January 9th, 2014
09:17 AM ET
12 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. current state of the union

    And the new liar of the year

    January 9, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  2. luke,az

    Gov. Chris Krispy is out ! See what happens when you are arrogant and a bully.

    January 9, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Sniffit

    I'm willing to bet that what we'll see from Christie in his presser, setting aside personal stylistic/delivery differences, will be remarkably analogous to what Obama has done in response to the "scandals" the GOP/Teatrolls/Issa drummed up during 2013. The difference and problem for Christie is that the documents actually exist proving the political motivations and machinations.

    His top aide, Ms. Kelly, isn't where this ends. Top aides don't email the head of the Port Authority and authorize things. They call up the Port Authority and communicate what someone upstairs told them to (maybe Christie, maybe not, we'll have to wait and see). One thing's for sure: with her incoming firing, the federal and state investigations and all the potential criminal liability involved, she is definitely sizing up the bus's clearance.

    January 9, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. Tony

    Obama's promise is true for most Americans. Most Americans get to keep their health insurance. Obama did not promise that premiums on the plans would not rise. Most likely, even people who keep their plans are paying more. Insurance companies like to raise premiums, and they have been doing it with or without Obamacare.

    Can Republicans say that their lies are true most of the time? Republicans won two "Lie of the Year" about Obamacare from Politifact: they talked about "death panels" in 2009 and "government takeover of health care" in 2010. If Republicans had not lied about Obamacare, would Republicans have won the 2010 midterm election?

    January 9, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. Sniffit

    "What I'm wondering is why when it was apparent that lanes WERE shut down, he never questioned the gridlock to begin with."

    That is an extremely important point and one the MSM is going to work very hard to bury with the salacious scandal narrative. At a bare bones level here, what we have is a governor who didn't seem to recognize or be wiling to do anything about the massive problems 4 days of ridiculous, unnecessary and unauthorized traffic on the GWB were causing, including the endangerment of the public (see the stories about 4 reported EMS delays). This isn't the same thing as not being aware of the minutia of agency policies and procedures and how they're being carried out. This traffic mess hit the papers while it was ongoing and one might wonder why Governor Soprano didn't make some phone calls and ask "WTH is going on here? Put an end to this NOW!"

    January 9, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. current state of the union

    More to come folks, this is very typical of him, watch him bully his way out of this, and its also the reason he's not ready for national politics, way to crude .

    January 9, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. mercfan

    Unfortunately, that's never going to happen. In addition to bullying people to get what he wants, he has a history of not practicing what he preaches. The support of the Fort Lee Mayor wasn't needed to Christie reelected, but was really part of a broader goal to show he was working with Democrats to get things done (which was really for the benefit of voters outside NJ – to show he could break the log jam in DC).

    He lives in my county and almost 20 years ago he was elected county freeholder. He was sued for defamation after he defeated incumbent freeholders in the party primary because he lied stating that the incumbents were under "investigation" for violating certain local laws. He settled that suit out of court and the court records were sealed. As a result he lost when ran for a 2nd term Keep in mind, our county is 85% Republican – never had a Democrat freeholder in the 30 years I lived here and most of the towns have Republican Mayors and entire town councils that are all Republican. It's unheard of not to get reelected as freeholder. Usually they drop out to move on to something else or get involved with some type of corruption (like his false acquisitions against the incumbents in his own party).

    When he lost that election he was named US Attorney for NJ. As US Attorney he outsourced these monitoring contracts to his lawyer friends making them millionaires off our tax money.

    He also bullied his counter parts in NY to get his brother out of going to jail for SEC violations.

    He says he is for cutting spending but forced NJ to spend $15 Million for the special Senate election 4 weeks before the last Governor's election so Democrats voting for Cory Booker wouldn't come out to vote against him.

    He's as slimy a politician as they come.

    January 9, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    That isn't a scandal. It is political attack, for moving ahead of Hillary in the polls. Of course almost all of the media, including CNN, are totally controlled by the Democratic Party, so they want you to believe the lies.

    January 9, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. Sniffit

    "In a $17 Trillion economy, care to tell the class what $1 Billion in "lost economic activity" is?"

    What is it? It's a lot of economic activity. There is no such thing as de minimis, disregardable economic damage for an economy struggling to recover from a massive recession. Trying to minimize that loss is the same as minimizing the effect it has on the people who are struggling right now and feel it most.

    For someone who no doubt supports GOP/Teatroll hissy fits about a few million dollar being spent to study a rare species in an area where a municipality is trying to determine how to go about encouraging housing and other development, you should instead be furious at the loss of that much economic activity.

    January 9, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. Malory Archer

    Fair is Fair

    Sniffit

    Harvard economist Lawrence Katz estimates that $1 billion in economic activity was lost in the first week as a result of the unemployment benefit extension sitting in this limbo.
    ---
    In a $17 Trillion economy, care to tell the class what $1 Billion in "lost economic activity" is?

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

    That $1B figure was for one week. Your $17T figure is for the entire year. $1B times 52 weeks adds up.

    January 9, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Sniffit

    "That isn't a scandal. It is political attack"

    Tell that to the documentary evidence.

    January 9, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. Malory Archer

    Rick McDaniel

    That isn't a scandal. It is political attack, for moving ahead of Hillary in the polls. Of course almost all of the media, including CNN, are totally controlled by the Democratic Party, so they want you to believe the lies.

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

    If believing that helps you sleep at night, just keep believing it.

