Editor’s note: Updated with reason for Christie’s visit.
These days it seems New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is everywhere, from TV talk shows and radio appearances to accompanying Prince Harry on a well-publicized tour of the devastated Jersey Shore. So maybe it’s not too surprising he was spotted outside of Goldman Sachs’s Lower Manhattan office Wednesday morning. An Unstructured Finance reporter happened to see the sharp-tongued Republican governor walking into 200 West Street just before 11:30. Spokespeople for Goldman and the governor’s office said he was there for the bank’s Global Macro conference, which invites politicians, regulators, diplomats, CEOs and other power players to talk about big-picture trends.
Christie, who filed papers last year to run for re-election in 2014, recently announced that he had gastric bypass surgery to deal with his weight problem and he was looking in good spirits on Wednesday. He had a thick security detail and shook hands with a guy who, from behind, looked like Lloyd Blankfein but turned out not to be. He buttoned his jacket and waved to onlookers on his way into 200 West Street.
Christie has a lot of connections to the Wall Street bank — starting with having beaten its former co-CEO Jon Corzine in the governor’s race in 2009 —but no clear reason to be visiting this week.
Goldman bankers helped Christie get into office that year by offering a cash-flow analysis of the state that formulated his view of the budget, according to a New York Times Magazine report in 2011. Christie’s hard-line on budgetary issues has been controversial but has made him popular among fiscal hawks and some segment of the voting population.