• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Chris Christie And The George Washington Bridge: Politics As Usual, Scandal, Or Much Ado About Very Little?

Christie GWB

Ever since Chris Christie’s massive victory in the New Jersey Governor’s race, and indeed to some extent before that, there’s been a story brewing in New Jersey that some people seem to think is a potentially major story. Essentially, it involves an incident in the fall of 2013 when several lanes of the George Washington Bridge, which is controlled ostensibly by the Port Authority of New York And New Jersey, were shut down, causing a major traffic jam on the New Jersey side of the bridge and major headaches for the City of Fort Lee, which sits on the Jersey side of the Hudson just next to the bridge. Fort Lee’s Democratic Mayor, as it turns out, was one of the few North Jersey Mayors who had declined to endorse Christie’s re-election bid and the allegation was made that the Christie Administration, the Christie campaign, or someone with connections to one or both, had made some kind of arrangements to shut those bridge lanes down and cause headaches for Fort Lee. Asked several times about the matter, Christie has dismissed the allegations as a non-story, but Christie’s political opponents, including apparently some to the right of him in the Republican Party have persisted in pushing the story and insisted that it meant something significant about him, his political advisers or the way he conducts political business.

The latest revelations came today in the form of revelations that top Christie aides had discussed George Washington Bridge lane closures in a series of e-mail messages:

A series of newly obtained emails and text messages shows that Gov. Chris Christie’s office was closely involved with lane closings on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge in September, and that officials closed the lanes as retribution against the Democratic mayor whose town was gridlocked as a result.

The growing scandal around the bridge threatens Mr. Christie at the moment he assumes an even larger position on the national stage, as chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association and a leading candidate for his party’s presidential nomination in 2016.

In the documents, obtained by The New York Times and other news outlets Wednesday, Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff in Mr. Christie’s office, gave a signal to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to close the lanes about two weeks before the closings occurred.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” she emailed David Wildstein, Mr. Christie’s close friend from high school, and one of his appointees at the Port Authority, which controls the bridge. Mr. Christie and some officials at Port Authority have said the closings were done as part of a traffic study, but they caused havoc for days, backing up traffic for hours.

After the emails were released, Mr. Christie canceled his one public event for the day, which had been billed as an announcement of progress in the recovery from Hurricane Sandy. His office had no immediate comment.

Mr. Christie’s handpicked chairman of the Port Authority, David Samson, was also involved in the closings, according to the emails, which describe his efforts to “retaliate” against New York officials who had not been told of the changes and sought to ease the gridlock.

While the emails do not establish that the governor himself called for the lane closings, they do show his staff was intimately involved, contradicting Mr. Christie’s repeated avowals that no one in his office or campaign knew.

That conflicts with the governor’s carefully crafted reputation as the rare politician who will tell it like it is, even when the news is difficult. And the pettiness described in the emails flies against the image Mr. Christie’s aides have sought to craft for him, of a new kind of leader, above the partisan politics and small-mindedness of Washington.

The emails indicate that Mr. Christie’s staff and his associates at the Port Authority were closely aware of the political context. Mr. Christie, a Republican, was leaning on local Democratic officials to endorse his re-election bid so that he could then seek his party’s presidential nomination by arguing that he was the candidate who could attract bipartisan support in a blue state.

Mr. Christie won re-election in November by 22 points, and instantly became a leading candidate for his party’s presidential nomination by winning across many demographic groups. His campaign boasted that he had been endorsed by more than 50 local Democratic officials.

But the documents released Wednesday underscore what Republicans as well as Democrats in New Jersey have long said about the governor: that he is a bully who wields fear and favor to get what he wants, and lashes out at even the smallest perceived slights.

You can read the e-mail at this New York Times link.

Given the fact that Christie is, thanks to his big win in November, his Chairmanship of the Republican Governor’s Association, and the fact that he has been leading in several polls regarding the 2016 race that have been released in the past two months or so, the political press and commentators on both sides of the political aisle are all over this story, with people on both sides of the aisle insisting that this is a story that indeed “matters,” even if the average voter in New Hampshire or Iowa might wonder why they ought to care at all. Steven Shepard at National Journal, for example, is calling it Christie’s “Worst Day” as Governor. Philip Bump at The Wire insists that the revelations regarding the emails could mean that the “Bridge Controversy” may have become a big problem for Christie. And, Chris Cillizza calls it a “very real problem,” and raises some questions that, admittedly, deserve some answers at some point.

On the opinion side of things, there doesn’t seem to be much sympathy for Christie. Scott LeMieux compares the bridge closing, which  he automatically sees as leading directly to Christie even though we don’t have any evidence of that, compares the closing of a couple lanes on a bridge to the worst of the Nixon Administration. Jonathan Chait, prematurely I would argue, declares Christie’s 2016 ambitions, whatever they may be, to be completely dead, while Ed Kilgore insists that it reinforces the reputation that Christie has, a reputation mostly created by Democrats I might add, of being a political bully. Andrew Sullivan, finally, picks up on this theme and runs with it.

