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Christie Says GWB Lane Closures ‘Not That Big a Deal’ [AUDIO]

Two top Port Authority officials appointed by Gov. Chris Christie have resigned over the unannounced access lane closures in Fort Lee leading to the George Washington Bridge in September.

Gov. Chris Christie
Tim Larsen, Governor’s Office

Subpoenas have been issued and investigations continue. Despite the resignations and subsequent probe into the issue, Christie insisted yesterday that partisan politicians and an overzealous press corps are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

“I know you guys are obsessed with this,” Christie said Thursday at a Statehouse press conference. “I’m not. I’m really not. It’s not that big a deal…I know you all think this is some issue of great moment. I don’t.”

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey deputy executive director Bill Baroni and his number-two man, David Wildstein, have submitted their resignations. Christie said the two men have taken responsibility for the lane closures. The governor also said safeguards have been put in place.

“Just because the press runs around and writes about it both here and nationally, I know why that is and so do you,” said Christie. “Let’s not pretend that it’s because of the gravity of the issue. It’s because I am a national figure and anything like this will be written about a lot now…You guys all want to keep chasing it around, chase it around. It’s your business.”

According to the governor, the press should be focused on his compromise on a tuition equality bill for undocumented immigrants as well as nominations he plans to announce. Christie also believes the media should place more emphasis on issues such as the fact that the state is experiencing the lowest unemployment rate in more than five years, as well as his agenda for next year.

“Those things are much more important to the people of New Jersey than a couple of cones and a couple of lanes for four days,” said Christie.

A spokesman for the Democratic National Committee quickly disagreed with Christie.

“That may be business as usual for Chris Christie, but for commuters and residents of Fort Lee, the lane closures were and are a very big deal,” DNC press secretary Ian Sams wrote in an email. “The possibility that Christie’s allies used their posts to seek political retribution is serious and troubling, and people deserve to know exactly why it happened. This scandal won’t go away until the public knows exactly why Christie officials shut the lanes.”

The accusation from some is that the unannounced lane closures were ordered as payback to the mayor of Fort Lee for failing to endorse Christie’s re-election bid. The governor said the mayor was never on his endorsement radar screen and if he was standing in the room yesterday he wouldn’t even recognize him.

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