The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 17, 2014

Five myths about Chris Christie

Everybody thinks they know Chris Christie. With his big mouth and bigger personality, the New Jersey governor has had no problem attracting national attention. But false narratives are already growing up around him - and are at risk of multiplying as we head toward the 2016 presidential race. So let's set the record straight on a few myths.

1. He's a RINO.

Yes, Christie has hung out with President Barack Obama - twice. The president's first visit, six days before the 2012 election, included the instantly famous bro-hug on the Atlantic City tarmac. During the second visit, in May, Christie high-fived Obama after a football-toss game and then joined him for a rally.

But Christie has governed New Jersey as a mostly by-the-book Republican. He refused to raise taxes on millionaires. He rejected a longtime allocation for Planned Parenthood clinics five times. And he provided $2.1 billion in subsidies and grants for corporations.

While the governor touts his bipartisan credentials, he doesn't agree with Democrats on their liberal causes: If it were up to him, there wouldn't be same-sex marriage (he vetoed a gay-marriage bill before dropping a futile court challenge), nor a higher minimum wage (he opposed a successful ballot measure raising it). Christie has also been vocal about the alleged scourge of public unions, and he bows to the education reform gods.

RINO (Republican in name only) watchers will say he hasn't rolled back gun-control laws, but New Jersey is so anti-gun that any such attempt would only destroy his political capital. And while he recently signed a bill allowing in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants, so did Texas Gov. Rick Perry - and no one calls him a RINO.

2. He's a bully who can't keep his anger in check.

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