Perhaps most surprising, or perhaps not considering the fact that conservatives have been trying to undercut Christie ever since the 2012 election and what they idiotically consider Christie’s “stab in the back” in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, are the commentators on the right who have joined in on the Christie bashing. Paul Mirenghoff, for example, seems to accept the same portrait of Christie as a “political bully” that left wing commentators have been trying to push since Christie took office in 2010. Sean Davis at The Federalist provides a list of reasons why this issues could have implications for Christie in 2016. Finally, Matt Lewis points out some good reasons why this whole story might matter depending on where it goes:

An obvious problem for Christie is that people can easily understand traffic congestion — this isn’t Teapot Dome scandal. Gridlock (another unfortunate metaphor!) directly impacts average people (Christie’s team didn’t go after a politician, he went after the very citizens he represents.)

Traffic is a huge deal, especially for those living in places like New Jersey. It wastes people’s time every day, preventing them from seeing their families and doing their work. The notion that a politician would intentionally subject them to it — for political purposes — will stick in many a craw.

To be sure, it’s entirely possible that Christie didn’t order this — and wasn’t aware of it. Again, though, the problem is that he hasn’t had a lot of sympathy for other leaders who were out of the loop on things, or didn’t demonstrate terrific leadership at one time or another. Additionally, as The Record notes, “Christie has previously said that no one in his staff or campaign was involved in the lane closings, and he has dismissed questions about political retribution by joking that he moved the traffic cones himself.”

I wasn’t writing about this story before now, because there didn’t really seem to be much there. Yea, creating a traffic jam in Fort Lee as a form of political retribution is a petty move that isn’t much above the idiotic games that political campaigns play with roadside signs in the weeks leading up to the election. The fact that it’s now apparently been linked to two top Christie aides who, significantly, were communicating about it via private email rather than their official email accounts creates problems for Christie who has previously insisted that nobody in his Administration was involved in any lane closure decisions. And, traffic is a problem that every one can understand. On the other hand, there are traffic jams in the area of the George/ Washington Bridge practically every day of the week, even on weekends, for reasons that are often incomprehensible. Additionally, by the time this incident occurred it was already clear that Governor Christie was going to win re-election by near historic margins for the Garden State at the very least. So, if his top aides really were involved in this thing as it now appears, then they were arguably being more stupid than venal. As for Christie’s involvement, we have, as everyone has noted, no direct evidence of that, and while it’s certainly possible it is mere speculation at this point.

It’s really quite obvious what Christie needs to do now. He needs to get out in front of the story as soon as possible. Dismissing it as irrelevant isn’t really an option any more given today’s revelations. A full investigation, followed by the resignation of those responsible is obviously called for, and if there is any legal culpability (which nobody on either side of the aisle has made an argument in favor of as of yet) then that needs to be dealt with as well. Politicians get in trouble in these situations when they try to wish the story away rather than taking pro-active action to deal with it, and that’s what I’d say Christie needs to do here. Up until now, he’s proven himself to be politically smart enough to be able to handle potentially damaging stories like and this is the first test of his ability to handle such a story while simultaneously being the arguably frontrunner for the 2016 Presidential nomination. Assuming he handles it correctly and there’s no evidence that he was personally involved in this, I’d suggest that this is something that most people will have largely forgotten by the time the 2016 race begins.

Update: Later this afternoon, Governor Christie released this statement:

“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable. 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. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable, and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.”

This is a good start, but as I said above, Christie will need to do more to get out ahead of this story.

 

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    Well, as an independent, I have not yet heard a good reason to care.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 23

  2. beth says:

    Bridgeghazi!!!!!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  3. grumpy realist says:

    Probably depends on how shiny the other objects are that will float in front of the eyeballs of our deluded press.

    Otherwise, yeah, Christie’s going to have to pull a Captain Renault: “I’m shocked, SHOCKED to find out that gambling goes on here!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  4. Joy says:

    This episode reminds me of the New Jersey Politics class I took at Rutgers which mainly was about how NJ was built on corruption and cronyism. This was back in the mid-90s, when Florio had just left office and the drumbeat was on Atlantic City and the politicking in certain other urban counties and in the Statehouse. I’m going to have to see if I still have the book from that class.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Rob in CT says:

    I think the crudeness & pettiness of it make it stick. The “I feel for the kids” “yeah, but they’re D voters kids” bit is really comically nasty. As is the whole idea of screwing up the commutes of thousands of people because their mayor (a Democrat!) failed to endorse Christie for relection. An election he won easily. It’s mind-bogglingly dumb payback.

    Well, as an independent, I have not yet heard a good reason to care

    What are you on about? Is this some sort of butthurt from the partisan ID thread?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 1

  6. Mark Ivey says:

    “Bridge of Revenge?” says Fox News headline.

    Yes……………………. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. al-Ameda says:

    Wow, scandals aren’t what they used to be.

    @to paraphrase john personna:
    As a non- independent, I have not yet heard a good reason to care.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  8. Woody says:

    The only way this hurts Gov. Christie is if it is the first in a string of petty bullying stories.

    One story does nothing – in fact, this is what passes for manly “looking good/kicking a**” for many of our Beltway punditocracy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  9. C. Clavin says:

    Closing 60% of the access from Fort Lee to the GWB is just like election signage shenanigans?
    I guess you missed the part where it delayed the search for a missing 4 year old.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 1

  10. legion says:

    Well, it’s _not_ the sort of scandal that gets governors – especially Jersey governors – impeached or in any real legal trouble.

    But it _is_ the sort of thing that demonstrates _exactly_ what kind of character someone has. People who have followed him have always known what sort of petty, short-tempered, immature sh*t he is, but now that it’s on a national stage all the random ‘R’ voters are seeing who Christie really is. It’s probably the last time we’ll see anyone seriously proffering him for 2016.

