Christie: "I Did Not Understand the True Nature of the Problem"

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Chris Christie at a press conference discussing the scandal over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge (screenshot from Christie YouTube page/Youtube)

Chris Christie says he "did not understand the true nature of the problem" surrounding a recent George Washington Bridge traffic snarl. Texts and emails released Wednesday detail top Christie aides appearing to plan a traffic disruption as payback to the Fort Lee mayor, who didn't cross party lines to endorse the governor for reelection. Saying he was "blindsided" by the content of the emails, Christie announced the firing of deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly and that top adviser Bill Stepian has been asked to leave the GOP leadership, while reiterating that he is still "responsible for what happens under my watch." Saying "this is not the tone I've set up over the last four years," Christie responded to questions from the press about his reputation as a bully that "politics ain't bean-bag." But he emphasized that the behavior of his staff went beyond "the tone that we've set here."

Christie traveled to Fort Lee later in the day to apologize in person to Mayor Mark Sokolich. While Sokolich accepted Christie's public apology, he urged the governor to delay his visit, saying he suspects the whole story has yet to come out. He said the governor's office was tainted by "venomous, petty" politics.

Audio: Christie's Press Conference

An email message to the central figure in the fray surrounding the closure of traffic lanes to the George Washington Bridge links a top aide to Governor Chris Christie to the growing scandal. "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," wrote Christie Aide Bridget Anne Kelly.

See The PDF of Emails and Texts Here

Providing his timeline of events, Christie says he gave his staff a chance about a month ago to admit their involvement in the scandal, but that they denied it. He now says "he never would have joked" about the story had he been told the truth. Christie admitted that, in previous press conferences, he'd lied, but that he'd done so "unwittingly."

The New York Times reported Thursday that the US Attorney in New Jersey is opening an inquiry into the bridge closing. On this morning's Brian Lehrer show,  Barbara Buono, New Jersey State Senator and Christie's opponent in last year's Governor's race, said that the idea that Christie did not know his staff was involved "strains credulity." Calling for federal oversight, Buono demanded that "people need to be put under oath." Christie says he will conduct interviews with senior staff to gain more information about the closing.


Barbara Buono and Matt Katz

Comments [141]

iMan9796 from New Jersey

I guess both Gov. Christie & Gov. Cuomo, both heads of the Port Authority, didn't understand the true nature of the national security problem of the Port Authority's illegal written policy to throw valid lost passports found at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in the garbage for anyone to find & use for their own nefarious purpose...i.e. a terrorist groups or an identity theft ring. Also, the rampant & shameless theft of lost property at the PABT's Lost & Found Dept. by PABT Supervisors.  Google “Donna Lebourne abc news" & see the vile face of shame being confronted and exposed for the world to see.

The Port Authority has degenerated into a cesspool of crime, corruption, cover-ups & retaliation staffed with a bunch of clowns, cowards, liars & thieves."sarah+gonzales"

No one should be above the law, no matter who they are or who they work for.

Feb. 01 2014 01:40 AM
Kazz from Brooklyn

I noticed last Friday that my comment on this thread at 10:38 was removed. It had been the only comment to wonder if the bridge traffic was deliberately tied up in connection with any possible political spat over Ft. Lee's huge real estate development by the GWB. I know zero about the situation, but the fact that the mayor of Ft. Lee took an extra moment in his Thursday interview with Rachel Maddow to crow about that development jumped out at me. All I'd asked was, any toes stepped on in that deal? Anybody looking at that? An hour later my comment was gone.

Jan. 12 2014 09:28 AM
stanchax from Brooklyn

The problem Christie.

Jan. 11 2014 10:51 AM
Jake from Nassau County

Tweet from Bridget "The Bridge" Kelley complaining about traffic in 2012:

"Bridget Kelly ‏@BridgetAnneK 3 Oct 12
Enya is the only thing that made the 2 hours of traffic tolerable today."

Jan. 09 2014 10:22 PM
Jake from Nassau

The sad thing is that now no one will be able to do a traffic study any more, just like no one can hike the Appalachian Trail any more.

Jan. 09 2014 10:11 PM
bklynd from brooklyn

Aside from the current scandal, perhaps it's time to overhaul, restructure (or eliminate) the Port Authority. With its divided leadership, patronage jobs, and siphoning of funds to non-PA projects, not to mention NYS having to take over the LaGuardia & JFK projects, something needs to be done.

Jan. 09 2014 09:28 PM
jmct from Connecticut

I found two things fascinating: First, Christie's outrage seemed to be about his staff lying to him, not about what they did. He was given a couple of chances to clarify this, including asking whether he has asked himself how a staff member could think such an action was acceptable and he kept pivoting back to the lying. This makes me think that political retaliation IS part of the culture in his administration. (Related: I will bet anything that additional examples of childish retaliation will surface.)

Second, he still seems to think there was some kind of traffic study. This absolutely strains credulity for anyone who has been following this story.

Jan. 09 2014 04:46 PM

U said " There will be never be any Christie prez campaign. Christie's prez prospects are ABSOLUTELY ZERO."
Never say never!!
Never doubt the lows the voters will sink to!

Jan. 09 2014 03:40 PM
Nick from UWS

Christie said in his press conference that not only did he not pressure the Mayor of Ft Lee to support him, he had no idea what the Mayor of Ft Lee even looked like, and "would not be able to pick him out of a lineup" (interesting choice of words). And lo and behold, here is a picture of Christie, from this very WNYC website, looking directly at the Mayor of Ft Lee:

Jan. 09 2014 03:40 PM

Boy, he's good.

Guilty, too.

Jan. 09 2014 03:32 PM

One of my favorite of Christie's comments, back in December, is when he said the reason Democrats were saying the lane closures were political, was because NJ Democrats didn't have anything else better to do. "I told you they had nothing to do." So, now that the closures were actually political, is it his administration that doesn't have anything else better to do? Except create problems, instead of solving them?

Jan. 09 2014 02:47 PM

To the 'What about Benghazi' crowd:

People died in Benghazi and the guys to blame are the Libyans who started the fires. Did Hillary ignore calls for help? Nope. Did the Congress cut $500M from the Dept of State security budget over the two previous years. Yep. Did either action (or non-action) kill our ambassador and staff? Nope. Angry Libyans did that. Benghazi events and motivations have been studied in detail. I understand the logic of your unsupported opinion. If the nation had known that Benghazi was an al Qaeda attack, Obama would have lost the election. My unsupported opinion is if the abuse of power by Christie's staff had been more widely reported, Buono would have been elected governor.

How do you think Bridget Kelly’s and Dave Wildstein’s behaviors over the last four years will be perceived as more of them come to light. Christie may be safe if this is truly a one-time event. But you and I both know that it is not a one-time event. Any governor with the stones to use $12M of public money to fund an unnecessary election in order to make a bigger statement on his own Election Day has set a tone that certain lines can be crossed if you have the right motivation.

If this turns out to be a pattern of behavior, Christie is toast. Laugh today but eventually facts will out.

Jan. 09 2014 01:15 PM
Maggie from NJ

Did anyone ask why if he spent yesterday digging in to get to the bottom of this, he did not speak to Kelly at all. He said he did not speak to her at all yesterday because the comment in her email was so clear he did not need to speak to her to fire her .
But the firing is not the issue: Doesn't it seem if he wanted to get to the bottom of this that she is one of the key people who could give him useful Information? Of course if he already knew the details of this entire situation, he would not need to speak to her. Otherwise she would be a primary source for the information he was seeking. I think this comment of his raises some interesting questions.

Jan. 09 2014 01:10 PM
Nora from Fort Lee, NJ

I've lived in Fort Lee almost all my life and walked to school almost every day. Thankfully, the route I took was a short distance through a residential area. However, 2 of the 4 elementary schools lie within a couple blocks to major local roads leading to the bridge, and 3 of 4 require students from many areas to at least cross one to get to school. The high school is a couple of blocks from the tollbooths!

The fact that these people would engineer a hazard that increases risk to hundreds of children and prevent local authorities from adequately managing/resolving it is despicable.

Jan. 09 2014 01:01 PM
CKNJ from Jersey City

So, reports say a woman died as a result of not being able to be assisted in a timeous way... surely this should result in criminal prosecution?

I really don't believe a word that Christie says.... not one. he is doing major damage control and just blathering on to make people go away because they don't want to hear him yammering on any more. Well, that won't work in this case. There needs to be a full scale investigation into this and criminal liability assigned where it is deserved!

I find it impossible to believe these few people were involved in a vacuum... all redacted names etc need to be investigated.

Jan. 09 2014 12:47 PM

4 days of massive traffic diversions & no one noticed???? Did WCBS radio et al hold on to their traffic tapes???

Blockage @ the GWB diverts traffic North to the Tappan Zee, et al. & South to the Outerbridge up to the Lincoln.

Add in westward changes needed for CT traffic, diverted delivery truck routes, diverted long distance haulers + emergency vehicles from the Bx to LI & these jokers added hours to commutes, deliveries & personal travel for work & other daily tasks.

Jan. 09 2014 12:47 PM
art525 from Partk Slope

Oh pul-leeeze John from the LES- Benghazi got a ridiculous amount of scrutiny. You might not knwo this but Daryl Issa conducted congressional investigations that went on and on. He and his cronies were desperate to find some sort of misconduct. And you know what? they didn't? Too bad such scrutiny wasn't applied to the 911 attacks. As I stated previously in this thread, the Bush administration was warned of a possible attack by the Hart Rudman report, a report whose cover had a picture of the WTC in crosshairs. Richard Clarke was quite determined to wake up the Bush administration but the report sat on Condaleeza Rice's desk. Are you concerned about that? I will be quite happy if this sleazy act by Christies gang gets the scrutiny that Benghazi got. I wonder if ex car thief Issa would be interested in investigating.

Jan. 09 2014 12:34 PM
Ben from Westchester

I find the scandal disgusting. The BIGGEST thing separating the USA from countries in the third world is the belief that in the United States you will not be arrested or persecuted based on your political party.

It should never even be a QUESTION in this nation if you are being targeted for your alliances.

I believed it when George W. Bush did it with the US Attorneys scandal (for which Karl Rove should have been put under oath and, if incriminated, jailed) and I believed it when Sharpe James did it in Newark on the Democratic side. It is WRONG WRONG WRONG.

With Christie, he can't get away with firing people and using plausible deniability for his own office. ALL of the parties involved should be put under oath and not merely "interviewed by Christie," as he is suggesting. If they are guilty, they should be jailed and not fired.

If your child wets himself because his school bus is in traffic for four hours, and a Republican aide says "it's okay, these are Buono voters," they should be in prison if their actions were political in nature (i.e. using government resources for a political battle).

Chris Christie was an US District Attorney and knows all of this. He's also a great actor and a terrific politician.

Jan. 09 2014 12:34 PM
Patrick from fort lee

Democrats are out of their minds if they think this means anything. its much to do about nothing. Listen, the Clintons have disgraced this country over and over and the brain dead left loves them. obama lied, lied, lied, is destroying the middle class's medical insurance and ordered a spy program that targeted the GOP. What the brain dead left do, covered it up. Christie is awesome, buono should stick to baking cookies, she is an idiot.

