Inauguration for second term comes amid bridge scandal and controversy that are Christie's toughest political test to date.


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will take his oath of office midday Tuesday for a second term, but his inaugural party at Ellis Island has been scuttled due to weather.

"Unfortunately due to the anticipated severe weather conditions posed by today's winter storm, we have made the decision to cancel this evening's inaugural celebration at Ellis Island," the inaugural committee said in a statement. "This action has been taken out of an abundance of caution."

Christie is slated to be sworn in at noon at the War Memorial in Trenton, amid a scandal over traffic jams on a busy bridge and controversies over Superstorm Sandy aid.

In excerpts of Christie's inaugural address provided by his office, the Republican who is considered a potential 2016 presidential candidate makes no mention of the allegations of abuse of power that are challenging his administration.

Instead, Christie touches on themes of income inequality, the role of limited government and divisions that threaten progress in the Garden State.

"One of the lessons that I have learned most acutely over the last four years is that New Jersey can really be one state. This election has taught us that the ways we divide each other — by race, by class, by ethnicity, by wealth, by political party — is neither permanent nor necessary," Christie will say. "We have to be willing to play outside the red and blue boxes the media and pundits put us in. We have to be willing to reach out to others who look or speak differently than us."

Christie will also vow once again that New Jersey will not become like Washington, where partisanship and bickering have come to define Congress. It is a message the governor sounded repeatedly in the wake of deadly Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 and trumpeted in his re-election bid.

"We will fight to continue to change government so that we value our differences and honor the strength of our diversity," Christie plans to say. "We cannot fall victim to the attitude of Washington, D.C. The attitude that says I am always right and you are always wrong. The attitude that puts political wins ahead of policy agreements. The belief that compromise is a dirty word."

Christie easily won a second term in November by defeating Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono, in part by racking up huge margins with women and minorities — two groups that the GOP has struggled to win over.

But the governor and his administration are being put to their toughest political test since Christie first took office in 2010.

Copies of e-mails released earlier this month show Christie aides and appointees apparently participated in a scheme to close access lanes on the George Washington Bridge as a way to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, who declined to endorse the governor's re-election bid. Christie denied he had knowledge of the plot, and fired a top aide and cut ties with a political strategist whose e-mails detailed their involvement.

Ads to promote tourism after Superstorm Sandy, featuring Christie and paid for with federal dollars, are being scrutinized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno pushed back Monday on allegations by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, a Democrat, that Hoboken was denied Sandy recovery money because Zimmer didn't support a real estate development favored by Christie.

A new poll by USA TODAY/Pew Research Center shows that nearly 6 in 10 Americans who are aware of the bridge scandal said they doubted Christie's denials about the traffic jam plot. About one-third, or 32%, said they believed Christie was unaware of his staff's actions.

Christie's second inauguration began Tuesday morning with a prayer service in Newark.

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