Zuckerberg hosts fundraiser for NJ Gov. Chris Christie

February 13, 2013 6:43:40 PM PST
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is in town, generating some publicity and an awful lot of money. He will meet and greet at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's house in a Palo Alto neighborhood off University Avenue.

The Facebook founder and the New Jersey governor have been friends for several years. While on Oprah in 2010, Zuckerberg donated $100 million to New Jersey public schools.

Zuckerberg, who has declined to state any political affiliation, also hosted a town hall for President Obama. But Wednesday night is the first time he's thrown a political fundraiser. And it certainly raises Chris Christie's profile in Silicon Valley.

Meg Whitman is another tech supporter of Christie's. And in a run for the White House, our political analyst says a base of support in the Bay Area could serve Christie well.

"We've seen it already in some of the elections in California, they can put up a lot of money for moderate Republican candidates," said ABC7 News political analyst Bruce Cain, P.hD.

Chris Christie will need cash. The pictures of him standing with the president after Superstorm Sandy won't play well with conservative Republicans who represent a significant percentage in primaries.

Much more to the conservatives liking, and along with Christie, one of the most popular among GOP contenders is Florida Senator Marco Rubio. But on Tuesday night in his response to the State of the Union, Rubio missed an opportunity.

And no it wasn't just the awkward water moment. Rubio spent his 15 minutes in the national spotlight rehashing arguments from the Romney campaign.

"This was his chance to introduce himself to a national audience and I don't think he did himself any favors," Cain said.

Christie's appearance at Zuckerberg's home is drawing protests from the California-based progressive organization Credo. They are unhappy about the head of Facebook raising money for a governor who has cut funding for women's health care services, including Planned Parenthood.

"58 percent of Facebook users are women, and we're here to represent those women and send a message to Mark Zuckerberg that we don't think he should be funding the Republican war on women," Credo Political Director Becky Bond said.

The dinner is about $3,800 a head. All of the money is being raised for Christie's re-election campaign as governor. But I just can't shake the feeling that somewhere here in Palo Alto tonight, the 2016 race for the White House is getting underway.


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