February 11th, 2014
04:09 PM ET
8 months ago

Christie: Investigations won't 'curtail' agenda

Chicago (CNN) - His administration is facing multiple investigations, but Chris Christie says he's moving forward.

"Time will tell, but I believe that we are focused on the things we need to be focused on," the Republican governor of New Jersey said Tuesday afternoon at a question and answer session at the Economic Club of Chicago.

Christie was in Chicago as a New Jersey special investigative committee was expected to serve 18 more subpoenas in a controversy that has shaken the governor's political future. State lawmakers and the U.S. attorney's office are investigating allegations that top Christie appointees orchestrated traffic jams over several days last September 9 through 13 by closing access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee to politically punish that town's mayor for not endorsing the governor's reelection.

Christie has denied knowing anything about the gridlock until after it occurred, and has said he knew nothing about any political mischief by members of his administration. He's also facing allegations by the Democratic mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, that members of his administration held Superstorm Sandy recovery funds hostage in exchange for approval of a real estate development project in that city.

But Christie said he doesn't think the controversies will slow down his second term agenda in the Garden State.

"I don't think that it will curtail for the long haul a second term agenda because I don't think the public in New Jersey will tolerate it. The fact is they expect me and the legislature to continue to do what we did in the first four years, which is to find solutions to New Jersey's problems and get things done. And so while the last six weeks haven't been the most enjoyable of my life, I can guarantee you, on the other hand, the fact is, we need to do our work," Christie said.

The event was moderated by Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown, who asked Christie questions written ahead of time by Economic Club members. When Brown asked Christie about the bridge investigation, Christie joked that he was "shocked you brought that up."

Christie, who's seriously considering a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, was also in Chicago in his role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He was scheduled to hold one-on-one meetings with top donors and headline an RGA fundraiser.

Ever since the bridge controversy began making headlines late last year, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Governors Association, and some Democratic outside groups started training their firepower on the high profile Republican governor. And the DNC and other Democrats shadowed Christie during his RGA fundraising trips to Florida last month and Texas last week.

In Chicago, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland served as the Democratic surrogate.

"I'm here because Gov. Chris Christie, his office, at least, was engaged in reprehensible behavior," Strickland told CNN.

The groups are pushing the notion of Christie as a pariah, since there were no public appearances with Republicans in Christie's stops in Florida and Texas. Democrats highlighted reports the past few days that none of the four major Republican gubernatorial candidates in Illinois would appear with Christie. The RGA pushed back against those reports, pointing out there were never any plans for Christie to make joint appearances because the committee doesn't get involved in competitive primaries.

In the end, Bill Brady, one of those candidates, attended the economic forum.

"I don't understand why anyone wouldn't," Brady told CNN. "Chris and (wife) Mary are friends with Nancy and I. They campaigned with us in the last election. He's head of the Republican Governors Association which is going to raise a lot of money to help elect a Republican governor in Illinois," Brady added.

Bruce Rauner, the frontrunner in the race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination according to the latest polling, was also expected to meet in private with Christie, aides to the governor and the candidate told CNN.

While the GOP is defending 22 of the 36 gubernatorial seats up for grabs this year, Illinois is one of the states where Republicans hope to play offense, as incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn is considered vulnerable.

Hours before Christie headed to Chicago, the RGA announced that the committee raised $6 million last month, the most it's ever brought in during the month of January. The committee said the record haul was done with "the help of Chairman Christie and all of our Republican governors."

The RGA also reported that Christie raised $1.5 million during his stops in Texas last week.

Christie was overwhelmingly re-elected as New Jersey governor in November in a landslide victory over a little known Democratic opponent. He took over as RGA chairman a couple of weeks later. The move was seen as a stepping stone towards 2016. Then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry both served as RGA chairmen before launching White House runs.

CNN National Political Reporter Peter Hamby and CNN's Ashley Killough, Dana Davidsen, and Adam Aigner-Treworgy contributed to this report.