Jan. 09 2014 12:27 PM
Pat McKeever from Deer Park, LI

Regardless of what happens to Christie I think someone should be going to jail for this. To think that these folks who are supposed to be taking care of business for ALL the people they are working for can use their positions to inflict harm and suffering on those people they disagree with? When will we force these people to operate at a higher standard? To say that they can just resign from their positions and walk away is just not good enough.

Jan. 09 2014 12:21 PM
Diana from NJ

I wonder how many of you communicating righteous indignation have any understanding or experience with politics in New Jersey? This type of activity is nothing. Having seen the corruption and dirt in local politics, the ultimate negative impact of some of those activities on society far outweigh this event.

Therefore it is not so much the event then the fact that Christie didn't know. Again, how many of you have worked in political operations, and do you not think that it is possible, with the number of subordinates and political operatives working on a politician's behalf, that he might not be aware of an action -- especially if it was a very minor (relatively speaking) action?

Christie's point about not caring about the reason for the lie is that he didn't want to hear her excuses at the moment. Once things cool down, it is time for the debrief to find out if something is afoul within staff or the current operating cultures. This can't be done in a couple of days.

Jan. 09 2014 12:20 PM

To Amy from Manhattan,

David Wildstein apparently referred to Sokolich as “this little Serbian” when emailing Christie two-time campaign manager Bill Stepien.
“I’m Croatian, Wolf,” Sokolich clarified to CNN.

Jan. 09 2014 12:19 PM
Bobby G from East Village

Christie, in his monogramed french cuffs, denies knowing who initiated this, and states that he did not bother to even ask Bridget Kelly who was in on it. How come?

Jan. 09 2014 12:18 PM

the mayor of fort lee was referred to as "little serbian" and "serbia".

Jan. 09 2014 12:16 PM
John from LES

Boy I wish Benghazi had gotten this kind of scrutiny.......
Guess she can help him move the traffic cones.

Jan. 09 2014 12:16 PM
UL885 from Bklyn

Interesting comment by Christie about his staff breaking his "circle of trust." Recall DeNiro's threatening, tough-guy character saying that to Ben Stiller's character in Meet the Parents - and Christie claims he's not a bully?

Jan. 09 2014 12:15 PM
Bebe from Queens

Even if Christie didn't know of the plan initially (which I do not believe to be the case), after the first day he had to be aware that there was a monstrous traffic jam on the GW Bridge. At that point he could have brought the whole thing to a halt with a couple of phone calls. WHY DIDN'T HE? Because he liked it that way, that's why.

Jan. 09 2014 12:15 PM
Jeff from Monmouth County, NJ

This may be a case of strong priors -- I am not a fan of Chris Christie -- but this press conference did little to change my opinion.

I simply don't find it credible that Christie did not know what was going on. Despite the fact that Christie leaned on the "65k state employees" thing, the fact is that Bridget Kelley is not some low-level bureaucrat who went rogue. She's one of his top advisors, she's one of the people in the room when big decisions are made. The idea that she was going behind the boss's back strains credulity. The idea that Baroni and Wildstein went along without the boss's OK further strains credulity. The idea that Wildstein and Baroni fell on their swords to protect Kelley and Christie didn't think to ask what was going on strains it further. The best case scenario here is that Christie is phenomenally incompetent and his people are totally out of control.

But honestly I don't think that's the case. Christie almost certainly knew what was going on. Some other notes:
- Christie stated that he's had two sleepless nights. Earlier he stated he learned about the mess around 8:50 AM yesterday, 27 hours earlier. So why did he not sleep well the previous night? When asked, Christie indicated he misstated. Except he had repeated the two day formulation, saying he's been engaged in soul-searching for "36 to 48 hours."
- He hasn't spoken to Kelley yet? Really?
- A month ago he gave his people an hour to come forward before he went before the press. Really? Is this how he conducted investigations as a US attorney?
- Based on his aggrieved tone, you'd think the real problem here is that Christie was lied to.

Jan. 09 2014 12:14 PM
RBR from manhattan

All misbehavior, criminal and political culpability aside, the big concern is that a single person or few persons had the capability of shutting down a portion of one of the most travelled bridges, in one of the most terrorist targeted cities, in the absence of any immediate public health threat, for an alleged, non emergent study, without the knowledge of police, fire and safety officials. What does this say about the state of security at the Port Authority and the safety of the general public? Had the perpetrators of the closures had more malicious intent towards the public, imagine what could have ensued. The story is much greater than politics, it reveals critical gaps in security that warrant immediate attention.

Jan. 09 2014 12:13 PM

To Amy from Manhattan : The Mayor of Fort Lee was referred to as a "Serb" in one of the emails, his family is from Croatia.

Jan. 09 2014 12:12 PM


It's not fair for you to cut into Leonard Lopate's show. Shame on you. Dave Weigel is an airhead who knows nothing. Don't waste valuable air time with his incredibly lame observations.

Jan. 09 2014 12:09 PM
robin O from brooklyn

Christie's address reminds me of the Claude Rains character's statement in "Casablanca" ----

"I am shocked, shocked to find there is gambling going on here!"

Jan. 09 2014 12:08 PM

"I am not a bully" is right up there with "I am not a crook."

But did I hear right? Did he deny ever meeting Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich and say he "wouldn't recognize him in a lineup" and then, five minutes later, say that he spoke at the man's inauguration?

Jan. 09 2014 12:08 PM
Robert from NYC

That's so true it's huge and yet so petty. But really that's what makes it sick as well.

