March 30, 2014

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Latest News, New Jersey

RGA Chair Christie & GOP Governors Embarrass Themselves In Effort to Woo Right-Wing Billionaire

This weekend, Governors Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and John Kasich traveled to Las Vegas to meet with right-wing casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson.  In a bizarre attempt to win the “Sheldon Primary,” these governors fell over themselves praising Adelson, vying for his attention and affection.  While Walker and Kasich were busy throwing themselves before Adelson, Christie ended up insulting him in public before having to apologize later in a private meeting.

For RGA Chair Christie and his fellow Republican governors, this was a more embarrassing weekend than anyone could have imagined.

Here’s a sample of the coverage:

Chris Christie

Los Angeles Times: “For Christie, Saturday’s tryout showed the potential for missteps when governors wade into foreign policy at this early stage. During an otherwise warmly received speech, Christie’s mention of a helicopter flight over ‘occupied territories’ — terminology used by Israel’s critics — during his trip to Israel sent murmurs and whispers of surprise through the conservative audience.”

Politico: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie apologized to Sheldon Adelson in a meeting Saturday for stepping on a fault line in Middle East politics during a speech he gave earlier in the day… Not long after his speech, Christie met with Adelson privately in the casino mogul’s office in the Venetian hotel and casino, which hosted the RJC meeting. The source told POLITICO that Christie ‘clarified in the strongest terms possible that his remarks today were not meant to be a statement of policy.’”

Scott Walker

CNN: “Touting his executive experience and Wisconsin’s success, it certainly sounded like he was running for national office… Walker focused his speech on solutions the Republican Party can offer to problems facing the country… adding that the next GOP presidential nominee must be someone ‘from outside Washington.’”

Bloomberg: “GOP presidential candidates will assemble in Las Vegas competing for the attention, favor, and money of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is worth $38 billion. The marquee names…Chris Christie (New Jersey), Scott Walker (Wisconsin), and John Kasich (Ohio)… What’s happening this weekend is essentially a beauty pageant.”

CBS News: “Naturally, the potential candidates aren’t exactly racing to promote the idea that they’re kissing the ring of an influential billionaire in preparation for a presidential bid.”

Politico: “He did reach for cultural common ground with his audience by explaining that he lights a menorah at the governor’s mansion during Hannukah and named his son ‘Matthew’ which means “gift from God” in Hebrew.”

John Kasich

Las Vegas Review Journal: “Ohio Gov. John Kasich sucked up most directly and obviously to Adelson, mentioning him by name several times during his remarks, as if he was speaking only to the casino man.”

New York Times: “When Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio delivered a luncheon speech on Saturday to a crowd of several hundred, he repeatedly referred to ‘Sheldon,’ as if the billionaire were the only other person in the room.”

Time: “‘Hey, listen, Sheldon, thanks for inviting me,’ Kasich said as he closed his speech, bringing his Adelson mentions into the double-digits. ‘I don’t travel to these things much, but this was one that I thought was really, really important.’

Columbus Dispatch: “At times, Kasich sounded as if he were speaking only to Adelson, despite a crowd of hundreds and a national media presence at the Venetian.”

Plain Dealer: “The governor sat with Adelson before making his way to the stage, and for parts of the speech, it was like they were the only two in the room. Kasich name-checked ‘Sheldon’ repeatedly, a move that to many acknowledged the RJC conference for what it really is.”