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POLITICS: PennAve

Chris Christie set to strike softer tone in second inaugural speech

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New Jersey,2016 Elections,Chris Christie,PennAve,Rebecca Berg,Bridge Scandal

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday will deliver his second inaugural address with a softer, more conciliatory tone not usually associated with his brash, no-nonsense brand of politics.

"We cannot fall victim to the attitude of Washington, D.C., the attitude that says 'I am always right and you are always wrong,' " Christie, a Republican, will tell New Jersey residents, according to an excerpt released by his office ahead of the speech. "The attitude that puts everyone into a box they are not permitted to leave. The attitude that puts political wins ahead of policy agreements. The belief that compromise is a dirty word."

Christie, who will deliver his remarks from the Trenton War Memorial, is using his address to the state to present a more conciliatory side just when he is being dogged by questions over a politically motivated bridge closing intended to punish a political foe.

"As your governor," Christie is expected to say, "I will always be willing to listen, as long as that listening ends in decisive action for the people counting on us.”

The shift is calculated. In the three weeks since Christie's top aides were tied to a scheme to create a traffic jam by closing access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, Christie presided over a two-hour press conference in which he apologized profusely, fired two aides and denied any knowledge of the plot. In his State of the State address last week, he vowed to "cooperate with all appropriate inquiries."

But that controversy shows no signs of abating soon for Christie, a potential 2016 presidential contender. The Democratically controlled New Jersey legislature continues to investigate the bridge scheme, and last week announced a new round of subpoenas targeting a number of Christie's closest advisers.

Meanwhile, Christie faces attacks from other fronts.

Federal officials are now investigating whether Christie misused Hurricane Sandy relief funds when he used some of the money to fund tourism commercial starring Christie and his family during an election year. And Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer has accused Christie's administration of threatening to withhold relief funds for political reasons -- an allegation Lt. Gov. Kim Gaudagno has dismissed as "false" and "illogical."

If Christie was hoping to find a respite in a planned inaugural celebration at Ellis Island on Tuesday evening, he's already out of luck. The event was canceled because of a snowstorm bearing down on the East Coast.

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Author:

Rebecca Berg

Political Correspondent
The Washington Examiner