Jan. 09 2014 12:06 PM
Ben from New jersey

What a non scandal compared to every other democratic governor bribing their way through the office. Remember Jim mcgreevy and his maviaveli scandal?

Jan. 09 2014 12:06 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

It's obvious the guy is not ready for prime time if only because he hires complete morons. Why would you put any of this in an email? Don't they read the friggin' newspaper at least? Don't they know they NEVER, EVER go away ...Deleted it? Still there. Deleted it and closed the email account? STILL FRIGGIN THERE on a server farm somewhere... It's just mind blowing that he would hire someone with such unbelievably poor judgement and lack of basic common sense. Sorry Govnuh, it's OVAH...

Jan. 09 2014 12:06 PM
Cliff from Tarrytown

He is a liar. The traffic study that he keeps referring to is evidence that he is lying. There was no traffic study. He keeps saying that he thought is was just a traffic study. He said there was "no evidence that it wasn't a traffic study". But there was also no evidence that it was a traffic study. He couldn't find that out? That is BS. A woman died because of this. People were humiliated and put off by this. He needs to resign and he should be prosecuted to fullest extent of the law

Jan. 09 2014 12:06 PM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

Riddle me this...The governor said that the first he heard of the Kelly-Wildstein email exchange was yesterday at 8:50am after his workout. Later on, he stated that he has already lost two nights sleep.

How do you lose a night's sleep BEFORE you know this detail? Is it reasonable that he was projecting to losing tonight's sleep?

As Ms. Buono pointed out, the details were out there BEFORE the election but the media is under-resourced and was indifferent to this story's impact on the outcome. This governor was willing to spend $12M of public money to fund an unnecessary US Senate election, so the propensity to use public funds for personal ends was already out there. Perhaps it was better that this story/stew had time to simmer...

Jan. 09 2014 12:06 PM
Christopher from Hoboken

He said he wasn't a bully and no one laughed. Great restraint on the part of the press corps.

I think he may be cooked at this point. He was relatively convincing in the PC, but his enemies on the left (full disclosure: including me) will exploit his failure to manage a clean shop, and his enemies on the right (the Tea Party) will denounce him for apologizing, because to them such tactics are absolutely fair game.

Jan. 09 2014 12:06 PM
Baron Munchausen from Bloomfield

Chris Christie must either be lying, or just recently became aware of the world outside of his body. To wit:

1. I cannot find the link at the moment, but I recall reading that the mayor of Fort Lee went on record saying his repeated calls to Christie's office asking about the lane closures at the GWB were ignored/not returned. So the governor of a state is unaware that one of his mayors his calling his office repeatedly asking for help?

2. His high-school buddy he appointed to a no-work job at the Port Authority, David Wildstein, and another Christie appointee at the PA resigned in December when it was becoming clear to everyone that there was no traffic study. Was Christie unaware of his friend' resignation? Is the governor that unaware of what his high-school-buddy appointees are doing?

3. He is still talking about a traffic study. That explanation was dead and buried WEEKS ago. That he is still bringing it up is telling. Is he that disconnected from the media that he's still trumpeting discredited statements from weeks ago?

4. Why was so much of the documents released relating to this incident redacted? Who else does this implicate?

I think the guy is full of lies.

Jan. 09 2014 12:04 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Yes the guy has taken an acting class. Still he is a fraud and a lire and a thug.

Jan. 09 2014 12:03 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I hadn't heard about the "racially insensitive remark" till today--what was it & who said it?

Jan. 09 2014 12:02 PM
O. Palacol

Who's smiling now? I don't think he'll even qualify as a cone mover,it's a job for honest people..

Jan. 09 2014 12:02 PM
Katherine from Brooklyn, NY

Methinks the fat man doth protest too much! "Heartbroken," "saddened," etc. Really?? Maybe sorry that he got caught. And that phony tone of voice. And why would people in his office take it upon themselves to do something like this?

Jan. 09 2014 12:02 PM
Lothar Brieger

Why is no reporter asking who's name is redacted in the emails?

Jan. 09 2014 12:02 PM

I do not believe a word that Christie said during this press conference. In fact, his ability to lie and throw his staff under the bus without even flinching demonstrate a stunning and frightening lack of integrity. That kind of "charisma" is something we do not need at any level of government.

Jan. 09 2014 12:01 PM
Matt Sielken from Brooklyn

the problem with having a straight forward style and reinforcing it repeatedly is that people believe what you say and notice what you don't say----What about the continued political retribution that your staff enthusiastically engaged in? Seemingly for fun given the likelihood that they could not lose the election.

Jan. 09 2014 12:00 PM
Oscar Palacol

Who's smiling now? I don't think he'll even qualify as a cone mover,it's a job for honest people..

Jan. 09 2014 12:00 PM
mfan from Staten Island

Impeach! Impeach!

Jan. 09 2014 12:00 PM
Z from Brooklyn, formerly NJ

He is doing all this soul-searching about what happened, what went wrong-- but he said he hasn't talked to Bridget Kelly the fired employee since these revelations. Shouldn't he want to talk to her?

Jan. 09 2014 11:59 AM

Brain , what do you mean by "his potential prez campaign".

Seriously, have you lost your mind? There will be never be any Christie prez campaign. Christie's prez prospects are ABSOLUTELY ZERO.

Jan. 09 2014 11:58 AM
JT from Born in NJ

Ok, so let's take Gov Christie at his word. The Mayor of Fort Lee wasn't being punished for his lack of an endorsement. So WHY was he being punished? Something even worse? Something that would implicate even more politicians? Maybe that's the reason why the Mayor clammed up as soon as the story began to break?

