Here’s the key question to come out of today’s press conference at the Statehouse before members of the local and national press:

Was the Governor’s performance convincing?

In other words, to counter the feeling I had over the past few days that he had to have known what senior staffers were doing – do you believe he was truly hurt, contrite, and in his words “blindsided” by the revelations of the plan concocted by 2 senior staffers to close access to the bridge.

Here’s what I took out of this:

It looked to me to be pure Christie, which is to say, genuine – no bluster, no “good defense is a good offense” mentality.

When he said he was blindsided by the fact that (now former) Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly and (now former) Director of Interstate Capital Projects David Wildstein concocted the “traffic study” to get back at Ft. Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for his non endorsement of the Governor’s reelection – I buy it!

It never made any sense to me that the Governor would have needed the Mayor’s endorsement – and the Governor said as much in the news conference – saying words to the effect that had he not seen pictures of the Mayor recently in the press – he would never have been able to pick him out of a lineup.

There are still other questions that remain. Such as, while the Governor has repeatedly stated that he takes full responsibility for what happened – do you feel he needs to do more to show contrition and repair his image AT HOME.

Not nationally, but AT HOME. Like perhaps stepping aside from his chairmanship of the Republican Governor’s Association – which will take him out of the state for extended periods.

Another is – how does this performance today mitigate the perception that his administration operates with a bully mentality.

Or as I put it yesterday, “a fish stinks from the head down!”

He’s said as much that that’s not who he is – but perceptions are hard to change, as this one surely will be.

It makes you wonder why members of his administration would take such a bold step to concoct a plan like this thinking it’s something the boss would want. (Thank you Al, and John King from CNN!)

He has work to do to repair the damage done by this. Meeting the Mayor of Ft. Lee and apologizing to its citizens are all steps that need to be taken.

And cooperating with a bipartisan investigation into the affair will also be a move to heal the broken confidence in his administration.

But again, he needs to repair what has been broken AT HOME.

Folks in Iowa who’ve gotten his Christmas cards could probably care less about any of this.

Rate Governor Christie’s performance at today’s press conference: