- CHRIS CHRISTIE ON SANDY AID BILL: ‘IT’S NEVER DONE, ‘TILL IT’S DONE’ New Jersey governor Chris Christie was cautiously optimistic on Wednesday morning that Congress will be able to pass a federal relief aid for the victims of superstorm Sandy. “I met with the congressional delegation yesterday, I’m hopeful” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America.” “But at the end of the day, it’s never done ’till it’s done….It’s never done ’till it’s done but I’m going to keep the pressure on.” Christie, who had particularly pointed criticism at House Republicans after the relief bill was held up in the lower chamber told George, “Sandy is and was above politics. There are certain things that happen in our lives that have to be above politics and both parties should rise above, as hard as that is for them sometimes,” he said. “I’d like them to learn to listen. Listen to people in my state, listen to the people in the state of New York. They’re suffering, they’re hurting, and they don’t understand why they’ve had to wait seven times longer than the victims of Katrina to get any federal aid.” http://abcn.ws/WN9dqF (h/t ABC’s Elizabeth Hartfield)
- TODAY AT THE WHITE HOUSE: President Obama has no public events today, but Vice President Biden plans to meet with representatives of victims’ groups and gun safety organizations as part of the Obama Administration’s effort to develop policy proposals in response to the tragedy in Newtown, ABC’s Mary Bruce notes. Attorney General Eric Holder will also attend. Later this afternoon, President Obama hosts cast and crew members of the new television show “1600 Penn” for a screening at the White House.
- TODAY IN WASHINGTON: The National Governors Association leadership — NGA Chair Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, and NGA Vice Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican — will deliver the association’s inaugural State of the States address. According to the NGA, “The speech is expected to review current conditions and challenges faced by states and highlight the collective vision of governors’ priorities for 2013.” The address takes place at the National Press Club in Washington, DC at 10 a.m.
In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos this morning, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, one of the most talked-about potential 2016 presidential candidates, said it would be “crazy” for anybody to try to “plan four years from now.”
But, it’s hard to take him at his word.
“The fact of the matter is I’m going to follow the advice my mother gave me, which is to do the job that you have right now as well as you can do it and the future will take care of itself,” Christie said in the “Good Morning America” interview. “What I want to do now is be the governor of New Jersey, as I said, for the last three years, I’d like to do it for the next four.”
Christie, who already had one of the most prominent public profiles in the country, has stepped squarely into the spotlight in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the Congressional debate over passing a relief package for residents of the affected states.
“One thing I hope everyone in America now clearly understands — New Jersey, both Republicans and Democrats, will never stand silent when our citizens are being short changed,” the outspoken governor said in his State of the State address in Trenton yesterday.
This week Christie is also enjoying the Time Magazine cover treatment under the enormous headline, “The Boss” and “the master of disaster.”
As ABC’s Shushannah Walshe reports, a Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll released Monday, showed that 73 percent of registered New Jersey voters approved of the job the governor was doing. In November, Christie officially announced his intention to run for re-election as governor, quickly raising more than $2 million for his bid. http://abcn.ws/13fbpgZ
None of the recent publicity means that Christie doesn’t face steep hurdles nationally, particularly among conservative Republicans who are still steamed that he choose to embrace President Obama after Sandy hit — so close to last November’s presidential election. But he enjoys a celebrity factor that most other possible GOP presidential hopefuls can only dream of.
Democrats, of course, will be spending the next few years preparing an arsenal of opposition research against him.
Nevertheless, speaking to Stephanopoulos today, Christie said he believes he will be more prepared to run in 2016 than he was in 2016. “I will be more ready than I was in 2012 because I will have done my job for longer and hopefully gotten better,” he said.
Watch a clip of George’s “Good Morning America” interview: http://abcn.ws/UW5ERq
MORE FROM CHRISTIE’S STATE OF THE STATE: Yesterday Gov. Christie urged Washington, D.C., to deliver quick financial relief to the state in a speech that was at times reminiscent of the angry dressing down he gave members of his own party, notably House Speaker John Boehner last week, when Boehner decided not to bring a $60 billion Sandy aid bill to the floor, despite assuring northeastern Republicans he would, ABC’s Shushannah Walshe reports. “We have waited 72 days, seven times longer than victims of Hurricane Katrina waited,” Christie said. “The people of New Jersey are in need and not from their own actions but from an act of God that delivered a natural, human, and financial disaster — and let me say on behalf of all New Jerseyans we are thankful to the people of America for honoring the tradition of providing relief.” http://abcn.ws/13fbpgZ
ABC’s RICK KLEIN: The gun debate is moving in the states before it moves at the federal level – but the real surprise to some observers is that it’s moving at all. For all the considerable obstacles to action – and the NRA isn’t going to be cowed by Gabby Giffords and Michael Bloomberg and Andrew Cuomo — the post-Connecticut environment really does seem different. The country has moved on to other distractions, as it always does, but the political class is keeping guns top of mind. Vice President Joe Biden’s task force may be the rare Washington commission that actually gets something done.
ABC’s AMY WALTER: Indulge me, please, as I join many of my political colleagues in paying tribute to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer, who died Monday at age 62. As many of my peers have shared on Twitter, Facebook and in print, the former Philadelphia Inquirer journalist’s political tome, “What It Takes,” inspired us to take up political journalism. But, for me, the book that chronicled the lives of the men who ran for president in 1988 represents an era of political journalism that is, sadly, fading away. Cramer focused on the personal stories of the men who wanted to be president, not simply on the process behind the campaigns. Through exhaustive research, Cramer found a way to uncover every nook and cranny of the lives of Joe Biden, Gary Hart, Michael Dukakis, Richard Gephardt, Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush. To be sure, Cramer did not set out to make these guys look like saints. Far from it. But he wanted us to understand what made them do what only a tiny fraction of Americans will ever do: wake up one day and say “I can be president.” http://abcn.ws/UGXMWH
WHERE HAGEL DIFFERS FROM OBAMA ON IRAN SANCTIONS. Not everyone is so pleased that President Obama nominated former Senate colleague Chuck Hagel, a Republican, as the next secretary of defense, ABC’s Chris Good notes. Some of that has to do with Iran sanctions. Groups like the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Emergency Committee for Israel have noted that Hagel opposed them repeatedly when he was a senator — a big no-no among Israel hawks. ECI, meanwhile, has blasted Hagel for opposing military action against Iran as irresponsible. Iran sanctions came up during the presidential race last year, as Mitt Romney and Republicans blasted Obama for going the multilateral route, eschewing U.S.-originated unilateral sanctions and instead gathering international support. While one might assume that Hagel falls neatly in line with this Obama sanctions paradigm — multilateral good, unilateral less effective — it’s worth noting that Hagel found himself on the opposite side of Iran-sanctions bills from Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and new secretary of state nominee John Kerry. Read more: http://abcn.ws/10ep759
RICHARD NIXON AT 100. Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of 37th President Richard Nixon, notes ABC’s Sarah Parnass. Born in a farmhouse in Yorba Linda, Calif., in 1913, who could have known the Nixon baby would go on to be one of America’s most influential and disgraced presidents of all time? ABC News political analyst Cokie Roberts and Nixon scholars insist: Nixon’s legacy is larger than Watergate. He revolutionized foreign relations, set a foundation for modern environmental regulations and even advanced women’s rights. Read more about Nixon’s accolades and what biographer Bob Bostock says the president himself would call his “valleys.” http://abcn.ws/11f5adM
IN THE NOTE’S INBOX:
–CONSERVATIVES TAKE AIM AT MITCH MCCONNELL. The online conservative group, ForAmerica, announced the launch of one of the first ads of the 2014 cycle today targeting Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., according to a release from the group and its chairman Brent Bozell. The ad titled, “Whose Side Are You On,” is running in his home state of Kentucky via Google Display and on the Drudge Report, FoxNews.com, The Daily Caller and through Facebook. According to a source, the initial buy is online only and five figures. The ad’s website invites people to “to let McConnell and congressional Republicans know conservatives are watching and will hold accountable those who go against the principles they claim to support!” http://www.foramerica.org/
@jess_mc: 2014 cycle all about the governors…and the many many Dem women who should have those jobs.