2014-02-26T220852Z_1_CBREA1P1PIX00_RTROPTP_2_USA

Embattled New Jersey Governor Christie finds friendly crowd at familiar forum

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie responds to a question during a town hall meeting in SterlingBy Edith Honan STIRLING, New Jersey (Reuters) – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has endured months of political fire for a traffic scandal that has brought down some top aides, visited a conservative corner of his state on Wednesday for a town hall intended to show off his charisma. In his second such meeting since the “Bridgegate” scandal broke, voters were warm to Christie, a Republican seen as a likely 2016 White House contender, saying they respected his leadership even after learning that aides ordered the closure of three lanes of traffic on the George Washington Bridge in an act of apparent political retribution. “I love the governor and I really want to support him through these troubled times,” said Dorothy Burger, who said she was active in local Republican politics in the suburb of Stirling, located about 30 miles west of New York City. “I think the Democrats want to damage him as a presidential candidate.” Christie has slid in polls of Republican voters since news of his aides’ role in the scandal broke, going from leading a November CNN/Opinion Research poll with the support of almost one-in-four registered Republican voters to trailing former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee by four points in a similar poll released early this month.

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