January 9th, 2014
09:17 AM ET
10 months ago

Will Christie take his own advice?

(CNN) – On Election Day 2013, CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper asked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie how he would advise President Obama, who at the time was embroiled in a controversy about whether he misled the American people over being able to keep their health plans.

"Here's what my suggestion would be to him," Christie said then. "Don't be so cute. And when you make a mistake, admit it...Say, 'you know what? I said it, I was wrong. I'm sorry, and we're going to try to fix this and make it better.'"

Tapper, host of CNN's "The Lead," reports that sources close to Christie say people shouldn't be surprised if they see the governor take his own advice at a press conference scheduled for 11 a.m. ET.

Christie said back in the November interview he thought "people would give any leader in that circumstance a lot of credit for just, you know, owning up to it, instead of now trying to like - don't lawyer it. People don't like lawyers. I'm a lawyer. They don't like them. Don't lawyer it....People want leaders, not lawyers."

The recently re-elected governor is now embroiled in his own scandal, as new emails show members of his staff were involved in what appears to be a political vendetta against the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey.

The apparent retribution came when Christie's staff and appointees orchestrated the closure of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, the nation's busiest, a move that caused serious traffic jams and turned Fort Lee into a parking lot for four days.

Christie has long denied that he was aware of the lane closures until they were happening. On Wednesday, he said in a statement he did not know members of his staff were involved in the plan until Wednesday.

"What I've seen today for the first time is unacceptable," he 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."

"This behavior is not representative of me or my administration in any way," he added, "and people will be held responsible for their actions."


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. FrankinSD

    Either Cristie knew about this petty revenge, or surrounded himself with people who thought it was OK to endanger the lives of common citizens just because they lived in a town whose mayor wouldn't play ball with him. The former is worse than the latter, but not by much.

    January 9, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Andrew

    It appears Christy is holding people to account and immediately firing them within a very short time frame. No one's been fired for Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS Tea Party scandal, Pigford, GSA, AP monitoring, Rosengate by Obama. Not a day for Democrats to throw stones.

    January 9, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. Malory Archer

    jdk47

    The difference between Christie and Obama is Christie actually took action and fired someone when he claimed he didn't know.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    More like he threw a couple of people under the bus when he got caught with his pants down.

    January 9, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    jdk47 wrote:

    The difference between Christie and Obama is Christie actually took action and fired someone when he claimed he didn't know.
    -------------------------
    Wrong. Christie had initially claimed ignorance right up until the paper trail led to his appointees. That's when Christie changed direction and announced that it was a traffic study, of which only he and his appointees had previous knowledge. Christie then claimed that his two appointees had made procedural mistakes in not notifying the concerned parties, as required by NJ law. So far, the media has not bothered to ask or report about the data collected during the traffic study.

    The press release from Christie late yesterday is a complete and total reset. He now claims to have known absolutely nothing about it, despite previous comments to the contrary about an undocumented traffic study. Christie has also claimed to have asked his entire staff about the shutdown, and reported that they know nothing.

    The real smoking gun is Kelly. Why would an assistant staffer order the head of the Port Authority, who just happens to be a childhood friend of Christie, to do something that is highly unusual without authorization or directions from above her pay grade?

    January 9, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Peter Grenader

    Well... I think saying he doesn't have a clue of what is staff is doing may be a little harsh. He's got a big job, and on an election day he's got a lot of things going on. That said, I would assume the mayor of Fort Lee attempted to contact him immediately after find out about this and even if the call wasn't taken immediately, there was time not long after when they connected. Where Cristie went wrong is not delving deeper onto this when he had his chance, when he could have controlled the political outcome,. Now hes forced to react to something he left out of control. But in order to get control, you gotta know what really happened and it seems to me he may have trusted the same people who did this with their explanation of how.why and that is a big mistake. Once someone does this you shouldn't take their word for swat, you need to find out for yourself through other means,

    January 9, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Mike

    Isn't it funny how people who have no resonable response to an issue involving a politician can on response by throwing out the "Party" card?!

    January 9, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. Lisa P.

    Funny thing about advice: it's much easier to give than to take.

    When bullies are caught red-handed doing something wrong their usual response is to turn the tables and play the victim: poor me, it wasn't my fault, why is everyone always picking on me?, it isn't fair!, etc. It will be interesting to see if Governor Christie chooses this route during his press conference today - thereby confirming his critics' most extreme caricatures - or if he comes up with a more constructive or nuanced reaction. Like, say, an unqualified apology to the people of Fort Lee and a guarantee to the people of New Jersey that partisan politics will never again be allowed to interfere with how he or his appointees manage state operations that influence their health, safety and livelihoods. For a start.

    January 9, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Malory Archer

    Andrew

    It appears Christy is holding people to account and immediately firing them within a very short time frame.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    More like throwing them under the bus to save his own sorry backside.

    January 9, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Peter Grenader

    Well... I think saying he doesn't have a clue of what is staff is doing may be a little harsh. He's got a big job, and on an election day he's got a lot of things going on. That said, I would assume the mayor of Fort Lee attempted to contact him immediately after find out about this and even if the call wasn't taken immediately, there was time not long after when they connected.
    -----------------
    Your assumptions are completely contradicted by the facts, specifically the emails that Fox didn't report about to viewers. The mayor had sent messages to the Christie administration for directions on how to respond to reporters. The mayor got no response, but an internal email about the mayor's requests indicated that he got "radio silence."

    January 9, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. rs

    Andrew

    It appears Christy is holding people to account and immediately firing them within a very short time frame. No one's been fired for Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS Tea Party scandal, Pigford, GSA, AP monitoring, Rosengate by Obama. Not a day for Democrats to throw stones.
    _______________________
    But then beyond the GOP sphere, no one has actually found evidence that much happened in your list of "scandals" either.

    January 9, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    The real smoking gun is Kelly. Why would an assistant staffer order the head of the Port Authority, who just happens to be a childhood friend of Christie, to do something that is highly unusual without authorization or directions from above her pay grade?
    ------–
    You're saying his DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF is "an assistant staffer?? You need another smoking gun, dude.

    January 9, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    What is becoming painfully evident is that Christie is no different from any other politician: he has surrounded himself with sycophants who see themselves as being responsible for carrying out what they think he would want. The sad thing is watching Christie joke about it, saying he was out there putting the cones up. This was not a joke, it was about a people who operated on a set of misguided assumptions about what they could do, and Christie has now had to go and fire or force out people that should never have been in those positions in the first place.

    January 9, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. Dan5404

    I'm sure there will be an immediate statement of outrage from Congressman Issa and he will promptly form 2 or 3 committees to investigate whether any federal money was involved, and extend it for at least a couple of years so he can get some more face time for himself and GOP propaganda! Oh, I forgot, he doesn't investigate Republicans! Never mind.

    January 9, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    You're saying his DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF is "an assistant staffer?? You need another smoking gun, dude.
    ------------------
    I'd forgotten her title. Arguing semantics doesn't change the point, that it is highly unusual for to order around the head of the Port Authority without the consent, approval, and direction from someone above her. Thanks, for pointing out that it is a very short list of names who rank above her.

    January 9, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
1 2 3