Filed under: Chris Christie • Illinois • RGA
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    What agenda? Being a jerk?

    February 11, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Will The NRA Back Charlie Crist Again?

    I wish CNN had invested as much energy in investigating Benghazi as they have on the Christie bridge episode.

    February 11, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. ChrisM

    lol, the FBI will curtail you agenda, Krispy

    February 11, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Jeff Brown in Jersey asked:

    What agenda? Being a jerk?
    --------------------
    Don't laugh. Bipartisanship. Working with the other side to get things done.

    February 11, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    "The fact is they expect me and the legislature to continue to do what we did in the first four years, which is to find solutions to New Jersey's problems and get things done."
    ----------------------------------------
    The people of New Jersey expect you to come clean with them. By the way Gov. Nucky Thompson, how many people did you have to extort to get things accomplished in your first term?

    February 11, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. just saying

    a massive democrat witch hunt costing the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. i guess they couldn't use the irs to attack christie (too busy attacking the tea party and suppressing the vote) so they came up with plan b.

    February 11, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry both served as RGA chairmen before launching White House runs."

    In other words, the importance of being a RGA chairman is in line with giving the GOP rebuttal to the SOTU? Career ending for sure, but otherwise not much to brag about?

    February 11, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Gurgyl

    This guy resembles to Mark Sanford of the most uneducated, poor, useless, idiotic state of SC.

    February 11, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. The REAL Truth...

    @Will The NRA Back Charlie Crist Again? – I wish CNN had invested as much energy in investigating Benghazi as they have on the Christie bridge episode.
    ---------------------------–
    @just saying – a massive democrat witch hunt costing the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. i guess they couldn't use the irs to attack christie (too busy attacking the tea party and suppressing the vote) so they came up with plan b.
    ============================================
    Ah yes, the usual partisan ig norance on display... how many times does it need to be said.. there was nothing in Benghazi and the IRS.. Issa and company spend MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars on finding NOTHING.....zip, nada, while selectively releasing information intentionally designed to make it look as if something had occurred... In Krispy's case there might actually have been misuse of Fed funds. Nobody cares about the bridge... get real.
    If you folks think the Dems are gonna bypass this – after the treatment the GOP has given Obama for 5 yrs – I've got some moon acreage for sale. Bobby Jindal and Glenn Beck were correct..

    February 11, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    just saying

    a massive democrat witch hunt costing the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. i guess they couldn't use the irs to attack christie (too busy attacking the tea party and suppressing the vote) so they came up with plan b.
    ---------------------------
    I guess that explains why five people are looking for new jobs, and almost that many have tried to plead the 5th.

    February 11, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Tampa Tim

    In an earlier post a right wingnut questioned the 10 million who are benefitting from the ACA. 3 million under the age of 26 are allowed to stay on their parents plan + 4.5 million added to Medicaid ( red state governors did deny their eligible voters ) + 4 million signed up in exchanges > 10 million.

    February 11, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Tampa Tim

    Just – Ever hear of Issa? He spent hundred million on nothing but Fox conspiracies. At least the Krispy minions e mails indicate wrongdoing. That in turn, led to the Sandy Relief mess.

    February 11, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hmm.
    It appears to me that the Republicans are doing everything possible to try and make the voters forget the never-before-seen level of obstruction, irrational behaviour, and downright cold-heartedness that they have displayed non-stop for the past 5 plus years.
    All of a sudden they are trying to portray themselves as conciliatory, caring towards the same military they were trying to screw just a few short weeks ago, rational in their decision to submit a "clean" debt bill.
    In sum: Patriots. Good and caring civil servants here to move our country forward, not hold it and its' people hostage at a whim, or more to the point, in their unslaked thirst for power and in their almost religious fervor to do the bidding of those that hold the purse strings in their Party.
    Nothing could be further from the truth.
    Don't be fooled America.
    Vote these bast*rds out of the House in 2014.
    Remember the 24 BILLION dollar shutdown.
    Remember sequestration.
    Remember the damage to our credit rating.
    Remember the Party of Hell No to everything.
    Remember America! Remember!

