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August 19th, 2013
06:27 PM ET

Analysis: Could Christie's opposition to gay conversion therapy hurt him in 2016?

He is a die-hard Bruce Springsteen fan, but Chris Christie Monday seemed to be borrowing a line from Lady Gaga: "Baby, I was born this way."

The governor of New Jersey just signed into law a bill that bans gay conversion therapy on minors in New Jersey.

In a signing statement, Christie said that "people are born gay – and that homosexuality is not a sin."

Everyone in Washington is viewing Christie's move through the lens of a potential 2016 run.

"I think this is going to help him," said Republican analyst and former Bush campaign spokesperson Jennifer Millerwise Dyck.

"Policy-wise he's on the same side as the medical community," said Millerwise Dyck. On the politics side, she added, Christie has to worry about three audiences: left-leaning New Jersey, Republican caucus goers, and swing voters.

"He's got to hit that fine political line between really not alienating any of those groups, and I think this was a smart position to take on this particular policy," said Millerwise Dyck.

But Christie, who brushed past reporters Monday, saying tersely, "the signing statement speaks for itself," appears conflicted with his decision, said former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart.

"It sounds like someone walking down a perp walk saying, 'No comment,'" said Lockhart. "If you're going to sign it, you should be proud about it, and talk about why you signed it."

Lockhart said Christie's decision may be looked at through the lens of the last election, but in the last few years, the country has moved rapidly on the issue of gay marriage, and views homosexuality as a spiritual issue, as opposed to a policy issue.

"So I'm not sure it's going to be that big a deal," said Lockhart.

Christie also said Monday that compromise is not a a dirty word, a statement that could be more problematic for the governor than the decision to ban gay conversion therapy, said senior writer for Politico Maggie Haberman.

"The party has moved more to the right. So Chris Christie looks more moderate by comparison. He's actually more conservative on a lot of issues than Mitt Romney was," said Haberman. "You will see his folks pointing to that over, and over again. I don't know if it will sell, but that's their best bet."

For more political analysis, including a discussion on the politics of the Clinton foundation, check out the video above.

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