Several Democrats have been blasting Gov. Chris Christie for playing a starring role in those 'Stronger than the Storm' ads.

Governor Chris Christie holds State House press conference. (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)
Governor Chris Christie holds State House press conference. (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

Published reports reveal the Christie Administration paid a politically connected public relations firm $2.2 million more than another bidder that wasn't going to use Christie or his family in the commercials. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. Barbara Buono is the chief critic and now Christie is firing back.

One of the things New Jersey lobbied President Barack Obama and Congress for was money to be able to advertise that the shore is open for business this summer. Christie says once that was okayed, $25 million was turned over to the State Economic Development Authority, which put together a committee to pick the most qualified company to run the campaign and they selected MWW.

"I don't know whether Sen. Buono's spoken to people in the business community at the shore, but I have and they love the campaign," says Christie. "The campaign has been great not only in terms of the TV advertising, but (also) its marketing. That's all I cared about in the end was that it was done and it was done the right way……..I have no second thoughts about it. I didn't make the decision, but I certainly don't second guess the decision."

According to Buono, her only political motivation is the "ethically questionable" decision by the Governor's administration to spend an extra $2 million on what amounts to a campaign advertisement.

"Rather than promoting himself, he (Christie) should spend more time making sure middle class families who have been waiting for months to get their grants approved can finally begin rebuilding their homes," says Buono. "I repeat my call for the Governor to donate $2 million from his campaign to go to Sandy relief. It's the least that he can do to make this right."

The Governor dismisses Buono and her fellow critics calling them a flailing and struggling group of candidates. He also insists the ad campaign is working.

"I was sitting in a restaurant last night (Sunday) in Seaside Park and when my family and I walked in three couples at the table two down from us started singing 'Stronger than the Storm,'" explains Christie. "I think it's a pretty effective campaign. People get it."


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