It’s good to be Gov. Chris Christie. It’s good to take the stage and get a standing ovation for showing up. It’s good to talk about putting aside partisan politics for the common good. It’s good to have people happily calculating your chances for a 2016 presidential bid.
Christie was the star attraction at the second annual “Points of Light” dinner Friday at the Italian embassy, which allowed the New Jersey governor to showcase all the ways he’s not like the bickering kids on Capitol Hill. No one said “shutdown” or “default,” but the unspoken words sat in the corner like a naughty child in a time-out.
The governor was invited by Points of Light chair Neil Bush to honor his work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Christie kept his banter charming and light, like talking about the woven rubber-band bracelet on his left wrist. “This is how you know you have a 10-year-old daughter,” he said, showing off the fad of the summer and his good-dad creds. “She said to me, ‘I’ll make you a double, but only if you keep wearing it.’ ” And he has, since putting it on in August. “It makes her very happy.”
Christie accepted the award on behalf of all the volunteers who stepped up to help his state: “If you ever wonder, for a minute, if what you’re doing makes a difference, come to the Jersey shore.” Aside from declaring that government – not the feds, state or local – can’t fix everything, he stayed away from politics. (His staff shooed away reporters angling for a juicy shutdown soundbite.)
Despite the relentless downpour outside, the mood was warm and cozy inside: The primarily Republican crowd raised $800,000 and celebrated America, volunteerism and the guy who started the Points of Light movement: former president George H.W. Bush.
This great man, emcee Greta Van Susteren told the crowd, was the “world’s worst” interview: “My mother says you shouldn’t talk about yourself,” he told her. “That’s bragging.”
New to Points of Lights: Co-emcee Elisabetta Canalis, the gorgeous Italian TV presenter best known for her two-year stint as George Clooney’s girlfriend.
“I know, I know, that’s my private life,” she told us, waving away that ancient history. Besides, she’s busy with her career: Just got a green card, which allows her to go back and forth between Italy and Los Angeles to act, model and otherwise reap the benefits of beauty, fame and a celebrity ex. Plus a new gig with Points of Light. “I’ve been wondering for a long time how I could get in touch with a serious humanitarian organization,” she said. “That’s a gift for me.”
It’s good to be Elisabetta, too.