New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had his best day in a long time on Thursday, delivering a well-received speech before a crowd of right-wing activists at this year's edition of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. But as has been the case throughout 2014 for the governor, there was bad news, too, with a new poll showing him trailing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical 2016 matchup.
Here's what you should know about Christie right now:
- Christie's CPAC speech was judged by most to have been a success. He focused only on the areas where he and the GOP's activist base already agree — their hatred of public employee unions, their opposition to abortion, and their disdain for President Obama — while gently pushing what has long been and remains his fundamental argument for nominating him in 2016: his electability.
- The reason we write that the speech was "judged by most to have been a success," rather than judged by all, is because a significant minority of conservative Republicans still weren't won over by Christie's charms. As a report from the Star-Ledger shows, these conservatives doubt Christie is truly one of them — and they see his Bridgegate scandal as proof of a supposedly unconservative willingness to abuse power.
- These activists may ultimately not have much to worry about, however, if polls like the latest from Fox News continue to show him losing to Hillary Clinton. Christie's whole argument is premised on his being the most electable candidate, after all, and it'll be hard for him to keep that up if he can't show he's a real threat to a possible candidate Clinton.