2014-05-22T000736Z_1_CBREA4L00CU00_RTROPTP_2_USA

New Jersey's fiscal woes imperil an already-damaged Chris Christie

New Jersey Governor Christie is photographed during a news conference ahead of the Republican Governors Association meeting in ManhattanBy Edith Honan and Gabriel Debenedetti NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The scandal over a made-up study that badly disrupted traffic at the George Washington Bridge may not be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s biggest problem after all. Less than a year after the charismatic governor was the toast of the Republican Party and a leading contender to run for the White House in 2016, the story was supposed to be about a New Jersey economy that he had managed to turn around and budget problems he had been able to solve. At the same time, New Jersey’s economy is less than buoyant – its jobless rate is 6.9 percent, higher than the national rate of 6.3 percent. Christie had built up a picture of a savvy politician and efficient administrator who could reach out to his Democratic opponents and get them to help him solve the state’s problems, as he did in getting the support of President Barack Obama when Superstorm Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore in 2012.

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