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TODAY   |  January 14, 2014

Christie prepares for ‘State of the State’

Amid controversies including a traffic scandal and a call for an investigation into an ad campaign after Hurricane Sandy, the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie prepares to address his state Tuesday for the start of his second term. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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>>> we want to start this morning with our top story. new jersey's governor chris christie set to give his state of the state address today while facing not one but two investigations. the latest one is tied to a post sandy ad campaign that featured his family. kelly o'donnell's in trenton. good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. a high-profile return to the national stage for governor chris christie . he's making his first public event after several days. aides say he will focus on accomplishments, not these investigations. but there is this backdrop of scandal. the governor plans to ask the people of new jersey to put politics aside.

>> the biggest crisis was hurricane sandy. the last time governor chris christie delivered the state of the state address .

>> we're fighting back with everything we've got.

>> reporter: but now, even the governor's campaign to bring tourists back this summer.

>> we have a advertising and marketing thing gone on.

>> reporter: from democrats who urge federal auditors to examine the ad contract, a higher bid that put the christie family in the ad front and center in an election year.

>> jersey shore is open.

>> the word is spreading because we're stronger than the storm.

>> reporter: however, now, the biggest storm is manmade.

>> our concern is there was apparently a massive abuse of power in an attempt to conceal an abuse of power.

>> reporter: last fall's traffic gridlock on the bridge, apparent payback for a local mayor. today, christie will try to change lanes himself.

>> christie has to make a statement about his second-term agenda. can chris christie move beyond the scandal? can he get beyond all the investigations? that's the question.

>> reporter: christie will call for a new education policy saying life in 2014 demands something more for our students. time to lengthen the school day and school year in new jersey. republicans defend christie and say his style has been affected.

>> this governor came in, he was tough. no question about it. but it's new jersey.

>> reporter: responding to questions about that tourism campaign, the christie office says that the obama administration had approved the ad blitz. they had also expected that a federal audit is a standard thing, they say, and they think it will show that the ads were a part of helping to rebuild new jersey. matt?

>> all right. kelly o'donnell in trenton this morning, thanks very