Chris Christie and President Obama

Chris Christie asked to give the State of the Union response, declines

The New Jersey governor chose not to follow the president tomorrow

Alex Pareene
January 24, 2011 11:01PM (UTC)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was offered the opportunity to deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union address, but he turned it down, according to ... a friend of Chris Christie. Not that I don't believe him, but it certainly feeds into the lovingly self-cultivated Christie myth to let it be revealed that he was asked to do this, but chose not to, in order to focus on important legislative issues at home in New Jersey.

Giving the response to the State of the Union seems like a big honor, and "rising stars" are often chosen to do it, but it's actually not a very good gig: There's no real upside, and lots of potential pitfalls. The response is always either forgotten, or remembered for the wrong reasons. Plus Christie only likes yelling at people on camera when they're in the same room as him -- shouting "you're the worst thing in the entire world ever, show me some respect" or whatever at an absent president would not be a good look.


Paul Ryan will deliver the Republican response instead, and he'll probably have charts and stuff. Then Michele Bachmann will deliver her own response, on the Internet, which will obviously be the only thing pundits actually pay attention to.

Christie was also invited to the Conservative Political Action Conference, and he turned that down, too. (That invite was confirmed by CPAC organizers.)

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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