Jan. 09 2014 11:57 AM

we need the rest of nj legislature to start taking action against him. i hope they start doing something to get rid of him. we can't trust this liar or anyone appointed by him.

Jan. 09 2014 11:57 AM
Tony from UWS

I don't believe him and PLEASE stop calling this "Bridge Gate"!

Jan. 09 2014 11:57 AM
Sarah from UES

Did he ask his aide if this or something similar has happened before/presently? Seems symptomatic.

Jan. 09 2014 11:56 AM
Cynthia from East Harlem

After day 1 he should have acted - it took him to day 4!!!! Please!!

Jan. 09 2014 11:54 AM
Dennis Lonergan from Manhattan

I wish I was there to ask questions. Like, this went on for four days, with growing outrage. And he never asked anything about it? And if he didn't think it was politically motivated, he was the only one in the state who felt that way. There's just no credible way for him to say that he found all this out yesterday.

Jan. 09 2014 11:54 AM
Arthur Aptowitz from Forest Hills, NY

Christie thinks that LYING TO HIM is the problem. NO, playing with the lives of thousands of people for FOUR DAYS is the problem!
Solution: Smply STOP appointing political hacks, clowns, operatives and unqualified personal friends to jobs with real power.
His statements so far indicate that neither of the above appeals to him and he will continue in his ways.
HE should not be interviewing people, he is part of the problem.

Jan. 09 2014 11:51 AM
carolina from Brooklyn

Hypothetically: if there was a real traffic study going on, would this be the way to do it (not notifying anybody in advance, etc)? That should have raised a red flag with the governor in the first place.

Jan. 09 2014 11:51 AM
N in NJ

So who else on Christie's staff has been behaving like this, and he "doesn't know about it?" His entire team is now suspect due to his choices of people who work closest to him. What's he going to do about that? Blaming his nearest aides and claiming it's all fixed now does nothing to clean up his act. I served on a policy committee during Christie's first campaign. These are exactly the kinds of people I found myself "working" with -- and I quit. Christie's entire team, from staff to policy-making, are of an ilk and he knows it. He handpicked them. This is an administration filled with the kinds of people Christie has been embarrassed into firing, because he's one of them.

Jan. 09 2014 11:50 AM
art525 from Park Slope

When asked about the subordinate who made as the reorpter said "a racially insensitive remark about the mayor of Ft Lee" Christie said it sometimes a person is " a mistake hire" and you don't know when you oversee 65,000 people what kind of people you are hring. The thing is the guy who made the reacially insensitive remark is a guy he has known since high school. Nice try christie. You lying phony.

Jan. 09 2014 11:50 AM
john cappelletti from manhattan

The Gov says "I'm focused on why people lied to me." Yet he says he's "not interested in why Bridget lied to me."

Jan. 09 2014 11:48 AM
Nick from UWS

He's remediated those mistakes today with the actions that he has taken? Really? He's fixed it? It's all done? We're finished?

Jan. 09 2014 11:48 AM
Bronxwriter from Riverdale

He's sweatin'....

Jan. 09 2014 11:47 AM
Queens listener

Why does he keep referring to this traffic study when there obviously wasn't one?

Jan. 09 2014 11:46 AM
ThomasR from Manahattan

The behavior of Christie's aides is a direct reflection of his management style and personality. Take note of his initial reaction; making a joke of the matter.
He lies by saying that he just learned of this link to his administration yesterday morning, yet has lost two nights sleep; meaning someone tipped him off on Tuesday, prior to release of the e-mails.

Jan. 09 2014 11:46 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Curious. He hasn't "spoken to Kelly since the emails came out"? Has he spoken to Stepian? To find out why he "lied to" him?

Jan. 09 2014 11:46 AM

Measure a society by its poorest citizen; an politician by his crookedest bagman."

Jan. 09 2014 11:45 AM
Carla from Franklin, NY

Dear Gov. Christie,

I've known that there was no traffic study for at least two months. Where have you been and why didn't you look into this earlier?

Jan. 09 2014 11:44 AM

Whether he knew about it or not, this governor has set a tone here in NJ that says it's okay to be a bully; to use the law and position in any way that benefits him and to then wiggle out of any real responsibility. It's great to be king and that's what he's making himself.

Jan. 09 2014 11:43 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ JT

LOL, couldn't have put it better. Here's another:

"History always emphasizes terminal events."

-Albert Speer

Jan. 09 2014 11:43 AM
gary from nyc

what about prosecuting the Port authority appointments that gov. Chrisite, {Baroni and Wildstein} made that have since resigned, and preventing them from receiving their PENSIONS ?

Jan. 09 2014 11:42 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ JT

LOL, couldn't have put it better. Here's another:

"History always emphasizes terminal events."

-Albert Speer

Jan. 09 2014 11:42 AM
mick from Inwood

"What did I do wrong to have these people lie to me"??? The problem was the callous disregard his people showed for the safety of people using the GW Bridge. If they had told the truth to him would he have NOT fired them for their unethical and possibly illegal conduct? Christie's own words shows he doesn't understand the real problem that is always produced by his kind of bully boy politics--shouting down teachers and other public employees, deriding reporters who ask tough questions instead of giving answers, etc.

Jan. 09 2014 11:42 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Christie is upset they lied to him. How bout that they displayed such ugly souls? And is he swo clueless that he didn't see what ugly people he had hired? And he has known Widstein since high school. Is he so oblivious that he didn't know these people's true natures? If so he is definitely not suited for any public office.

Jan. 09 2014 11:40 AM

Why did Christie not sleep well the last two nights, if he only learnt of these facts at 0855 yesterday morning?

