Meet Chris Christie, father of the year.
For real. The Father's Day/Mothers Day Council has selected the New Jersey governor as a national father of the year. He'll be honored with an award in June, along with shoe designer Vince Camuto.
It's a welcome bit of good news for Christie, who has had very little of it since a scandal broke earlier this year surrounding a politically motivated traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge. E-mails released as a probe into the September tie-up appear to show that it was orchestrated by Christie loyalists.
Christie has mostly kept a low public profile since then, but he has reemerged in the past few weeks, taking questions at town hall meetings and during his monthly radio show on New Jersey 101.5, "Ask the Governor."
Christie said on the show that he thought the fatherhood honor was a joke at first and that his kids "got a good laugh" out of it.
"It’s particularly nice because it’s the thing I care about most in my life," he said.
Christie and his wife, Mary Pat Christie, have four children: Andrew, Sarah, Patrick and Bridget. All four spoke at Christie's inauguration in January. Christie often peppers his speeches and comments at public appearances with stories about the kids, and the brash governor lights up.
He's talked about his youngest child Bridget's intensity on the basketball court, told an audience in Chicago that they would see him more often at the city's airports because his daughter Sarah will attend Notre Dame and joked about his son Andrew, a catcher on the Princeton University baseball team, eating breakfast at 10:15 a.m. "They're obviously killing him at Princeton," Christie said. "What I found about college, by the way, is the more you pay the less they go."
Christie told an audience last year that he and Mary Pat teared up after going to church without Andrew, their oldest, for the first time after he started college.
Christie said he modeled himself on his parents, both of whom he often speaks about. Christie's mother died in 1994. His father often shows up at Christie's town hall meetings and public appearances.
What's the criteria for being named father of the year? "Leadership, work/family balance, evidence of positive impact – and most of all, someone who exhibits the qualities of a great Dad," wrote Dana P. Verrill, executive director of the council, a nonprofit that promotes the holidays.
It turns out other politicians have also been named dad of the year, including President Bill Clinton (daughter Chelsea), former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (daughters Georgina and Emma) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (daughters Cara, Michaela and Mariah).