Did Obama blow off private meeting with Christie’s New Jersey opponent?

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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President Barack Obama did not hold a private meeting with Governor Chris Christie’s Democratic opponent, Barbara Buono, during his New Jersey visit Tuesday, despite a since-retracted claim by the Buono campaign that Obama would give her private face time.

Buono, who trails Christie by more than 30 points in the 2013 gubernatorial race, was slated to get a private meeting with Obama at the Asbury Park Convention Hall prior to Obama’s speech Tuesday, according to a statement Buono spokesman David Turner made to PolitickerNJ.

But Obama, whose trip was intended as a tour of post-Hurricane Sandy New Jersey with Christie, did not give Buono her private meeting.

“State Sen. Barbara Buono’s campaign spokesman, David Turner, told PolitickerNJ Buono was set to have a meet and great with Obama before the president makes public remarks on the Asbury Park boardwalk,” according to an article by PolitickerNJ reporter Matt Arco.

“Buono campaign says she is having a private meeting with Obama,” Arco tweeted before Obama’s speech.

“Senator Buono had the opportunity to speak with President Obama prior to his remarks,” Buono campaign spokesman David Turner told Arco. “She is supportive of the president coming here to keep an eye on the rebuilding and use of federal funds on the Jersey Shore.”

But Buono’s meeting with Obama didn’t turn out to be quite so personal.

“A senior admin official says that Barbara Buono, a Democrat running for NJ governor, was part of a group of approximately 30 state and local officials who met briefly with Obama before his speech in Asbury Park today. There were both Democrats and Republicans among the state/local electeds present. There was a photo line but no separate meeting,” according to a pool report from Obama’s trip.

Buono’s campaign quickly retracted its earlier statement that Buono would get a private meeting with the commander-in-chief.

“Earlier I tweeted Barbara Buono was to have a private mtg with the Obama. It was acc to the campaign, which has since it was a misstatement,” Arco tweeted after the speech.

“Emphasis on word ‘private.’ Buono camp says she spoke with Obama,” Arco tweeted.

Obama has not endorsed Buono, and White House press secretary Jay Carney recently praised Christie’s efforts to repair the damage wrought by superstorm Sandy.

Buono’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.

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