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NYT Mag: Chris Christie Is ‘Truth-Teller,’ ‘Demagogue,’ Or ‘Maybe Even A Little Of Both’

This weekend, The New York Times Magazine profiles New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a story written by Matt Bai and filled with fascinating detail–and a few jibes at Christie’s weight. Bai describes how the “fleshy” governor “lumbers a few steps toward the audience” during a speech that captures some of Christie’s entertainingly non-political way of speaking to crowds: “Now, you’re all laughing, right?” he says. “But this is the crap I have to hear.”

Bai describes Christie–who continues to insist he’s not running for president in 2012–as a determined master of retail politics. “Like a stand-up comedian working out-of-the-way clubs, Chris Christie travels the townships and boroughs of New Jersey­, places like Hackettstown and Raritan and Scotch Plains, sharpening his riffs about the state’s public employees, whom he largely blames for plunging New Jersey into a fiscal death spiral.” Bai concludes that in unions, Christie “has found the ideal adversary for this moment of economic vertigo,” and concludes:

“It may just be that Christie has stumbled onto the public-policy issue of our time, which is how to bring the exploding costs of the public workforce in line with reality… Then again, he may simply be the latest in a long line of politicians to give an uneasy public the scapegoat it demands. Depending on your vantage point, Chris Christie is a truth-teller or a demagogue, or maybe even a little of both.”

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