He hadn't even become the Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey yet. He was embroiled in a primary fight.
Yes, I heard much about him and I knew he was a tough federal prosecutor who had an incredible record of gaining convictions of those accused of corruption.
Chris Christie came to a small public gathering in the village of Medford in South Jersey. If there were 40 people at the outdoor event (in the town square) that was a lot. It was unseasonably warm day (much like today) and the sun shone brightly, casting strong shadows in the photos that I took.
Christie wore an open-collared, blue oxford-cotton Ralph Lauren shirt, khaki trousers and loafers -- just this side of preppy. Sans shades, he squinted in the sunlight.
The trappings consisted a a podium, a microphone and a Christie for Governor banner. That was it.
I'm an instinctive person. I can't help it. It's just the way I am.
I'm intuitive about people -- especially upon first meeting. I get a feeling about them -- sometimes good, sometime bad; but rarely in-between.
After the event, I rushed home to write about Chris Christie.
Here's what I wrote:
Chris Christie is his own person. He arrives without an entourage or a lot of trappings. His message is clear and he gets right to the point: New Jersey is broke and he's the man to fix it. We have to get our house in order. It won't be easy. But it must begin with cuts in state spending and tax cuts for all.I stand by everything that I wrote at that time.
And we've got to end New Jersey's culture of corruption. When Chris talks about ending corruption he speaks from experience. No prosecutor in recent memory has put more corrupt politicians in jail than this guy.
He's a one-man cleaning crew: a smart, tireless, dedicated champion of justice.
Chris Christie is exceptionally personable. Unlike our present socially-challenged Governor, Chris Christie is not awkward around people. In fact, he's a people person. He chats easily with everyone and is quick with a smile or a joke. . . . He's very human and takes time with each person that he meets.
Chris Christie knows how to be serious without being dour or droll. . . .
Chris Christie never underestimates the intelligence of his audience and we get the feeling he wouldn't even know how to begin to feign smugness.
We like Chris Christie. He's refreshing.
The vibes that we get from him are sound, positive.
Our instinct tells us he's the right person at the right place at the right time.
He can and should be the next Governor of New Jersey.
Photo of Chris Christie by Dan Cirucci, copyright 2009.