    Except Bill Kristol. That guy’s an idiot.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  11. MikeSJ says:

    I think this has real potential to stick to Christie much more than you suspect.

    Remember we aren’t talking about incomprehensible financial shenanigans here – everyone knows exactly what happened.

    As Rob in CT put it: “I think the crudeness & pettiness of it make it stick.”

    That this type of action was aimed at middle class people, voters and citizens puts this in a whole different class of behavior than your run of the mill government sleaziness- I personally find it grotesque.

    I certainly hope jail time awaits those found responsible for this – up to and including Christie if he was involved.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

  12. wr says:

    So libertarian Doug, who abhors the abuse of governmental power, sees absolutely nothing wrong in a governor’s administration deliberately using the power of the state to punish citizens because their elected mayor would not endorse him.

    They closed down three access lanes to the GW Bridge, hopelessly snarling what is already bad traffic, and Doug’s response is “oh, hey, there’s always a lot of traffic out there.”

    But then, this comes from the man who watches footage of the governor screaming at teachers and can’t understand why all those mean people call him a bully.

    The true meaning of libertarianism seems to be a worship of pure power. Those who have it should be allowed to do anything they want with it. Those who don’t must submit.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 74 Thumb down 1

  13. Rob in CT says:

    *Nods* Middle class and upper middle class people. Fort Lee is apparently a fairly affluent place. People commuting by car over the GWB are, by and large, not poor.

    Also, this involves people in New York too, who will be happy to pile on. Lots of media in NYC.

    Christie was basically fine sh*tting on teachers, who are one of the public’s favorite whipping boys. This, on the other hand, has the potential to rub a lot of people the wrong way.

    I could be wrong, of course. I’m not some sort of political guru. But I think this really does hurt the guy.

    One of Christie’s core arguments for the nomination has to be that he’s electable in the general. That sorta-kinda bipartisan (he shook the Kenyan usurper’s hand!) image he has (more seriously: accepted ACA medicaid expansion) is good only for that. Mostly it’s a straight-up liability in the GOP primary. His opponents will hammer him for that. Well, now his electability comes into question. He looks like a sleaze, or at *best* the sort of guy who hires comically stupid, sleazy, nasty people. I think it sticks. We’ll see.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  14. R.Dave says:

    I’m honestly shocked anyone thinks this won’t (or shouldn’t) stick. It’s entirely of a piece with the bullying, corrupt image that turns many people off about New Jersey in general and Christie in particular; it’s petty political payback in its most vulgar and obvious form; and it’s a method of payback that primarily impacted the public at large and did so in a way that everyone can identify with. Basically, it’s tailor-made to stick to Christie.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  15. Franklin says:

    I’m surprised by the “independent” voters here who think the abuse of power here is nothing. This wasn’t an action that had plausible reasons and just happened to inconvenience a particular opponent. Instead, this action had no reason whatsoever and punished random citizens. Pure abuse of power.

    In *this* independent’s mind, this sinks Christie’s ambitions if he is shown to have any knowledge of the event, period.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  16. jukeboxgrad says:

    As someone elsewhere said, this is Christie’s ‘47%’ video. That stuck to Mitt because it fit with what we already perceived about him, that he was a heartless, condescending plutocrat. Bridgeghazi will stick to Christie (even if he tries to claim he didn’t know anything about it) because he already has a reputation as a bully.

    Ironically, this will help Christie a bit with the tea party crowd that tends to hate him. Why? Because any form of loathsome behavior directed at Democrats is something they automatically applaud and admire.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 0

  17. Rafer Janders says:

    Here’s the thing that scandalizes me: while he’s a Republican, Chris Christie is also governor of the entire state of New Jersey. That means that he’s supposed to look out for the interests of the entire state of New Jersey, including Fort Lee and the New Jersey citizens who live and work there.

    And yet, Christie and his staff went out of their way to hurt tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands, considering how many commute across the GW) of their own New Jersey citizens in order to punish one man. It’s appalling. It’s a violation of every oath of office they took, of every standard of civilized conduct for an elected official.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 45 Thumb down 0

  18. C. Clavin says:

    plus…it only confirms the image the guy already has.
    remember….romney didn’t choose him as VP because of all the crap lurking just below the surface waiting to get out. if you take a look at christies record and decide you would rather have paul ryan as a running mate…what does that say?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  19. Stonetools says:

    Looks like the “moderate establishment Republican” idol has feet of clay. Maybe there is a good reason why Romney passed over him as a VP candidate in 2012 after a thorough vetting. Certainly this is meat and drink to possible Republican presidential primary opponents. I’m betting there’s more where this came from.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  20. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Very much so. I’m not sure people who don’t live in the area appreciate how badly closing those access lanes screwed up commuter traffic on a bridge used by close to 200,000 vehicles per day. There really aren’t many other ways to get onto the bridge without going quite a distance back down I-80 or I-95. It created a disaster, and people here were quite hot about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  21. Rob in CT says:

    The bit about the kids of Buono voters is: a) sociopathic; and b) deeply stupid, in very much the same way the 47% meme was and is stupid (nice connection there, whoever made it). Surely there are Christie voters in Fort Lee. Surely voters from places other than Fort Lee, including many Christie voters, were caught up in the resulting traffic mess (or otherwise adversely affected).

    That’s w/o even mentioning the ethics of it all.

    @Franklin:

    I think JP’s comment has very little to do with this topic, and everything to do with another thread in which he’s really, really upset about how some people characterize independent voters in general. If you read it in that context, you might not be terribly surprised.

    al-Ameda (Dem, not Indy, I thought), I can’t explain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  22. Rob in CT says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    As someone who lives in the NE, but not the NYC metro, I understand on a visceral level the frustration of the commuter stuck in traffic. The thing is, so should Doug! He lives near DC, right? Maybe you’re right and it’s the bit about not getting Manhattan is an island with very limited entry points.

    I also have actually used the GWB, and more generally have driven in & out of NYC. To pull that to get back at one guy (and seriously, the mayor is a Dem. Why should he have been expected to endorse Christie? W.T.F.?!?)? Dude.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Oh, I agree. It was a monumentally stupid thing to do. I’ve heard from friends on that side of the bridge that it took them close to 4 hours to get into the city, and there really is no other way to get into Upper Manhattan or the Bronx, etc. from that area of NJ without crossing the GW.

    The next closest crossing is the Lincoln, some 70 blocks south. It was just stupid, and venal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  24. C. Clavin says:

    @wr:
    You know…for someone who is scared to death of the NSA and black helicopters and some potential abuse of power…Doug seems quite willing to forgive this very real abuse of power.
    Do you think carrying water for Christie…is any heavier than carrying the normal Republican water?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  25. mantis says:

    Ed Kilgore insists that it reinforces the reputation that Christie has, a reputation mostly created by Democrats earned through his actions I might add, of being a political bully.

    FTFY

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  26. Geek, Esq. says:

    1. Way, way, way too late for him to get in front of this story. He’s in his bunker now, figuring out how to survive this. Hiding from the cameras and everything.

    2. I’m surprised a libertarian type of guy like Doug hasn’t picked up on the obvious ABUSE OF POWER angle here. If this guy is willing to hurt people just because their mayor voted the wrong way, can we trust him with the Oval Office? For those on the right who fear that government is tyranny, this is proof that it would be so under Christie.

    3. For a guy who makes everything about what an awesome leader he is, there is no plausible explanation for this. None. What’s his explanation–to deny the obvious, to admit he was behind it, or that everyone in his administration was aware of this but him? Either way, failure of leadership.

    4. There are already talks about criminal investigations. Shutting down a bridge for explicitly partisan purposes is not legal. Since this is traffic crossing state lines over a federal highway, that’s willful interference with interstate commerce adding a potential federal RICO element to this.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  27. MarkedMan says:

    My recent post got flagged as spam. Could an administrator pull it out?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  28. ernieyeball says:

    @Rob in CT: I think the crudeness & pettiness of it make it stick.

    Trivial, petty, piffling? Or a waste of the taxpayers time and money?
    http://www.kfvs12.com/story/19478461/judge-rules-in-favor-of-republicans-in-staples-vs-paper-clip-debate

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    Way, way, way too late for him to get in front of this story. He’s in his bunker now, figuring out how to survive this. Hiding from the cameras and everything.

    Even then, in order for him to even try to get out in front of it, he has to have been uninvolved. If he tries, and evidence subsequently surfaces which shows that he was either involved or knew about this before it happened (which would happen, without a doubt, if it exists), he’s toast.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  30. john personna says:

    @Franklin:

    LOL, if you judge by recent Presidential elections, I am a “closet Democrat.” A “partisan.” So I should have a canned response, right!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  31. rudderpedals says:

    He could be a big man and say he accepts responsibility for this, condemns the actions, and terminate the staffers with prejudice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  32. Mary G says:

    Like Nixon, I think the coverup is worse than the crime, and that the blatant stupidity of how the whole thing was done is appalling. He said none of his top aides knew anything about it, while the aides were blithely e-mailing and texting incriminating messages right and left on personal accounts. Who doesn’t know in this day and age that whatever you do on electronic media is never private?

    They blamed it on a traffic study, but didn’t bother to set up at least a fig leaf study of some sort to cover their asses, even though three weeks elapsed. They ignored longstanding protocols, including notifying local mayors of lane closures affecting their cities, and hid the closure from the New York state director of the Port Authority, who cancelled the closing as soon as he learned of it.

    How can they possibly have expected to get away with this?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  33. john personna says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Do you think independents (outside of NJ/NY) are following this at all?

    Or is it genuine partisans, who have a partisan eye on 2016?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  34. Geek, Esq. says:

    @rudderpedals:

    Must. avoid. obvious. weight. joke.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. C. Clavin says:

    @rudderpedals:

    He could be a big man

    I’ll just assume that was intended and say…well played, sir.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  36. B and B says:

    @MarkedMan: Heh heh heh. He said “pull it out!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  37. PJ says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    Way, way, way too late for him to get in front of this story. He’s in his bunker now, figuring out how to survive this. Hiding from the cameras and everything.

    The Untergang parodies can’t be far away…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  38. jukeboxgrad says:

    Rob in CT:

    in very much the same way the 47% meme was and is stupid (nice connection there, whoever made it)

    I picked that up from someone in a thread at WP.

    As I mentioned, it will stick because Christie already has a reputation as a bully. But it will also stick because of the NJ reputation for thuggery, gangsterism and revenge. Comedy writers everywhere are scribbling Sopranos jokes right now. Also Boardwalk Empire. Once you give Jon Stewart et al solid, strong material to work with, your goose is cooked, because people readily absorb and re-transmit comedy while being resistant to advertising.

    This story will also have legs because various embarrassing details will probably keep leaking over a period of weeks and months. Like maybe how Christie’s people did stuff like this earlier in their career. Right now reporters are probably thinking about angles like that.

    Something else that adds to the emotional impact of the story is how it’s about indiscriminate punishment. The target was one person (the mayor), but the punishment hit plenty of people who aren’t Democrats, or who don’t even live in Jersey. This puts it in a separate category from a lot of political shenanigans that involve targeting an enemy but do not also harm a lot of innocent bystanders.

    rudderpedals:

    He could be a big man

    The Big Man died in 2011.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  39. ernieyeball says:

    @Mary G: How can they possibly have expected to get away with this?

    “Lord help me I’m just not that bright.” Homer Simpson channels Governor Christie’s staff!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  40. C. Clavin says:

    @john personna:
    I don’t want to get mixed up in the lovers squabble you two are having…but I think anyone who pays attention to politics is paying attention to this. It’s been simmering for a while…and boiled over today. It’s on every website…right or left of center…that I regularly visit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  41. stonetools says:

    From “Double Down”(via Time), Romney’s vetting of “Pufferfish”:

    The vetters were stunned by the garish controversies lurking in the shadows of his record. There was a 2010 Department of Justice inspector general’s investigation of Christie’s spending patterns in his job prior to the governorship, which criticized him for being “the U.S. attorney who most often exceeded the government [travel expense] rate without adequate justification” and for offering “insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification” for stays at swank hotels like the Four Seasons. There was the fact that Christie worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Securities Industry Association at a time when Bernie Madoff was a senior SIA official—and sought an exemption from New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. There was Christie’s decision to steer hefty government contracts to donors and political allies like former Attorney General John Ashcroft, which sparked a congressional hearing. There was a defamation lawsuit brought against Christie arising out of his successful 1994 run to oust an incumbent in a local Garden State race. Then there was Todd Christie, the Governor’s brother, who in 2008 agreed to a settlement of civil charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he acknowledged making “hundreds of trades in which customers had been systematically overcharged.” (Todd also oversaw a family foundation whose activities and purpose raised eyebrows among the vetters.) And all that was on top of a litany of glaring matters that sparked concern on Myers’ team: Christie’s other lobbying clients, his investments overseas, the YouTube clips that helped make him a star but might call into doubt his presidential temperament, and the status of his health.

    Read more: Double Down Excerpt: Mitt Romney Feared Chris Christie’s Baggage | TIME.com http://swampland.time.com/2013/11/02/the-hunt-for-pufferfish/#ixzz2pqUIGifK

    Gotta think that at least one of these chickens will come home to roost before 2016.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  42. Ken says:

    @john personna:
    Well, it’s the headline story on cnn.com and msnbc.com, nytimes.com, and washingtonpost.com, and it’s one of the top three front page stories at latimes.com, foxnews.com, wsj.com, philly.com, bostonglobe.com, and usatoday.com

    So yeah, I think folks outside of NY/NJ might be following this a bit

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  43. Rob in CT says:

    @john personna:

    Let me put it this way: obviously, the first people to get talking about this are partisans/hi-info voters/political junkies. Duh. The question is whether or not the thing “has legs.” We’ll see, but I think there are lots of people who are not highly partisan/political junkies, who will notice this and have it confirm what they already kinda figured about him, and mark him down a few points.

    Many of those people will be in the mushy middle he’d need. The wingnuts would mostly fall in line if he secured the nomination, and of course committed Dems would vote for the Dem. His path to eventual victory is to peel off some Dems and Dem-leaning indies. This hurts him there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  44. john personna says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I can tell you that I don’t need to care until or if Christie is one of my Presidential choices.

    I think it is too early for nonpartisans, especially on the west coast, to care. Double especially those who live in daily traffic jams.

    If/when it will all be better understood.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  45. PD Shaw says:

    As a Whig, I don’t care about this issue, at least as it now stands. I can see the local interest though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  46. PD Shaw says:

    Is this new? From Christie:

    “What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable. 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. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  47. Ken says:

    Looks like Christie found a bus driver’s uniform that fits:

    “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. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  48. rudderpedals says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Yeah, but well, but yeah old habits die hard. If I had one I’d include at this point a youtube link to a sketch from Little Britain where the weight loss coach reaches down a student’s throat, pulls hard and tearrrrs out the constriction device. I think you’d enjoy the series.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  49. C. Clavin says:

    @PD Shaw:
    Yes…that is his response to the e-mails that came out today.
    Which contradicts his previous statements.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  50. stonetools says:

    Christie’s response:

    “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.”

    Dunno if this is good enough.
    PS. Kenny beat me to it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  51. jukeboxgrad says:

    Christie’s statement is exactly what’s needed. Now he has to explain how a good manager ends up hiring a bunch of snakes. He also has to hope they don’t turn on him and prove they had his approval.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  52. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Ken:

    Not buying it. Christie was on the phone with Cuomo repeatedly back in December all but demanding that Foye* back off of investigating what happened, and wasted no time getting all whiny / spittle flinging about the whole thing having been sensationalized by the media.

    The eternal truth about bullies is that, eventually, they make enough people with evidence against them mad enough to start sharpening their own knives. I think Chris, who has always been a bully, may have reached that point.

    * – Patrick Foye, the Executive Director of the PANYNJ, appointed by Cuomo.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  53. grumpy realist says:

    As said, pull out the Captain Renault ploy….

    So if he runs with this, any challenger can attack him as being a doofus so hands-off who didn’t know what the mice scurrying under him were doing, and so disinterested in the problem that he didn’t try to find out what was going on until solid evidence of shenanigans were splashed on every news website from sea to sea.

    And that’s before Stewart and Colbert take the scalpel to him….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  54. C. Clavin says:

    Christie told reporters at a December press conference that the Fort Lee traffic snarl was “absolutely, unequivocally not” a result of political score-settling.
    Now he claims he was misled.
    So does “absolutely, unequivocally not” mean anything?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  55. Moosebreath says:

    @john personna:

    “Do you think independents (outside of NJ/NY) are following this at all?”

    Today, no. When the campaign starts in earnest and it is made into a 30 second ad about how Christie believes government should be about punishing opponents, rather than accomplishing anything, absolutely.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  56. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    and so disinterested in the problem that he didn’t try to find out what was going on until solid evidence of shenanigans were splashed on every news website from sea to sea.

    Noted above: it’s was established some time ago by the Times (and confirmed by Cuomo’s office) that Christie was quite determined, in repeated phone calls to the governor, to get Cuomo to have the executive director of the Port Authority stop looking into what happened.

    He doesn’t get to play the “I’m shocked to learn that there is gambling going on in this establishment” tactic now.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  57. Ken says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I agree completely.

    Sadly, I think this will be a re-enactment of Saint Reagan: “A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not” and Christie will face little or no consequences beyond a hit to his electability.

    Unless some criminal charges are brought. Then I suspect the whole “Bridget, you fall on your sword and I’ll make sure you’re handsomely rewarded down the road” plan may fall apart

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  58. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Ken:

    Unless some criminal charges are brought. Then I suspect the whole “Bridget, you fall on your sword and I’ll make sure you’re handsomely rewarded down the road” plan may fall apart

    I agree. There are just too many people being expected to fall on swords here (Wildstein, Baroni, Kelly) and Nestor’s* office is involved now. I’ll honestly be surprised if criminal charges don’t result, and when / if they do, that’s the ballgame. Those folks might resign to protect Chris, but they aren’t going to go to prison for him.

    * – Michael Nestor, Director, Office of Investigations for the PANYNJ’s Inspector General.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  59. C. Clavin says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I think he’ll get by on this.
    It’s when you start looking at the entire record that it falls apart. This is just one more straw.
    From Heilman’s book talking about the Romney vetting of Christie:

    The vetters were stunned by the garish controversies lurking in the shadows of his record. There was a 2010 Department of Justice inspector general’s investigation of Christie’s spending patterns in his job prior to the governorship, which criticized him for being “the U.S. attorney who most often exceeded the government [travel expense] rate without adequate justification” and for offering “insufficient, inaccurate, or no justification” for stays at swank hotels like the Four Seasons. There was the fact that Christie worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Securities Industry Association at a time when Bernie Madoff was a senior SIA official—and sought an exemption from New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. There was Christie’s decision to steer hefty government contracts to donors and political allies like former Attorney General John Ashcroft, which sparked a congressional hearing. There was a defamation lawsuit brought against Christie arising out of his successful 1994 run to oust an incumbent in a local Garden State race. Then there was Todd Christie, the Governor’s brother, who in 2008 agreed to a settlement of civil charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he acknowledged making “hundreds of trades in which customers had been systematically overcharged.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  60. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I think he’ll get by on this.

    I’m not so sure. The top of the food-chain at the Port Authority are all Cuomo appointees. If they can find a way to screw Christie to the floorboards on this one, and that just got a lot more likely, they will.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  61. jukeboxgrad says:

    Thank you to the people who are sharing details about the backstory which I didn’t know. This is why OTB is a great place to learn important details quickly and reliably.

    This looks like a messy mess that the press, comics and his many enemies are going to love, over and over again for a long time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  62. HarvardLaw92 says:

    It’s also worth noting that this involves more than thousands of people being snarled in traffic for days. It sent Fort Lee Schools into a tailspin.

    Beyond that, people actually got hurt. One lady died.

    I don’t think that this one just quietly goes away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  63. wr says:

    @Geek, Esq.: “. I’m surprised a libertarian type of guy like Doug hasn’t picked up on the obvious ABUSE OF POWER angle here. If this guy is willing to hurt people just because their mayor voted the wrong way, can we trust him with the Oval Office? For those on the right who fear that government is tyranny, this is proof that it would be so under Christie.”

    Michael Reynolds, for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration except in this one area, keep saying that the NSA spying on Americans is no big deal because no one has apparently been harmed. Even I grant that — okay, I grant that — can you imagine this man, who is willing to hurt this many of his own people over such a small slight, with that power in his hands?

    Michael — what say you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  64. wr says:

    @Rob in CT: “obviously, the first people to get talking about this are partisans/hi-info voters/political junkies. Duh”

    Yeah, but that period was at the end of last year, when there were a couple of small news stories pokling around at it and politics junkies like me were waiting for it to break. Now there’s a smoking email, and it’s going to explode.

