The Corner

The Establishment’s Frontrunner

GOP donors and bigwigs are rallying behind Christie:

“His early moves have been good,” says Steve Schmidt, a veteran Republican operative who managed the McCain-Palin presidential campaign. “He’s now looking at a decisive reelection victory this year in a blue state, and then he becomes chairman of the Republican Governors Association next year, which will enable him to build all of his relationships to an even greater extent than he has done already. There will always be commentary about [the Sandy controversy], but I don’t think a photograph from five years ago will be an issue in a primary that’s driven, as almost all Republican primaries have been, by electability over ideology.”

Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who encouraged Christie to run last year, agrees. In an interview, he tells me Christie remains a top-tier candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, owing to his willingness to wade into foreign policy and his ability to broaden the Republican coalition. “We’re friendly, and I think extremely highly of him, and he knows I’d be delighted if he became a national candidate,” he says. “Conservatives should recognize his long-term potential.” Christie’s work with Obama during the storm, he acknowledges, “might not have been the high point of his political career, but I was never angry about seeing him do what he needed to do for his state and his reelection.”

More here.

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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