The office of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday released a mock movie trailer for the sexy summer blockbuster that is the governor’s plan to reform the state pension system…and then inexplicably removed the video from YouTube.
The trailer, “No Pain. No Gain,” was brought to you by “Statehouse Studios”—i.e., the governor’s communications team—and “Rated R for Reform.” It starred Christie, The People of New Jersey, The Rock (yes, The Rock), and The New Jersey Legislature “(Hopefully…)”
In between eerie beeping music and footage of New Jersey Transit trains, CNBC, helicopters, and people in parachutes (the trailer really did have it all!) were clips of Christie delivering his message about the pension system: “The looming crisis is clear. We can no longer stand around and say, ‘It’s not a problem. Don’t worry about it.’” Make no mistake about it, the trailer was “brought to you by the very first historic, bipartisan pension and benefit reforms.”
In short, it was what happens when Michael Bay fans with access to iMovie find themselves working in politics instead of waiting tables in Los Angeles.
In 2011, Christie led a sweeping, bipartisan effort to reform the Garden State’s pension and health benefits system. The overhaul, among other things, increased the amount public employees paid into the system and required them to pay part of their health-care premiums. The governor estimated it would save $120 billion by 2041.
But just “when you thought it was over,” the clip’s narrator said, “it’s back.”
Christie announced this year that he would be paying only part of what he had agreed to pay into the pension system as a result of New Jersey’s astronomical $800 million revenue shortfall. (That’s just for the current fiscal year.) Christie has not yet made clear what further reforms he will call for.
In the trailer, as Christie bellowed about “choosing to do what’s hard” and advises “there is no other way to fix a severe problem like this than with pain,” we saw The Rock calmly walking away from some sort of crumbling, flame-engulfed structure. The gov. and The Rock have at least met before, posing together for a photo alongside John Cena and Triple H.
Asked earlier Tuesday if Christie’s office had received permission to use The Rock’s name and a clip from one of his films in the video, a spokesperson for the governor did not respond directly.
While The Rock is reportedly a registered Republican, he is also presumably a member of a union—the Screen Actors Guild. So who knows how he felt about being used in an anti-union ad? A spokesperson for The Rock has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
A spokesperson for the governor has not responded to The Daily Beast asking why the ad was removed.
UPDATE: The ad has been re-uploaded to Christie's YouTube page, with The Rock cut out.