Christie, Bridgegate and 2016: He’s Not Saying [POLL]
The Bridgegate scandal continues to dog New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, with political pundits and statehouse insiders believing the unannounced access lane closures to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee dashed his prospects as a 2016 presidential candidate. But Christie Wednesday night said he is not thinking about 2016, either way.
"I'm certainly am not at this point going to make any decision on it,' said Christie during the Townsquare Radio Network's Ask the Governor program. "There's certainly nothing that's happened in the last number of months that would make me think any differently about my ability to be able to pursue that job or to perform in it, but I haven't made any conclusions on that and certainly I'm not going to make any conclusions until I absolutely have to."
Getting serious discussion as a GOP Presidential prospect almost immediately made Christie a target for national Democrats, a political dynamic intensified by Bridgegate. Ian Sams, regional press secretary with the Democratic National Committee, has been one of Christie's most vocal critics.
"I think that this has revealed something about the Christie Administration and something about Christie's M.O. (modus operandi) that a lot of people across the didn't know from the beginning," said Sams in a phone interview prior to Christie's appearance on 'Ask the Governor.' "There's culture of bullying and intimidation within his realm that frankly would be frightening to see in the White House."
The New York Times recently reported that the Christie Administration's internal investigation into Bridgegate concluded that the governor did nothing wrong. The report is not yet complete and Christie's team of investigators did not speak with three central figures in the controversy; Bridget Kelly, Bill Stepien or David Wildstein. Townsquare's Eric Scott asked Christie Wednesday night if he understood why many are skeptical about a still unfinished internal report that clears him of wrongdoing.
"You don't just come to conclusions from interviews," Christie said. "There's lots and lots of documents that involve all those people which have been part of the public record or will be becoming part of the public record as we go forward and you can discern a lot from that.....I think all the important questions will be answered."
Kelly was Christie's deputy chief of staff. She was fired after an email apparently sent by her went public. In it, she wrote: "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Wildstein is the former Port Authority official who received that email. Stepien is Christie's two-time campaign manager. He was in line to chair the Republican State Committee and do consulting work for the Republican Governors Association. The governor relieved Stepien of both jobs after his involvement in Bridgegate became known.
The complete results of the Christie's Administration will be released Thursday morning in the New York offices of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher.