Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has drawn - and denied - whispers of a 2012 challenge to President Obama. But if the governor is threatening to unseat anyone now, it's tween heart-throb and unofficial reigning king of YouTube Justin Bieber.
Among conservative fans, the outspoken New Jersey governor is a YouTube sensation. His union-blasting town hall speeches have become a popular source of entertainment for advocates of fiscal restraint and limited government - and it seems Christie knows it.
"The cameras are rolling," he chuckled in answer to a June town hall attendee who asked what he thought of the New Jersey Board of Education's ill-treatment of a board member supporting his agenda. "YouTube is waiting, ok?"
Instead of posting benign videos of ribbon-cuttings or stump speeches on his YouTube channel, the governor's staff uploads snippets of his most blunt moments on the video-sharing website. According to New York Magazine, a staffer follows Christie just to capture those off-the-cuff comments.
"As I'm sure everyone has read in the newspapers, there's an epidemic of lock-picking going on in New Jersey, and our legislature sprung to action," he says in an Oct. 26 video shot at a Monmouth, NJ town hall, sarcastically listing laws regulating denture labels and lock-picking penalties among the legislature's latest accomplishments. "Seventy percent increase in property taxes in the last ten years - that can wait. That lock-picking thing, though, get on that baby right away. And they say that I'm impatient...I plead guilty." The posting drew over 57,000 views.
His response to a teacher complaining at a September Raritan Township town hall that the Christie administration had "done nothing but lambaste" educators attracted over 766,000 views. Christie told the teacher, "If what you want to do is put on a show and giggle every time I talk, well then, I have no interest in answering your question," adding, "You know, I'm very direct, and I'm going to say exactly what I think, and sometimes you can agree with it, and sometimes you'll disagree with it. That's who I am."
A Nov. 10 video finds Christie crediting his outspoken Irish father and late Sicilian mother for teaching him how to speak his mind. "She taught me, don't leave things unsaid. Be yourself today, and tomorrow you won't have to worry about whether you got it right or wrong, and who you told what version of the truth to," he says. "You just have to be yourself every day. That's what I'm going to be as governor for every minute you give me the honor of being it."