Jan. 09 2014 11:40 AM

This is great political theater

Jan. 09 2014 11:39 AM
namrata gupta from Delhi, India

He screwed up…happened on his dime..., thats it. move on. there's a lot of other stuff to FIX. but I'm very curious about the redacted emails. THAT I'd like to see.

Jan. 09 2014 11:39 AM
nb from brooklyn

Yes of course he's heart broken and sick over this - 2016 is fluttering out the window.

Jan. 09 2014 11:38 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Fake sincerity news conference.

Jan. 09 2014 11:38 AM
Amy from Manhattan

There's still no indication that it wasn't actually a traffic study? Is he really expecting anyone to believe he thinks a traffic study would have been done without any notification to the public beforehand?

Jan. 09 2014 11:37 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Why did his staff members lie to Christie? Because they did something they shouldn't have and didn't want to lose their jobs. Get real, Guv.

Jan. 09 2014 11:37 AM
Nick from UWS

LOLOLOL - Now he's saying that he didn't even know what the Mayor of Ft Lee looked like until he saw his picture the other day. I've never heard so much pristine BS in my life.

Jan. 09 2014 11:36 AM
Hal from NYC

Well, gee. He sounds really sincere.

Jan. 09 2014 11:35 AM
Harriet from Newark

Naive. This man is NOT naive. He was the attorney general of NJ prior to becoming the governor. He KNOWS how to conduct an investigation. He dropped the ball. He should have asked for all communication from his staff as soon as the story broke. You bet he's responsible. His style of aggression set the tone for his staff. NJ has ethics laws and required training. His saying he had no knowledge because his staff lied to him is crap. This didn't happen in a vacuum. His staff had to know he was peeved and he set the tone for this!

Jan. 09 2014 11:32 AM
Mark from Manhattan

I have two questions for Gov. Christie. The first is, Will he reveal what was redacted in the released emails? Second, would you be willing to testify under oath in front of a legislative investigating committee if so asked by the committee?

Jan. 09 2014 11:32 AM
fuva from harlemworld

The other thing is -- his people know that there are things he doesn't want to know -- for plausible deniability -- and so he WANTS them to lie to him.

Jan. 09 2014 11:31 AM
mick from Inwood

"All of the people who came from the other side of the aisle to work with us..." In other words, can anyone NOT believe that those went along with Christie's agenda were the people for whom the intimidation worked?

Jan. 09 2014 11:30 AM

mini Checkers speech

Jan. 09 2014 11:29 AM

... and at what point did the Gov. say, "Will no one rid me of this troublesome Serbian?"

Jan. 09 2014 11:29 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I see..."moving forward" is Gov. Christie's new "we've moved on." I'm glad the press didn't.

He said he wouldn't have "joked" about the lane closures, as if his remarks were merely funny, when they were actually dismissive & sarcastic. He should have said he'd look into it from the start.

Jan. 09 2014 11:28 AM

he continues to life to our faces. disgusting. if he actually wants to take responsibility, he needs to resign. if he doesn't resign, there needs to be a recall on the last election.

Jan. 09 2014 11:28 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Christie just admitted he is jerk.

Jan. 09 2014 11:27 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Christie is putting a plaque on his desk. It says "The buck stops with Kelly".

Jan. 09 2014 11:27 AM
Nick from UWS

He fires Bridgette Kelly, who said "Time for some traffic problems in Ft Lee." thereby attempting to protect David Wildenstein who replied with "Got it." and who actually implemented the closures. It wasn't Kelly who did it...all she did was say it. Wildenstein did it, or him and some other guys. Typical political misdirection.

Jan. 09 2014 11:27 AM
Bobby G from East Village

Christie accepts no blame. Lays it all on Kelly. Where did Stepien's sarcastic attitude come from?
Christie needs to get out there and move some more traffic cones.

Jan. 09 2014 11:26 AM
mick from Inwood

"I am shocked, shocked to see gambling taking place in this establishment!" I hope someone at the news conference has the guts to ask Christie if the kind of people he has around him--including others whom he did not have to fire today--is not a direct result of his "Bully Boy" style of governing.

Jan. 09 2014 11:25 AM

To EveJochnowitz,

Buono's tone was pitch perfect. Try putting yourself in her place. The state and natl Democratic party leadership didn't lift a finger to help her in her campaign against Christie. They treated her like dirt.

Jan. 09 2014 11:24 AM

Do you think crow tastes like chicken?

Jan. 09 2014 11:23 AM
fuva from harlemworld

And he absolutely set the tone. Current Republican culture is bully culture.

Jan. 09 2014 11:23 AM

Maybe chrisy should open his advisors to more than just his high school buddies?!

Jan. 09 2014 11:21 AM
Nick from UWS

He's an extraordinary actor, this Chris Christie.

Jan. 09 2014 11:19 AM
fuva from harlemworld

He would NOT have asked about his staff's corruption AN HOUR before a press conference...
He's OUTRAGED at his staff showing the same indifference he showed?
One of his CLOSEST aides knew and he did not?
We know what he was doing yesterday....

Jan. 09 2014 11:18 AM

So far Bridget Kelly's the highest-ranking Christie administration official identified as responsible for Bridgeghazi. It's inconceivable that she acted without direction. Someone has to find out how much she's getting paid for taking the fall. She needs to be questioned, under oath.

Jan. 09 2014 11:17 AM
NY'r in CT from CT

Sorry, this is BS. Every leader sets the tone for there administration. Stop blaming everyone else.

