Christie: Bridge scandal doesn't change anything about 2016
March 26th, 2014
08:48 PM ET
9 years ago

Christie: Bridge scandal doesn't change anything about 2016

Washington (CNN) - Chris Christie continues to dance around the question of whether he will or won't run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

But the New Jersey governor made one thing clear on Wednesday evening: the George Washington Bridge scandal is not having an impact on that decision now.

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"There's certainly nothing that's happened in the last number of months, since we talked about this the last time," Christie said on his radio program, referring to the imbroglio, "that would make me think any differently about my ability to pursue that job."

Christie continues to be dogged by questions about a political scandal roiling his administration.

A state legislative committee and the U.S. Attorney’s office are investigating suggestions that some of his top appointees orchestrated traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge last year in Fort Lee to punish that town’s mayor for not endorsing Christie for reelection.

The governor has thus far not been accused of any wrongdoing and an internal review of the scandal conducted by attorneys hired by his office has found no evidence linking him to "plotting or directing" the gridlock.

He said the lawyers who headed that review would discuss it publicly on Thursday, and he would comment on it at a later date.

Several key figures in the controversy did not cooperate with the review, Christie said, calling it immaterial when asked how a thorough review could have been completed without their assistance.

“You don’t just come to conclusions from interviews. There are lots of documents that involve all those people,” Christie said.

Christie acknowledged the legal rights of those who have chosen to remain silent and not cooperate with state legislative subpoenas around the scandal probe, but he believes the relevant facts will come out in the end.

“I think all of the important questions will be answered,” Christie said.

Questioned by Eric Scott, host of the monthly “Ask the Governor” program on New Jersey 101.5, if he still contemplates running for higher office, Christie answered, "sure."

Yet, he wouldn't hint at which way he is leaning at the moment.

"I certainly am not, at this point, going to make any decision on it," Christie said.

"You never ruled it out?" Scott pressed.

"Right, and I won't," the governor replied. "I'm not going to make any conclusions until I absolutely have to."

Christie's easy reelection victory in November 2013 combined with his brash persona and reputation as a unifying force for New Jersey stoked Republican hopes that if he ran, he could topple a potential Hillary Clinton bid for the Oval Office.

A December CNN/ORC survey showed Christie with a 48%-46% edge over the former secretary of state in a hypothetical contest. But the bridge scandal and accusations Christie's administration withheld Sandy relief aid for political reasons – which state officials deny - caused Christie’s national profile to fade.

A February CNN/ORC poll indicated Christie trailed Clinton by 16 percentage points in a possible 2016 matchup, with Clinton at 55% and the governor at 39% among registered voters nationwide.

Chrisite, who admitted on the radio program that he can be a "polarizing" figure, reiterated that the scandal has not altered the way he does business - and put the onus of getting things done for the state on what he sees as an increasingly uncooperative state legislature.

"I'm still the same guy," Christie insisted. "I think you can see by the way I'm conducting myself publicly. I'm still the same person."

"If others don't want to respond to me in the same way, that's going to be up to them," he continued. "But then that's their responsibility."

Filed under: Chris Christie
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. S. B. Stein

    I have mixed feelings about him running. If he wins, then we get him out of NJ, but the downside is that whole country will get his foul brutish nature. He doesn't have the correct temperament to be president.

    At this point, he isn't charged with anything, but this does beg questions. If he didn't know, then he can't control his people who can't be trusted.

    March 26, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |

    Do that last 1 cnn we all in this together you me them those We . Come together time ppl . thx

    March 26, 2014 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  3. ChrisM

    Sorry Krispy, You an Your situation has changed because of your appointees. You will not be elected President of the U.S.

    March 26, 2014 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  4. will never vote Republician again

    A dense man!

