie's second term, which began a year and a half ago, has been a bigger challenge than his first. The Democrats who control the state Legislature have been less willing to go along with his policies, and the George Washington Bridge scandal has loomed in the background. A former staffer for Christie, an appointee and a former loyalist have all been accused of closing lanes to the bridge from the community of Fort Lee for political retribution against the mayor there. Christie has maintained that he had no role or knowledge of it and has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
THE CAMPAIGN THEME
Christie is known for being brash, blunt and -- some have said -- a bully. His campaign is using that Jersey-guy reputation, branding him as the candidate who is "telling it like it is." Expect to see a lot more of that as Christie introduces himself to the nation.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT SETTING
Christie is heading to the gym at Livingston High School to announce his White House run. His family moved to suburban Livingston from Newark just before Christie started kindergarten and he went to school there through high school. He was class president and catcher for the baseball team. Christie regularly talks about teachers who helped him when he was a student there.
HOW DEMOCRATS ARE PLAYING IT
New Jersey Democrats are trying to use Christie's presidential run to their advantage. They're using it in a fundraising campaign. And Monday, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto joined state Democratic Committee Chairman John Currie and other Democratic activists bashing Christie's record during a conference call with reporters. Prieto said Christie should step down as governor if he's running for president. "There's a job that you have to do, and I think you should be here rolling up your sleeves and doing the right thing for the people of New Jersey," he said.
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