Jan. 09 2014 11:16 AM

I understand that Senator Buono is justifiably aggrieved, but I wish she could have mustered a bit of a "more in sadness than in anger" statement, just for the few minutes of airtime. You can always say "I told you so" in the green room.

Jan. 09 2014 11:15 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Christie is throwing his staff under-bus. And apologies to save his miserable political career.
His is lying. He knew a lot.

Jan. 09 2014 11:14 AM

Did he say Bridgette Kelly fired only because she lied to HIM not due to the nature of her behavior??? HE is more important than their obligation to their consituents and their elected offices????? Suppose it should not surprise.

Jan. 09 2014 11:12 AM

It's nice that Christie apologized to Ft Lee residents, but he also owes reporters an apology for his prior snide and sarcastic comments to them.

Jan. 09 2014 11:11 AM
Bobby G from East Village

What Christie should do at his news conference is accept responsibility and blame, apologize and ask for forgiveness from the people of New Jersey instead throwing others under the bus.

Jan. 09 2014 11:07 AM
Jeff from NYC

Does anyone know if the U.S. attorney assigned to look into this will be able to access UNREDACTED emails?

Jan. 09 2014 11:06 AM
BigGuy from Forest Hills

Its OK if you're a Republican.

It doesn't matter.

Only Democrats are obligated to use government to help the people, not Republicans.

Republicans see the PURPOSE of government to be to reward friends and punish enemies. Chris Christie has proved he can do so almost as effectively as Dick Cheney.

Christie can only rise in Republican Party politics. He's proved he can get things done the way Republicans want things done.

After all, look what happened to W after he ignored the warnings about Al Qaeda attacking.

NOTHING. He was elected in 2004, after being appointed in 2000.

Jan. 09 2014 11:06 AM
Stephen from Prospect Heights

Speaks for itself:

2016 election is 2.5 years away.
Folks have limited memories.
Since Reagan, this stuff does not stick.

Jan. 09 2014 11:06 AM
New Yorker from NYC

We still don't understand why Pat Foye and the New York Gov sat at their desks twiddling their thumbs.Immediately they should of done something and didn't and Mr.Foye claims he didn't know what was going on...well, that is telling sign to get rid of him. Safety of residents were put at harm and our elected officials did nothing. Too many political appointees at Port Authority and heads should role there.

Jan. 09 2014 11:05 AM
l kandell

Buono sounds week, searching for words, sounds like she has a mouth full of dentures. Too bad, a missed chance.

Jan. 09 2014 11:05 AM
kimmylbs from nyc

way to be graceful about it, buono... "told you so"

Jan. 09 2014 11:05 AM

Anyone know if that 91-year-old woman left lying unconscious (and later dying) while her ambulance was stuck in Christie's 4-day traffic jam was a Buono voter, too?

Jan. 09 2014 11:04 AM
Nick from UWS

My guess is that Christie did some kind of favor, unknown to us, for Sokolich at some point in the past, but Sokolich did not return the favor.

Jan. 09 2014 11:04 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Christie or better Putin-Christie. A thug like Putin.

Jan. 09 2014 11:01 AM

Mark sokolich is a hero!!
Why is this framed as revenge against a mayor instead of punishing the commuters of the region?
Chrisy will suggest he didn't know what was going on
If true the job of president is tooo big for him.
Shame on voters for letting him stick around tooo long.

Jan. 09 2014 10:59 AM
Lloyd from Manhattan

Do you think Christie will pull a McGreevey, saying "I'm a bully-American and I resign." I think he should resign -- Christie's fingerprints are all over this. His underlings would not have done it if Christie hadn't ordered it.

Jan. 09 2014 10:59 AM
Cynthia from East Harlem - work

I want to know who "unidentified" is who was in the conversation pertaining to late school arrivals, and the mayors calls falling on deaf ears.

Jan. 09 2014 10:59 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Wow, there's so much going on here. Peep, for instance, the photo of Christie and the blonde deputy chief of staff...Fat boy finally getting the cheerleader's attention...

Jan. 09 2014 10:58 AM
Nick from UWS

Yeah.....let's see how many times Christie's name appears under all those black redaction marks on the emails. This story is not complete until those redactions are removed.

Jan. 09 2014 10:56 AM

So arrogant! I hope America wakes up to this bully.

Jan. 09 2014 10:56 AM
Bobby G from East Village

Two questions.
Who told Bridget Anne Kelly to get the Port Authority to close down the traffic lanes?
Who will Christie blame, instead of accepting culpability, as he tries to slither out of this scandal?

Jan. 09 2014 10:55 AM
Bobby G from East Village

As Brian has called it, this should be referred to the George Washington Bridge Scandal because it invokes the integrity and honesty of our first president.

Jan. 09 2014 10:53 AM
PTA Mom from Fort Lee

There were real victims in this. Imagine being a kindergartner, it's your first day of school and you are on a bus for 1 1/2 hours. Imagine being the parent waiting at the school, less than a mile away to get pictures of your child getting off the bus, and the bus never shows up. This is a parents nightmare. My school has over 700 children enrolled. This was not just 'a few' parents of Barbara Buono voters.

Fort Lee is very small geographically.

As to our residents, our children are all 'walkers'. Any bus service is local, so buses are privately contracted. At the time I was considered legally handicapped. So for my family, this meant I HAD to drive my child to school. When I could not access it, I took local dead end streets and walked the last quarter mile with a cane, on uneven pavement and in pain. Your handicap placard can't help when there is a deliberate SNAFU.

As to the region, bridge entrances in Fort Lee are NOT the domain of the tiny town of Fort Lee. These support all the local towns including the massively growing neighbor town of Edgewater, the dense towns to our south such as North Bergen, Cliffside Park, Fairview and others. Their mass transit busses ALL run through Fort Lee to get to the GWB Bus Terminal at the A Train. So ALL these people were prevented from getting to work on time for 3 days. What is the economic impact of this?