    February 11, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. YoonYoungJo

    I am still kinda rooting for Christie, even if he is a Republican. Hopefully it turns out he didn't actually know anything about the bridge closure. Even though I don't agree with a lot of the GOP, Christie at least seems like a Repblican that might not try and put Obamacare up for vote 40 times, someone who would realize let's move on and work on all the other problems. Not that I would rather have him in office instead of Hillary or Biden though. The middle class needs a fair shot and I don't think any Republican is going to give the middle class that.

    February 11, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    But Christie said he doesn't think the controversies will slow down his second term agenda in the Garden State.
    -------------------------------------------------
    So here we have a Governor, no less, being investigated for misuse of federal funds, strong arming, and a myriad of other charges that keep coming to light, and he is sticking to his agenda as if his entire political career and reputation were not swirling around the bowl waiting for one good flush.
    His Party? Right behind him. Certainly no one is pointing any fingers and acting scared that their Great White Hope for 2016 will soon be no more.
    My point is simply this: Why in the hell can't the Democrats act the same way?
    Here you have a Party that has given this country universal healthcare and as opposed to standing frim behind such a gret achievement they are running and dodging.
    You know why people re-elected President Obama? Because he did NOT run from what accomplished.
    May I suggest that Democrats do the same lest they want to see a true political thug like Christie get elected to the highest office of our land.
    Get your stuff together Democrats.

    February 11, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. Stuffitu

    All he has to do is lie and stonewall like Obama.

    February 11, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Chris Christie has shown us the true Chris Christie.

    Chris Christie is no longer electable as president , Ann Coulter is right .

    February 11, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. Silence DoGood

    @just saying
    a massive democrat witch hunt costing the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. i guess they couldn't use the irs to attack christie (too busy attacking the tea party and suppressing the vote) so they came up with plan b.
    ----------
    And then the Democrats got space aliens to help them build this bridge years ago just for this witch hunt.

    February 11, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. Wake up People!

    Look who's trying to change the subject..... I'm loving this. Millions spent on witchhunts by Issa over phony scandals. Now there is a real scandal and it's a liberal witchhunt.

    Hilarious!

    February 11, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. why so serious

    who cares there is little hope for the doomed republicans... they better slap the white off themselves.

    February 11, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. dale

    Please, find out whether or not he closed down the lanes, and put peoples lives at risk. Stop taking the leap of this being an image assassination by the media.

    At the end of the day you don't care which political party the person represents when he is playing games with the roadways.

    February 11, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. sly

    Famous Liars and Killers Credibility Check:

    The Popcorn Theater Father Killer – "He attacked me with Popcorn"
    The Loud Music Killed Teenager Killer – "His music was so loud I had to kill him"
    Crook Christie – "Everyone else in my office did it, but they kept it a secret from me"
    OJ – "I Will Find the Killer of Nicole"
    TrickDickNix – "I am not a crook"
    GeorgieB – "We won! We won! We won!"
    or of course, the biggest of em all: George Zimmerman – "I chased him with my gun and he made me kill him"

    February 11, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "I wish CNN had invested as much energy in investigating Benghazi as they have on the Christie bridge episode."

    The bubble is strong with this one...

    February 11, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  24. sly

    "I wish CNN had invested as much energy in investigating Benghazi as they have on the Christie bridge episode."
    ====
    They did, and reported that Republicans denied 4 funding requests from President Obama to increase embassy security.

    Better yet – the fool who died over there turned down 3 ("Three") requests by Secretary of State Clinton to increase security at his embassy.

    Sad. True. Republicans in Congress gave him the sword, and then the dude cut his own throat. Really just another Darwin Award.

    February 11, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |