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Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Featured, Politics | 2 comments

Christie offers short statement saying was “mislead” by staff member on bridge scandal

Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Faced with new emails that suggest one of his closest aides called for closing some lanes on the George Washington Bridge in a political revenge move, New Jersey Chris Christie has issued a four line statement saying he was “mislead” by a member of his staff. Initial reaction — on blogs, among radio and cable pundits — suggest the rapidity of the statement, its brevity and its suggestion that the usually-hands-on Governor was totally in the dark make it a political band aid that will soon fall off.

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Christie responded to the revelation that Ione of his close aides discussed plans to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge last year.

“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable,” Christie said. “I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge.”

Christie’s already drawing fire for this statement since his previous statements attributed the lane closures to a traffic study. Plus: who ever heard of Chris Christie eschewing a press conference to answer his critics or batter down criticism? The statement — coupled with cancelling an event — reeks of fear. This scandal could be perilous to his national hopes. As some have noted, it almost has a “Sopranos” smelliness about it: powerful people getting their jollies using their power over others. And it will greatly hurt Christie with independent voters which would be his main argument — he could (before this) attract them in droves — if he ran for the 2016 Republican nomination.

So far Fox News is doing minimal coverage on this story, which is considered a big political story almost everywhere else.

Balloon Juice’s reaction:

So, at a minimum, he’s admitted that he’s a [awful] manager. It wasn’t some random clerk, it was his deputy chief of staff and his appointee to the Port Authority (and high school classmate, and lifelong friend) who conspired to do this bad, bad thing. Christie knew someone in his administration conspired to do something “unacceptable” for months, and he was only able to find out who from a press report.

It’s pretty clear he has no good alternatives here, but I wonder if stonewalling might not have been a better response.

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