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N.J. Gov. Christie isn’t complaining about ward bosses now

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greets President Barack Obamas he arrives Wednesday Atlantic City.  |  Jewel Samad~AFP/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie greets President Barack Obama as he arrives Wednesday in Atlantic City. | Jewel Samad~AFP/Getty Images

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Updated: December 2, 2012 2:10PM



Somewhere in the Kelly-green fields of heaven, Richard J. Daley is chuckling. The kid from Chicago, Barack Obama, learned his lessons well.

New Jersey, after all, isn’t that much different from Chicago. And hurricanes are to Jersey boardwalks what blizzards are to Chicago alleys. You can’t control Mother Nature, but when you’ve got an army of Streets and San or FEMA workers at your beck and call, you just have to know how to use them.

So when the going gets tough, who gets going?

Ward bosses.

Those same guys New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was bashing back in the summer of this presidential campaign.

“The president is nothing more than a Chicago ward politician,” the corpulent Christie bellowed.

Now his bellows have mellowed.

This week, Christie is praising the president’s response to the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy. Now his vocabulary is peppered with the words like “wonderful” and “outstanding” in talking about the Democrat who is commander-in-chief. Haven’t heard “ward politician” issue forth from Christie’s mouth.

Ward bosses are easy targets. We love to hate them. Let the garbage pile up or the streets go unplowed and they rightly incur our wrath.

But what is a sweeter sound on a frozen Chicago morning than the blade of a front-end loader scraping through a thoroughfare buried under 12 inches of snow?

Or, in New Jersey, the sound of government workers digging out and drying out devastated homes and businesses?

As a state senator, U.S. senator and president, Obama has never come close to the cigar-chomping caricature of a Chicago ward heeler.

For those of us who have been around a while, guys like Big Ed Quigley, Vito Marzullo and “Wild Bill” Henry come immediately to mind.

But Obama is proving that even Hyde Park/Harvard knows how to operate like a ward boss when the road to re-election is paved by keeping the streets clean and the citizenry safe.

Yep, the kid from Chicago, as Richard J. might say, learned his lesson well.

And in every newspaper and on every TV Wednesday were pictures of the Democratic president and the Republican governor touring the devastation and plotting a plan to clean it all up. And keep their political futures bright.

“We’ve had enough of Chicago ward politics in the Oval Office,” Christie said back in August.

Apparently not anymore.



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