Admiring, sometimes cloyingly worshipful bio of New Jersey's governor. Trentonian reporter McClure tries to depict Christine Todd Whitman's trip from her silver-spoon upbringing in solidly Republican Somerset County to the New Jersey governor's mansion as a triumph against odds. But McClure's account tends to show instead that Whitman's political career and her economic conservatism grew naturally out of the privileged and politically active milieu from which she emerged. McClure's snapshots of Whitman's social life may make it hard for the more proletarian reader to relate (""Christie returned home to fox hunt,"" one anecdote begins, ""and had an amusing encounter with Jackie Onassis""). After staffing posts in Nelson Rockefeller's 1968 presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee, and the 1972 Nixon campaign, she married John Whitman, a New York financial consultant ""with the proper credentials,"" in 1974, and settled down to eight years as a full-time wife and mother. McClure covers in detail Whitman's unsuccessful 1990 run for the Senate against the popular Bill Bradley and her 1993 defeat of hated incumbent governor Jim Florio; the author manages to treat both races, lost and won by razor-thin margins, as triumphs for Whitman. Briskly reviewing her record as governor, McClure shows that Whitman's inoffensive blend of fiscal conservatism and with-it social positions (pro-choice, pro-gay rights) seemed to go down well with voters. Although McClure indicates that Whitman's social views may have alienated the Republican party's right wing, she tantalizingly suggests that Whitman may be a front-runner for the 1996 vice-presidential nomination. Christie fans will enjoy; others may wonder what the fuss is about.