    And the real trouble with a story like this is that reporters get bored and start poking around for more. If Christie turns out not to be a bully who’s done stuff like this before, he’ll be fine. But if the rumors about the way he rewards and punishes people start coming out… oh, brother.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  65. wr says:

    @Ken: “Sadly, I think this will be a re-enactment of Saint Reagan: “A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not” and Christie will face little or no consequences beyond a hit to his electability.”

    Two differences: People really loved St. Ronnie. I could never figure out why, but even Reagan-hating liberal like me couldn’t deny it.

    And Reagan could buy people off with pardons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  66. mantis says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Beyond that, people actually got hurt. One lady died.

    Her family should sue Christie. Subpoena!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  67. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @mantis:

    They have time. The SOL for wrongful death in NJ is 2 years from the date of death, and the smart move here is to let whatever criminal investigations may result play out before bringing any civil action. By doing that, you let the state (with its vastly superior resources) help make your civil case for you (for free). If no criminal prosecution results, they still have the 2 years in which to bring their suit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  68. sam says:

    “As for Christie’s involvement, we have, as everyone has noted, no direct evidence of that, and while it’s certainly possible it is mere speculation at this point.”

    How’s that go, oh yeah, “A fish rots from the head.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  69. W.D. says:

    It will be amusing to see Doug set some kind of land-speed record for shift from “unproven allegations” to “no big deal both sides do it” to “bad, but old news what really matters is blah blah blah.” The worshipful treatment of Christie on this site is strange to behold.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  70. Joshua says:

    @Woody: One person who was waiting for an ambulance died because of this. That’s felony murder right there. I’m not saying Christie was directly responsible or knew and did nothing, but if he was responsible in some fashion, that alone is an impeachable offense, and NJ is going to have a major civil suit on hand regarding her death.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  71. Jeremy R says:

    @Doug:

    Christie has, a reputation mostly created by Democrats I might add, of being a political bully.

    Christie and his team have actually put a lot of effort into marketing him as a bully, because, for whatever reason, both his base and the beltway media lap it up:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/08/chris-christies-problem-is-that-hes-really-truly-a-bully/

    Almost everywhere Christie goes, he is filmed by an aide whose job is to capture these “moments,” as the governor’s staff has come to call them. When one occurs, Christie’s press shop splices the video and uploads it to YouTube; from there, conservatives throughout the country share Christie clips the way tween girls circulate Justin Bieber videos. “The YouTube stuff is golden,” says Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review. “I can’t tell you how many people forward them to me.” One video on Christie’s YouTube channel — a drubbing he delivered to another aggrieved public-school teacher at a town hall in September — has racked up over 750,000 views.

    Now in Moorestown, Christie was hoping to create another such moment. After some introductory remarks, he opened the floor to questions. “For those of you who have seen some of my appearances on YouTube,” he cautioned, peeling off his suit jacket as he spoke, “this is when it normally happens.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  72. Andre Kenji says:

    Are there banana plantations in New Jersey? Because that´s the behavior that I expect from politicians here in Latin America, not in the United States. Public office is not the private office from the people that works in the public office.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  73. Jeremy R says:

    I like how they continually try and use the Fort Lee Mayor’s ethnicity as a derogatory shorthand, and can’t even be bothered to get it right:

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2014/01/chris-christie-george-washington-bridge-fort-lee-mayor-sokolich.html

    Mark Sokolich, the Mayor of Fort Lee, is referred to by what would pass for nicknames used to close a waterfront deal: the “little Serbian,” or just “Serbia.” (Sokolich is actually Croatian. “I have Serbian friends who I have to believe were insulted because it was said in a condescending way,” he told the Record.)

    Sokolich, meanwhile, makes a gesture: “My frustration is now trying to figure out who is mad at me,” he writes in a text (forwarded with the note “from Serbia”).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  74. Stonetools says:

    Somewhere, Barbara Buono is laughing her a$$ off.
    And those folks who warned that Christie may have character problems and who were laughed at? They’re dying of schadenfreude.
    The folks who were relying on Chrisitie to lead a moderate reformation of the Republican Party? They’re quietly looking for a new hero, while insisting that Christie can come back….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  75. An Interested Party says:

    People really loved St. Ronnie. I could never figure out why, but even Reagan-hating liberal like me couldn’t deny it.

    Reagan was many things, but one thing he was not was a bully, and Christie certainly is…

    I guess that weight loss surgery will now be for nothing other than possibly improving Christie’s health…meanwhile, Hillary, and perhaps Rand Paul, are probably chuckling over this news…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  76. Neil Hudelson says:

    Regarding the comparison of this to a typical election “prank”–this is not typical anywhere but New Jersey (and Chicago). A typical abuse-of-power horse play is to schedule road construction near a busy polling station to dissuade voting. (or causing a traffic jam by taking a busy road to a polling station)* It’s not respectable, it’s not defensible, but its also not simply petty. There is a purpose to it, and it doesn’t punish random citizens because you simply don’t like someone else.

    This is just mean and its against the people he represents.

    *A colleague of mine got blindsided in a race in Madison, WI. A well to do Republican rented out the entire VFW hall that had been the polling station for that precinct for four decades. He paid a lot of money to do it last minute–enough time that it was nigh impossible to get the word out to to voters about the location change. It was genius.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  77. bill says:

    eh, it’s chinatown…..the whole northeast does that crap all the time and it’s nothing. just like those cops & firemen who scammed the 9/11 disability fund – shocks people that have never lived there but to the rest of us….it’s chinatown….

