New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie leaves Sunday for the Holy Land, a trip that in this cynical political year can't avoid looking like more than a pre-Easter pilgrimage, especially since a group of wealthy Jewish Republicans are picking up the tab.
He turned down entreaties to run for president this year but word is he's willing to consider #2 on a Romney ticket and is more likely to be preparing for his own bid four years from now.
The Republican Jewish Coalition is cosponsoring the visit and will pay the transportation and lodging costs for Christie's family, according to mycentraljersey.com. The group has hosted similar trips for other potential presidential candidates, notably then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
Christie’s office says his "Jersey to Jerusalem" tour is in keeping with a tradition Israel and New Jersey became sister states in 1988.
He leaves on Palm Sunday and plans to return by Easter Sunday.
Christie is taking along staff and business leaders on what is being billed as a trade mission.
His family will be going along as well, and they are planning a stop in Jordan in response to a personal invitation from King Abdullah II, according to the governor's office.