His political standing damaged, Chris Christie seeks a new image

Seeking a path under those clouds, Christie, 52, has in recent months turned away from the fiscal battles that were the running theme of his first term and toward efforts designed to showcase the softer side of his politics, as well as his support among blacks and Hispanics. In his reelection campaign last year, Christie won 21 percent of the former’s vote and 51 percent of the latter.

His agenda at the state capitol has reflected the shift in tone, with a focus on issues that rarely lead GOP pitches, including moving drug addicts into treatment instead of jail and revamping bail laws.

The day after the game, in a speech to the state chapter of the NAACP, Christie touted a task force he has launched on drug abuse and a flurry of social policies that he has ushered to passage in the Democratic-controlled state legislature. He also spoke hopefully about a possible amendment to the state constitution on the Nov. 4 ballot that would enable judges to waive bail for the indigent in minor crimes.

“I don’t think second chances are just the domain of Democrats or Republicans,” Christie told the civil rights organizers, some of whom gave him a standing ovation. “From my perspective, we have sinners and wrongdoers aplenty in both parties.”