The Iowa Caucuses are more than two years away, but–in New Jersey–the 2016 race is well underway. Chris Christie can still win it or lose it: he can drive himself out of a deep ditch and get back on the road to the White House, or he can be road kill.

“I know our citizens deserve better, much better,” said Gov. Christie.

Christie’s State of the State speech showed how tough a sell he has ahead of him, if he’s ever going to give a State of the Union. He spoke about lowering property taxes and improving schools, but what voters in New Jersey–and America–are wondering about is whether these traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge reflect his arrogance; his abuse of power; and his contempt for the citizens he was elected to serve. If too many voters decide they do, then Christie is cooked.

And he’s already being burned: a new poll shows the personal price he’s paying in how his state sees him: after Superstorm Sandy, 70% of New Jersey adults viewed him favorably…but now that number is down to 44%. Worse for Christie, 49% say he doesn’t have the right temperament to be president.  If character is destiny, then Christie has to change the public’s perception of his personality. And there’s no room for a relapse: to recover, everything he’s said must be true, and nothing can be found that directly ties him to the traffic tie ups at the George Washington bridge.

“We will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure this breach of trust does not happen again,” said Christie.

 Just for a moment, imagine you’re Chris Christie.

A week ago, you were a frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination.

Today, you’re fighting to stay politically alive.

So you’ll talk, and talk, and talk some more, not knowing how many people are listening, or how many believe you.

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