Getting even? All's fair? I don't think so. This was vindictive behavior with no self imposed braking or self control.

Jan. 09 2014 10:52 AM

And real investigation into Christie misconduct will _have_ to be done at the federal level because the executive and judicial branches in New Jersey are packed with Christie allies.

Jan. 09 2014 10:49 AM
art525 from Park Slope

As I understand it Christie carried Ft Lee. I wonder how many of those people stuck in four hour traffic jams are Republicans and how many of those stuck voted for Christie. And I wonder how those people feel about Christie today. I would love to hear from some of those people.

Jan. 09 2014 10:46 AM
ellen from hackensack

here's my question: we all saw that, during the gubernatorial campaign, the Democratic Party did very little to promote Buono's candidacy. I got frequent robocalls from Cory Booker about the Bergen County sheriff's race -- but virtually nothing about the governor's race... at the time, I took this as a sign that everyone thought Christie's re-election was a foregone conclusion -- but now I want to know whether and where and how much the Christie 'deputies' had their thumb on the scale... [ps I can't decide whether this whole thing reeks more of Mafia or of junior high school....]

Jan. 09 2014 10:37 AM
ellen from hackensack

here's my question: we all saw that, during the gubernatorial campaign, the Democratic Party did very little to promote Buono's candidacy. I got frequent robocalls from Cory Booker about the Bergen County sheriff's race -- but virtually nothing about the governor's race... at the time, I took this as a sign that everyone thought Christie's re-election was a foregone conclusion -- but now I want to know whether and where and how much the Christie 'deputies' had their thumb on the scale... [ps I can't decide whether this whole thing reeks more of Mafia or of junior high school....]

Jan. 09 2014 10:36 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

As this story unfolds, it sounds more and more like something that could happen in, maybe, Absurdistan, not in the US. However, since it did happen that public officials, whose salaries are paid with tax dollars, were responsible for this outrageous action, I submit that they should be terminated, their salaries, retroactive to the date of the lane closures, should be repaid to the government of New Jersey, and that they be tried and jailed for terrorism, abuse of public office, falsifying records and whatever other charges the NJ Attorney General can think of. And, perhaps, since it directly affected interstate travel and commerce, it may as well go to the US Attorney General (didn't Christie once work there?) for federal prosecution.

Jan. 09 2014 10:35 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Dear Jay F.- Former car thief Daryl Issa was unable after much effort and expense to find any wrongdoing on Secretary Clinton's part with his hearings. If there were culpability you know the right wing would have grabbed on to it. On the other hand are you as incensed about the Bush Administation's being asleep at the wheel regarding the 911 attacks. I don't hear right wingers being exorcised by that Hart- Rudman report predicting a terrorist attack (if I remember correctly the cover had a picture of the World Trade Center in a gun sight's cross hairs) that report that sat on Condoleeza Rice's desk unaddressed.

The right have a habit of changing the conversation when they are called on bad behavior. It seems pretty obvious that with Christie's thuggish ways his minions wouldn't do such a thing without his at least tacit approval. ANd for that Christie needs to answer. If it is shown that he was behind it he needs to resign. If it was his henchmen they need to face some serious charges not just leave office. They put public safety at risk.

Jan. 09 2014 10:34 AM

NJ's version of Nixon..

Jan. 09 2014 10:34 AM

Christie's prez campaign is officially dead in the water and even his sycophant fans in the media like Joe Scarborough and Mark Halperin can't help him now.

To Christie supporters who are feeling down and out, here's a song for you You have a veritable Mt Rushmore of other candidates such as Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Michele Bachmann so cheer up. Gray clouds are gonna clear up so put on a happy face.

Jan. 09 2014 10:24 AM
Jay F.

If this "Bridgegate" comes back to bite Christie in the a** during the 2016 elections, wouldn't Benghazi come back to chop Clinton off at the knees?

Jan. 09 2014 10:21 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Clinton Hill

I hope at today's news conference reporters press Christie as to why 4 days of hours-long traffic jams at the GWB did not warrant concern and action on his part.

It would seem to me that even if the closures were sanctioned, that after realizing the substantial traffic jams it produced, any sensible/capable manager would have decided to intervene and stop further implementations. Instead, the closures went on for 4 days with no intervention on Christie's part.

For a governor whose aim is to impress an image of a no-nonsense manager, intuned with the needs of the people, Christie's callousness in this matter make his newly found contriteness grossly hollow.

Jan. 09 2014 09:54 AM
Cautious Man from New Jersey

It's "Bridghazi". "-ghazi" is the new "-gate".

Jan. 09 2014 09:54 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Maybe Christie will do the right thig and resign. New. Christie is incapable of doing the right thing. I do think that he should call for crimoinal prosecution of the parties who implicated themselves in the emails, Kelly and WIldstein. If he does have clean hands (sooo unlikely) then he would want to get to the heart of the issue and he would want these people to pay for their act which put the public at such risk. And if he was responsible (as I am sure he was) then maybe the rats would turn on him and give us the truth. Bottom line though is that he is not qualified to be a leader. Either he knew and he's as big a sleaze as I have always thought him to be or he is absolutely incapable of leading his minions.

Jan. 09 2014 09:53 AM

Well, now we know why Christie squashed the new Hudson Tunnel…

In medieval ages, even building one bridge was considered giving up too much political power -- in lots of third world countries even today, building roads is considered too politically risky!

Jan. 09 2014 09:17 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.