Christie snubs conservative event, attends Clinton forum instead - Dallas News |

Christie snubs conservative event, attends Clinton forum instead

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CHICAGO (Associated Press) -

Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is walking a political tightrope, trying to balance his re-election campaign in a Democratic-leaning state with a potential presidential bid aimed at winning over Republicans.

His latest challenge: Appearing with former President Bill Clinton in Chicago while potential rivals for the GOP nomination meet religious conservatives in Washington.

Christie has pitched himself as a pragmatic, bipartisan leader as he seeks a second term as governor this fall. His appearance Friday with the popular former president gives him a chance to talk about tackling problems like New Jersey's recovery from Superstorm Sandy.

In fact, the governor was reportedly invited to speak at this week's conservative Christian "Faith and Freedom Conference" in Washington with fellow Republicans Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul, but decided to accept the invitation for Clinton's "Conversation on Leadership" event instead.

Some strong-arm Republicans are reportedly watching and wondering why Christie is spending so much time with the other party publicly.

Bill Clinton says his forum is bipartisan and while being here may be a good political move for Christie, some pundits wonder if that decision could hurt him later—for instance, in 2016.

Republicans were ready to get rowdy when they saw their governor touring New Jersey with President Barack Obama just after Hurricane Sandy tore through the east coast and days before Obama defeated Mitt Romney in the election. Just last month, the president and the governor took another tour, again sparking the debate and question.

The two-day annual Global Initiative conference kicked off on Thursday with Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton touching on themes that could be part of a future Democratic presidential campaign.

She stressed the need for private and public partnerships to tackle issues like economic and educational inequality. She said climate change, "financial contagion," and nuclear proliferation were "too complex and cross-cutting" for any one government to solve alone.

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