Thursday, Jan 9, 2014 06:43 AM CST
Forget 2016, Chris Christie may not even be governor much longer
If this political payback scandal spreads, Chris Christie could have much more to worry about than the Iowa caucus
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie strode to the microphones in Trenton Wednesday night and took an hour of reporters’ tough questions about a plot by staffers to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor by snarling his city’s traffic for four days. Penitent, occasionally defiant, Christie insisted he didn’t know about the scheme. But he said he took full responsibility for the scandal, apologized to the citizens of Fort Lee and promised to get to the bottom of what happened.
Oh wait. That’s not what Christie did at all. The famously fearless governor canceled his one public appearance of the day, ignored the story until late afternoon, and then issued an email statement saying he’d been “misled” by “a member of my staff.” There’s word he’ll be talking today at 11 a.m. But yesterday, when all the details broke and questions emerged, there was no press conference. No public statement. No apology to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich or his city or the people of New Jersey for staffers using the crucial George Washington Bridge as a weapon of political destruction, reportedly in retaliation for Sokolich’s refusal to endorse Christie’s reelection bid against Barbara Buono last year.
In a statement so full of word salad it might have come from Sarah Palin, Christie threw an unnamed staff member under the bus – and then resumed his silence. He threw his own presidential hopes under the bus too.
Contrast Christie’s limp response on Wednesday to his shtick a month ago, when he aggressively denied that the Fort Lee lane closures were a form of political reprisal, and even joked that he did it himself. ”I worked the cones actually. Unbeknownst to everybody, I was actually the guy out there. I was in overalls and a hat, but I was the guy working the cones,” he said, mocking reporters, adding, “You’re not really serious with that question.” Then he blamed New Jersey Democrats for playing politics, sneering, “It just shows that they really have nothing to do.”
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