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World/National News

June 21, 2014

N.J. Gov. Christie courts evangelicals for 2016 bid

WASHINGTON (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie yesterday declared his opposition to abortion, telling religious conservatives that "every life is a gift from God that's precious and must be protected."

In his first major address to social conservatives, the potential candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2016 said those who oppose abortion must also protect human lives after birth.

"I believe if you're pro-life, as I am, you need to be pro-life for the whole life," Christie said at a conference of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group led by Christian activist Ralph Reed. "You can't just afford to be pro-life when the human being is in the womb."

Christie's comments came in the midst of what amounts to a cross-country revival tour following a home-state political scandal involving a bridge and traffic congestion. His return to the national stage has featured policy speeches, late-night television appearances and campaign stops in key states on the presidential primary calendar.

Christie yesterday also visited New Hampshire for the first time since the George Washington bridge scandal came to light and threatened to sink his 2016 hopes. The governor's aides ordered lanes to the busy bridge closed as a way of causing traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey, apparently in an act of political retribution against the town's mayor.

Officially, Christie, as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, was in New Hampshire to support gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein. But the appearance also may represent the most tangible evidence yet of Christie's growing interest in the presidency.

Asked if he was warming up for the presidential primary season. Christie feigned shock. "Absolutely not. How dare you," he joked. "As I've said, everybody who is looking forward to 2016 now is being foolish."

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