Christie ad shows a huggable governor

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has rolled out the first TV ad (see above) of his re-election campaign against Democrat Barbara Buono.

    With Christie’s big lead in polls and fundraising, it’s no surprise that the spot takes no notice of his opponent. It’s all about him — his leadership and first-term accomplishments.

    There’s no combative Chris Christie giving it back to hecklers here.

    The images are soft. Christie hugs two different people in 30 seconds, a Democrat (Chesilhurt Mayor Michael Blunt) and a victim of Superstorm Sandy.

    The ad’s claims about Christie’s record were quickly challenged by the Buono campaign.

    For example, the ad states New Jersey now has “the most education funding ever,” while Buono says Christie cut funding a billion dollars in his first year and schools still haven’t recovered. Who’s right?

    “Well, they’re both kind of right.” said John Mooney, founder of the New Jersey policy website NJSpotlight.

    Mooney said Christie faced a tough situation when he arrived at the Statehouse, and cut funding sharply. While it’s been restored in dollar terms, in terms of real, inflation-adjusted spending, schools still aren’t all the way back.

    Another point: The ad claims Christie has “a cap on property taxes that’s working.” Buono says property taxes have risen 20 percent.

    Mooney says it’s true Christie’s 2 percent cap on real estate tax hikes has limited rate increases, but his cuts of property tax rebates have had a bigger impact

    “When you count out the full net effect, folks are paying considerably more than they were under Gov. Corzine,” Mooney said.

    For a fast and fair truth-squadding of the ad, see this piece by the Star Ledger’s Jenna Portnoy, and this from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Katz.

    The election is Nov. 5.

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