When President Obama arrives in Camden, New Jersey today, Governor Chris Christie will be nowhere in sight, as he already has a trip to New Hampshire planned.
The president is scheduled to visit the Camden County police department to highlight the improved police culture as a model for the nation. Christie, however, has plans for a speech on foreign policy at noon followed by a town hall later in the day at the VFW in Hudson, New Hampshire.
New Jersey’s Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno is expected to welcome Obama in Camden instead.
This will be Obama’s fourth public appearance in New Jersey as president, after famously visiting Atlantic City with Christie to witness the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy right before his re-election in 2012. In 2013, Obama visited the Jersey Shore to view the rebuilding efforts and in 2014 he visited the New Jersey Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst for a speech recognizing the military.
Christie welcomed Obama each time to the state and attended public events with the president.
In 2012, Christie defended praising Obama, even though that upset many Republicans who criticized him for boosting Obama ahead of his re-election against Gov. Mitt Romney.
“If the president of United States comes here and he’s willing to help my people and he does it then I’m gonna say nice things about him because he’s earned it,” he told reporters after that presidential visit.
In 2013, Christie played carnival games with Obama on the Jersey Shore during his visit, later boasting that he “kicked the president’s ass” in a game that featured throwing a football.
In 2014, Christie joined Obama for his event, citing a common goal of praising the troops.
“Recognizing the sacrifices of our men and women in the military always comes before politics, so Governor Christie will be there to thank the tens of thousands of service members who call this New Jersey base home,” Christie’s political spokesperson Mike DuHaime indicated at the time.
But Christie will not be present to welcome Obama at the airport today, even though the turnaround in Camden is one that he himself has touted as a model for the nation.
“There is no better example of what we can achieve if we put aside party and pettiness than the results we are seeing in Camden,” said Christie in his State of the State address in January.
“Hope and optimism are up — fear of failure is down,” he said at the time.