    March 26, 2014 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  5. Enigmatic1

    If Christie really thinks he has any chance at all of putting in a change of address to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, I'd like to re-introduce him to the FORMER governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell. He WAS a high ranking Republican governor of Virginia who got ousted by a barely known Democrat that ran an underfunded, lackluster campaign. I was on the fence about Chris Christie. He ALMOST was a person I would vote for and then he showed his true GOP hardcore colors.... and now I need to vote for whoever is his major competition. Pretty sad Chuck..... Pretty sad.

    March 26, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Christie once lobbied for the Securities Industry Association for Bernie Madoff - who was sentenced in 2009.

    "I'm still the same guy," Christie insisted.

    March 26, 2014 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  7. Getoverit

    And it shouldn't. Another witch hunt by the opposition and the complicit media who feel threatened by Christie.

    March 26, 2014 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |

    Bridgegate vs. Benghazigate

    Hillary's done for.

    March 27, 2014 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  9. JC

    While I don't think there's anything to the bridge scandal or the Sandy funds accusations, there's no way that this doesn't hurt him. Liberals are doing the same thing the conservatives have done for 6 years. If it could be a scandal they hang into it for as long as they can. Even if there's nothing to it. The bridge scandal itself is a bit of a hypocritical joke. Political retribution is incredibly common on both sides of the aisle. You should see what Emanuel does to businesses in Chicago that don't support him. It's like the Jewish mafia. I don't really care all that much about the lane closures. The Sandy funds issue though raised my attention. If that were an accurate accusation I would think that would kill any chance he has at running for president. But after looking into it and finding out that the lady mayor making the allegations was double dipping, I think the probe should be on her. She requested millions of the Sandy funds, yet her municipality is one of a few hand selected towns getting direct federal money for infrastructure projects. If Christie would have given her the money she requested it would have pulled money away from towns not getting direct federal assistance, which is every other damaged town in NJ.

    March 27, 2014 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  10. YoonYoungJo

    It's still to be determined if the bridge scandal points to Christie. If it does then a lot of people are going to question his credibility. If it doesn't then, yeah it wouldn't affect him. Then again he could just say its the mayors fault. The mayor made him close the bridges down because it made him mad and he deserved it. After all, how dare you not support me. This isn't America anymore. Hopefully Christie really didn't have anything to do with it. I actually liked the guy. He seemed like a straight shooter with a penchant for honesty. Then again it could just be a well crafted image. Still waiting to see the final outcome of the investigation.

    March 27, 2014 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  11. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    I'm sure in his feeble mind it doesn't, but there's where what he believes and the rest of the country part ways. He runs, he's beat. It's that simple.

    March 27, 2014 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  12. croaton999

    This will drive the Liberals crazy.

    March 27, 2014 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  13. Sendro

    It should not change anything big guy!!! go for it all the way!

    March 27, 2014 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  14. Marie MD

    Oh yes it does not that you were ever going to be president.
    Losing weight is good for your health though. Good luck with everything that comes from being obese and then dropping weight and what's left hanging.

    March 27, 2014 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  15. greg

    It was also your responsibility to monitor your staff working on closing this bridge, it was your responsibilty to turn yout eyes and pretend u didn't know about it, its our responsibilty to bring you to court

    March 27, 2014 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  16. Maripil

    Christie is a crook!! The internal review made up by his cohort lawyers is a big JOKE!!

    March 27, 2014 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  17. Gurgyl

    You can pursue that job but USA should not and does not want you in that job as a bully. Enough of you.

    March 27, 2014 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  18. Pk

    It'll be very interesting during the primaries. I personally expect a grand scope witch hunt between Christie and Clinton..... Sigh....

    March 27, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Christie: Bridge scandal doesn't change anything about 2016
    Christie's right about the Bridgegate not making a difference in 2016. Christie was written off by conservatives following Sandy, blaming him for Romney's loss. The only way Christie gets the 2016 nomination is if the rest of the field is worse than what Mitt Romney faced. Nobody like Romney, but he was least undesireable of the bunch. That's a pretty sad metric, the least undesireable.

    March 27, 2014 08:13 am at 8:13 am |