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 16

  78. bill says:

    @sam: really, so our woes go directly to obama now? thx!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  79. An Interested Party says:

    …the whole northeast does that crap all the time and it’s nothing.

    Nice way to trash the northeast and dismiss it all away at the same time…as if political chicanery is only practiced in this part of the country…please…I suppose there might be some way to try to dismiss it as nothing…but considering that Christie is already known as a bully, this story simply adds to that narrative…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  80. Jeremy R says:

    Seems the the NYC side briefly reopened the lanes triggering an outraged response from Christie-land. They then got the Chairman of the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners to shut them down again, or in their words, to help them retaliate.

    Here’s that e-mail exchange:
    http://gothamist.com/attachments/jen/2014_01_fixingbridge.jpg

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  81. You Won't Have Nixon to Kick Around Anymore says:

    @Mary G: How can they possibly have expected to get away with this?

    “When the Governor does it that means it’s not illegal!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  82. michael reynolds says:

    I started off ignoring this on the simplistic grounds that hey, it’s New Jersey. But this is turning into something. When you start hearing about possible charges, it gets dangerous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  83. PJ says:

    The fat man is singing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  84. dazedandconfused says:

    He fell impossibly behind it when he rudely replied to the first questions. They turned out, incredibly, to have been extremely legitimate. There is now a Youtube of a type of smart-ass arrogance that is perhaps the purest rendition of fingernails-on-a-blackboard to Southern ears this side of Allāhu Akbar.

    Might be better off to change the letter behind his name and go after Hillary in the primary’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  85. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @wr: Nail? Meet Hammer. Well said wr.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  86. Andre Kenji says:

    @michael reynolds: The worst thing is that I can´t imagine Brazilian politicians that I REALLY don´t like doing something like that. And I saw graft with my own eyes, I saw politicians and public officials doing things that I thought would land them in jail in the US.

    Unfortunately, this typical attitude where the buck never stops anywhere, where close officials are found doing wrong things but where their bosses are excused their conduct is pretty typical in Latin America.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  87. Ken says:

    @wr:

    Two differences: People really loved St. Ronnie. I could never figure out why, but even Reagan-hating liberal like me couldn’t deny it.

    Don’t sell Christie short here – people in NJ really do think that he’s the prescription for what ails us. he has a LOT of bipartisan cheerleaders. I know more than a few low information liberal democrat voters who, when I point out that he’s really an anti-abortion, anti-union, anti-gay-equality, anti-minimum wage, climate change denying, pro-business, lower taxes on the rich hard-right Republican bully, invariably reply with “But look what a great job he did during that disastrous storm. And cutting spending!”

    Of course, that won’t get him off the hook outside the tri-state area, but he really is, however inexplicably, amazingly popular.

    And Reagan could buy people off with pardons.

    Indeed. That’s what made me include my caveat about “Unless some criminal charges are brought”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  88. C. Clavin says:

    Chris Christie:

    “I moved the cones, actually. Unbeknownst to everybody.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  89. C. Clavin says:

    C’mon…where’s Jenos???
    Bridgeghazi…
    Fat and Furious…
    This is made for the little conspiracy theorist.

    Anyway…the NYT is reporting that the US Attorney is now investigating this. If charges are brought…this will stick for sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  90. C. Clavin says:

    Chris Christie:

    “I am who I am, but I am not a bully.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  91. JohnMcC says:

    Watching Gov Christie’s press conference right now. He’s doing a damn fine job of acting like a completely disappointed, “heartbroken” executive who was blind-sided by flawed subordinates. It’s making me think that the analogy to Pres Reagan and the Iran-Contra scandal might be right.

    Unless, as our Harvard92 legal adviser implies, his fingerprints are found on this. If so, this press conference will be played at his political (and legal) autopsy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  92. michael reynolds says:

    If this doesn’t go away it’s a real kick in the cojones for the GOP. Who’s the establishment candidate if it isn’t Christie? They’ll have to go beg Jeb Bush to get in. They’re about out of viable semi-rational Republicans. A great day for Ted Cruz and the Paul moppet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  93. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: Jon Stewart’s line was that you could see Paul Ryan’s boner from outer space…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  94. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @JohnMcC:

    Unless, as our Harvard92 legal adviser implies, his fingerprints are found on this. If so, this press conference will be played at his political (and legal) autopsy.

    As I had suspected would happen, Fishman* opened a criminal investigation into the matter today. It just went from being a political football to becoming something much more serious. The DOJ is involved now.

    * – Paul Fishman, US Attorney for the District of New Jersey

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  95. C. Clavin says:

    @JohnMcC:
    Yeah…Chris Christie plays the victim.
    Amazing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  96. PJ says:

    @C. Clavin:

    “I am who I am, but I am not a bully.”

    I am not a crook.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  97. Vito says:

    O so THE NEW YORK TIMES has released ‘a series of “newly” obtained emails…’. Yaaa, nothing suspicious about this story. I mean if you’re not going to trust Times owner Rupert Murdoch, who are you going to trust? In the case of Chris Christie, I guess its tough to come by that many feathers needed to tar and feather him, so this chicken shit political guillotine attempt is probably more cost effective. Remember, with so many chickens in the US that become featherless deformed blobs of white meat, and the actual size of Chris Christie, running this story is probably the conservative thing to do. At the least we can all agree that it’s timely – no pun intended.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0