    January 9, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. mercfan

    @jpmichigan
    – this has been a story in NJ for the last 2-3 months, during that time he's denied that his office was not involved. Based on what happened yeterday, we know that's not true. Already his two appointees on the Port Authority commission have resigned because of this and the deputy Chief of Staff will be next. Does anyone really believe she made that decision to shut down the lanes? Maybe Christie himself didn't specifically instruct her to do that in this situation, but gathering the support of the other party was a goal to show he can work with Democrats – leading up to his run of the White House. At some point before this, there was a meeting that he attended, where it was communicated that if the Democrats didn't fall in line, to put the heat on them. If you expect Christie to admit that this morning, your dreaming.

    January 9, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    "At a bare bones level here, what we have is a governor who didn't seem to recognize or be wiling to do anything about the massive problems 4 days of ridiculous, unnecessary and unauthorized traffic on the GWB were causing, including the endangerment of the public (see the stories about 4 reported EMS delays). "

    Agreed, Sniffit. Coming from the man who grabbed a few million dollars from New Jerseyans for a special election a month prior to his own re-election simply because he was concerned the "you people" turn out would lower his re-election numbers percentage, I am not surprised he didn't do anything when it became apparent the traffic delays were causing havoc for those same people he was elected to protect by all means possible; leading me to suggest he actually was laughing right along with his staff.

    January 9, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. S.B. Stein

    Christie is either a bully and quietly directs political payback and revenge or hasn't a clue as to what his staff is doing. This frightens me as a citzen of the state. He fails to understand what people need (except the wealthy) and should be done with the budget. He talks rudely to people and doesn't understand how to be more respectful which is a growing problem in this society. He is not good presidential material.

    January 9, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  16. Linda Bryson

    Big bigger they are, the harder they fall. Expect earth quakes and tsunamis!

    January 9, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. Jackson

    Rick McDaniel

    That isn't a scandal. It is political attack, for moving ahead of Hillary in the polls. Of course almost all of the media, including CNN, are totally controlled by the Democratic Party, so they want you to believe the lies.

    _________________

    Thank you for showing, yet again, the absolutely blatant hypocrisy from the GOP.

    Somehow, it is ok to swiftboat John Kerry, but heaven freakin' forbid you do it to the GOP. They can dish it out, but they just can't take it.

    Live by the swiftboat, die by the swiftboat.

    Choke on your hypocrisy, GOP!

    January 9, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Jackson

    simplyput

    Nah, I say let him step down and lead the prosecution to impeach Barack Insane Obama....only the most arrogant of liars would use the term "Promise Zones" to advance illegal immigration in San Antonio, TX.

    _______________

    I'm curious. When Reagen committed High Treason in Iran/Contra, did you speak out about the need to impeach him?

    When Bush Jr committed war crimes in Iraq, and lied to congress to justify the war, did you speak out about the need to impeach him?

    Lie and tell us you did speak out.

    Hypocrite.

    January 9, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. CryBabies

    If Christie did retaliate....get rid of him! If you lie, cover-up, cheat or behave dishonorably while in any office, you need to be gone! You were voted in to serve the public and anything that is contrary to that means you are done. Republicans AND Democrats alike. So, Governor Christie let the chips fall where they may by bringing this out in the open with no stonewalling, NOW. I would also suggest the same for people in the present administration.

    January 9, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  20. RonL

    I you look at Governor Christies style of government and the way he has addressed citizens of New Jersey, to me there is no doubt he is a political bully that is often condescending to the electorate. For that reason I believe his staff mimicked his behavior and may have acted on their own. What I find more troubling is how the Governor reacted to the people who questioned him three weeks ago about it. Once again he showed his arrogance and almost distain for people who DARE to question him. After watching several of his interactions with people that do not agree with him I felt his temperament disqualifies him from being the President of the United States. I am hoping this event forces him to show, and feel some humility, he needs a large dose of it.

    January 9, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Thomas

    The first time he blows his top or goes into poor overweight bully mood , his bubble will be blown.

    January 9, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  22. JohnRJohnson

    TOO LATE! He should have fired Kelly yesterday. Or, even better, he should have fired her a month ago.

    January 9, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. jdk47

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

    But the difference in the way the media treats the 2 of them will be very telling. Obama has had a series of "I didn't know" moments and CNN has brushed them all away. You can bet they won't brush Christie's away.

    January 9, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel

    That isn't a scandal. It is political attack, for moving ahead of Hillary in the polls. Of course almost all of the media, including CNN, are totally controlled by the Democratic Party, so they want you to believe the lies.
    -------------------------
    This isn't a scandal because it appears to be more and more criminal by the week. Hillary Clinton has absolutely nothing to do someone within Gov. Christie's top circle sanctioning the punitive action of shutting down lanes of the busiest bridge in the world for a week.

    If you'd been here as it occurred then you'd realize just how much chaos that it created. On successive days, many vehicles were rerouting to alternative crossings, which only served to congest the roads between the crossings, as well as the crossings themselves.

    Local news media were making daily reports about the unexplained shutdowns, coming down the hardest on the mayor of Ft. Lee, who by law should have been the first in the chain of command to know what exactly was going on. The major had no answers, and the released emails show that his requests for answers were gleefully ignored. That, my friend, is criminal behavior.

    January 9, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. Mike

    So let me get this straight....... I'm supposed to believe that the 2 people Christie fired ( Campaign Manager and Chief of Staff), were such Republican idealog's that they completely went "rogue" and sabatoged their own careers and subseqent futures by doing something that in no way would have benefitted them to the degree that there actions would have been worth the risks (i.e. "Bridge Gate") would cause!? This guy is lying thru his teeth! Plain and simple! Do you really believe that he had no knowledge of any of this until today? Come-on people!!!!!

    January 9, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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