MTV’s The Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi went head to head with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday at the reopening of the Seaside Heights’ boardwalk, which featured heavily in the reality series.
Snooki and Chris Christie had just filmed separate segments on the Today show when backstage the 25-year-old stopped the Governor to address why he has been critical about the show’s influence on the area in the past.
The incident was caught on tape by Asbury Park Press and it was clear things were frosty between the pair.
While not heard on the video, according to Snooki the politician had made his feelings clear.
“Getting told why we are bad for Jersey. Amazing,” Snooki tweeted.
In the video, Snooki can be heard asking the much larger man to step back from her as they talk.
“Why are you standing so close to me,” Snooki asks.
Leaning comically even closer to her, Chris Christie says: “You asked for my opinion.”
Trying to subdue the situation cast mate Deena Cortese, flanked by Jennifer “JWoww’”Farley, tells the politician she is from Jersey.
“I know you are, I was talking about her,” the governor curtly replies.
Still trying to calm things down Denna Cortese said: “And guess what? I thought you did a good job with the hurricane.”
With the situation not getting any better, Snooki explains: “I just wanted to meet you, and just, hope you start to like us.”
Chris Christie’s response isn’t audible, but as he shakes the girls’ hands as he walks away it is clear neither party is a big fan of the other.
“He doesn’t just like us,” Snooki then tells the cameraman.
Earlier the New Jersey Governor had appeared on Today to celebrate the reopening of the boardwalk after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
Chris Christie told Today‘s Matt Lauer that “things are going well” and he is “feeling great” after undergoing lap-band surgery on February 16.
Looking noticeably less large than he used to, the Governor has already shed an estimated 40 lbs since the procedure.
Chris Christie told Matt Lauer that he realizes his weight will be a “life-long struggle … I don’t plan on taking any victory laps”.
Matt Lauer probed about the publicity over Chris Christie’s surgery and the Governor said he has been surprised by how much attention it has received.
“It’s much more than I imagined,” he said of the curiosity about his weight.
“I mis-evaluated that part of it but in the end, it’s really nice,” the questions are “borne out of concern for me and that’s great,” he added.
Initially the morning show had publicized that Chris Christie would serve as a guest co-host for the program but he had to surrender the morning show title due to FCC rules.
Since Chris Christie is running for a second term as New Jersey Governor, his opponent in the Republican primary, New Jersey lawyer Seth Grossman, could have asserted his right for equal on-air time, an FCC spokesman told PolitickerNJ.
The FCC rules require broadcasters to provide equal airtime for legally qualified candidates.
The cast joined Governor Chris Christie and a host of volunteers to carry out a 5.5 mile long ceremonial ribbon that broke the Guinness World record for longest ribbon cutting.
Instead of being a co-host, Chris Christie simply had an “extended interview” that focused on the state’s recovery after Superstorm Sandy.
Despite the focus on the reconstruction after the storm, Matt Lauer did inquire after the buzz over Chris Christie’s trimmer figure.
His decision to manage his weight was seen as a clear signal that the popular Republican had his eye on the national stage, likely a presidential bid, but Chris Christie downplayed any political motivation.
“That’s not why I’m doing this,” he said, insisting his family – wife Mary Pat, whom he married in 1986, and their four children – was the main inspiration.
“I hope there’s a Christie effect for Christie, and if there’s other stuff that happens for folks, that’s great. But that’s not why I’m doing it. I’m doing it for [wife] Mary Pat, for my kids, and for myself, to be better and to be healthier.”
Gov. Chris Christie was upbeat about the resilience of Jersey residents after the storm. He will welcome President Barack Obama to the Garden State next Tuesday to tour the progress.
He has been criticized by some GOPers who say he has developed a “special relationship” with the Democrat president and his chummy rapport after Hurricane Sandy gave a boost to Barack Obama during the presidential election.
But the outspoken New Jerseyan said in times of emergency, the nation needs to come together regardless of political parties.
“If the President of the United States wants to come and see the people of New Jersey, I’m the Governor and I’ll be here to welcome him here.”
Despite the incident with Gov. Chris Christie, The Jersey Shore cast spent the rest of the day with big smiles on their faces, as while they long ago said goodbye to MTV’s reality series, this was another chance to see the town that had put them on the map.
Clearly emotional for the reality stars, all were seen hugging and kissing as they joined the happy celebrations.
Almost all of the final season’s cast – Deena, Vinny Guadagnino, Sam Giancola, Paul “Pauly D” Del Vecchio, Snooki, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, and JWoww – helped set a ribbon cutting record.
Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino was not with his cast mates on Friday.
The hit show had previously been credited with helping tourism grow at the seaside city. AP reported that Pauly D said he and his cast mates wanted the Shore to be the happy place they remember.
“This is known as a happy place. Right after the storm, it was the exact opposite: dead, silent,” he said.
“To see this place being rebuilt makes me happy.”
Snooki called on tourists to come back and enjoy the area.
“You just come here to have a good time,” she said.
“It’s a great place. You come here with your friends. Everybody’s here, it’s getting rebuilt – it’s just amazing.”
Tourism is a near $40 billion industry in New Jersey and the storm not only damaged the physical area but dealt a significant blow to the local economy.
Superstorm Sandy caused $38 billion in damages in New Jersey alone and at Seaside Heights the storm swept a roller coaster into the ocean.
While the roller coaster was taken away this month, but Casino Pier, the seaside amusement park where it used to sit, plans to have 18 rides open this summer.