On the Issue of Poverty, Chris Christie Hopes to Win Over Conservatives and Independents
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie turned his focus to poverty earlier this month after a GOP summit on the matter, telling CBS the issue "can be a difficult thing to talk about."
He also criticized federal efforts to combat poverty as ineffective -- a move experts say fits with his efforts to appeal to more conservative voters as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.
"Christie is trying to appeal first to conservative GOP primary voters," said Daniel Bowen, associate professor of political science at The College of New Jersey. "So his language about poverty focuses on removing the obstacles placed by big government and by implementing prudent fiscal policy."
If that strategy works and Christie wins the nomination, he might rediscover his moderate roots to appeal to a broader audience in the general election.
"There are really two versions of Chris Christie," said Matthew Hale, associate professor of political science at Seton Hall University. "When he was first elected governor, and throughout his first term, he embraced a number of positions -- immigration, quasi-reasonable gun control and choice -- that were successful in bringing Democrats over to the GOP."
Hale added that the governor likely will move back to the middle of the political spectrum if he gets the chance to run in the general election.But right now,
Christie may be more interested in showing Republicans that he's unafraid to reach out to voters who aren't traditionally attracted to the party. In the interview with CBS, he discussed going into places such as African-American churches and small Hispanic businesses while campaigning in New Jersey.
"He was speaking ... to the point that he has shown both that he was unafraid to campaign in these historically Democratic strongholds, and that he was successful in doing so," said Fran Moran, professor of political science at New Jersey City University.