TODAY | May 24, 2013
>>> welcome back to seaside heights at the jersey shore . the "today" show on the last leg of our "great american adventure ." we talked to governor chris christie early on. he launched a $25 million initiative to bring tourism back to the state but he does not get all the credit in that family. first lady mary pat christie is here. she heads up the new jersey relief fund having raised $34 million already. is that the right number?
>> that's correct. yep.
>> tell me about the fun, how it started and how you're getting all that cash.
>> a lot of phone calls , remarkably we have donors over 28,000 donors worldwide, and my husband called me three days after the storm and said we have to do this and you're in charge. here's the name of a lawyer and they pretty much hung up the phone.
>> you have bono on board, bruce, bon jovi , kevin jonas .
>> all great americans on my honorary board, great new jerseyians and we really are working hard to keep raising money.
>> are you surprised, mrs. christie , of what this boardwalk looks today. i am. having been here in the days after the storm your husband came out in his own way and said we'll be back by memorial day . i'm not sure a lot of us believed him. did you at the time?
>> i'm generally thought of as the optimistic one in the family and i really knew with the hard work and great laborers we have in new jersey that we would get it done.
>> a lot of people are still hurting. we want to celebrate seaside and the boardwalk and a lot is back but if you go back a few blocks a lot of people are having trouble getting their insurance claims through. what do you and the governor say to those people?
>> that's one of the things we're working on is the hurricane relief fund so we are raising money for financial and legal services to help people, for mental health services and for what we call gap funding so when people get their insurance they still have a lot of money they need to finally rebuild their homes so we're trying to show them that we're going to be here at the fund until it's all finished.
>> in the midst of all this recovery your husband went through and quietly and tried to privately have lap band surgery .
>> said he did it for you and your four children. what were those private discussions like at home?
>> it's really something we've been struggling with for years and i this i that when the governor finally decided to do that, we were all really supportive and we're just happy that he has a lot of hope about the future in that regard.
>> is it something you'd encouraged him to do previously?
>> actually it's something i listened to and we talked about. i always am encouraging him in terms of what he wants to do but a lot of back and forth.
>> i have to ask you, president obama is going to be here on tuesday walking the boards with governor krooizie. christie .
>> a lot of people in this country would like to see your husband succeed president obama . i don't think i'll get to you make an announcement with me today. are those discussions hypothetical what it would be like for your family if he launched a presidential campaign?
>> we have discussions like everybody does about what the future holds so we know what the opportunities could be and i think that after we tackle 2013 and our re-election, we'll think about what the future holds.
>> do you think he'd make a good president?