Intimates of both men say the real story behind today’s event is the private friendship that has developed between the ex-president and a governor who would like to be president. The two have met, traded war stories, talked on the phone – all inside of four years since Clinton campaigned hard on behalf of then-Gov. Jon Corzine, the incumbent Christie beat in 2009.
People familiar with the private conversations between the governor and the former president said this is the second time Clinton invited Christie to play a starring role at the CGI gathering in Chicago. Christie had been tentatively scheduled to attend last year but was scrubbed from the final agenda. In other words, this particular bro-mance, they said, has been going on longer than Christie’s new, high-profile attachment to the current inhabitant of the White House, Barack Obama.
Insiders say the unlikely pair of Clinton and Christie started with Clinton taking note of Christie’s political acumen even as the ex-president was working against Christie…
Despite the speeches, Clinton had started noticing Christie’s tough talk and skill at sparring with reporters, sources said. Soon afterward, Christie again impressed the always-a-politician Clinton as the rookie governor battled New Jersey’s powerful teachers unions.