consultants are sandburs

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Chris Christie at Bridget Anne Kelly's 40th Birthday celebration.

Online photo link, from this post:

The cake will fit under the bus.

One outlet is unkind to Christie excuse-making.

New York Times, about this and that, with op-ed commentary.

__________FURTHER UPDATE___________
MoJo coverage, linking the "We're doing a traffic study" explanation with Wide Stance and Walking the Appalachian Trail. There is sense to that.

Also a MoJo point, posing the question, without some prior planning conversations, you sit as a Port Authority commissioner and get an email from Gov. Christie's senior staff saying, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," would you respond, "Got it," or "Huh?"

Yet the most interesting thing the author points out:

And speaking of Bridgegate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie held an epic press conference today about it. Actually, "held" is the wrong tense. As I write this, it's still going on. He's apologized repeatedly, denied that he's a bully, claimed that he's embarrassed and humiliated, and fired a couple of his close aides. He's doing pretty well, and if he's telling the truth that he knew nothing about any of this before it happened, then he might be able to put it all behind him eventually. Still, I was struck by this:

Q: I'm wondering what your staff said to you about why they lied to you. Why would they do that? What was their explanation? And what about Mr. Samson? What role did he play in this?

GOV. CHRISTIE: I have — I have not had any conversation with Bridget Kelly since the email came out. And so she was not given the opportunity to explain to me why she lied because it was so obvious that she had. And I'm, quite frankly, not interested in the explanation at the moment.

That response caught with me too watching it, but then other talk ensued, and I overlooked the obvious implication that this "Mr. Sampson," may be a key person in things; given the glide and slide of the answer. So "Mr. Sampson" was off limits in the Governer's prepped mind there, hence, a person of greater interest for the interchange being as it was.

In Christie's favor, the immediate follow-up at the press conference was:

Q: Governor?

GOV. CHRISTIE: I'm not done. She had a second part of the question.

I think General Samson put out a statement yesterday that he had no knowledge of this. I interviewed him yesterday. He was one of my interviews. I am convinced that he had absolutely no knowledge of this, that this was executed at the operational level and never brought to the attention of the Board of Commissioners until Chairman Foye wrote his email -- or Executive Director Foye wrote his email to the Board of Commissioners.

And so I sat and met for two hours yesterday with Mr. Sampson -- General Sampson -- and again, I'm confident that he had no knowledge of this, based upon our conversations and his review of his information. So I think, you know, as he said yesterday, he is angered by this and upset about it, and I know that he's going to lead -- cooperate with the OIG investigation that's ongoing and lead a discussion at the Port Authority about what could be done in the future to stop such conduct.

So there is a consistent, post-discussion positioning of Christie and this Samson, neither knew nothing, days of traffic distress were happening, and neither, each says, knew a thing. Samson, I believe, was the top boss of the Port Authority, so, two top bosses, knowing little to nothing on their watch. Why pay bosses, to know nothing? It seems a waste.

WaPo posts online the complete transcript of the Christie performance.

Samson's name comes up again, there:

Q: So you still don't know what prompted an apparent vendetta? OK.

GOV. CHRISTIE: I don't -- I don't. And again, I don't know whether this was a traffic study that then morphed into a political vendetta or a political vendetta that morphed into a traffic study. I mean, I've seen, in front of the legislature statistics and other things about the traffic study, so I know there's information there. I don't know what it is, and so we'll find out over time maybe, but that's really in the minds of the people who were doing it, and that's what I based my decisions on at the time, was the testimony that people gave. Lastly --

Q: On the (payback ?) with the New York side?

GOV. CHRISTIE: Yeah -- no, no, no. Listen, I don't know exactly what you're referencing, but I think that you're talking about the Foye memo that was leaked? Is that what you were talking about? No?

Q: Yeah, but why -- as the memo -- and it was a little more (to follow up ?) because of (the redactions ?) -- but it seemed that according to Wildstein's emails, the traffic issue arose, complaints were made, a story appeared in one of the newspapers. Complaints were then lodged internally at the court over the stories, and so Wildstein says -- I don't know the exact words, so forgive me, but it's something along the lines of, we're taking appropriate action against the New York side, and Samson is working with us on it.

GOV. CHRISTIE: Yeah, it was something -- yeah, I asked General Samson about this, I think it said -- yeah, it said something to that effect. I don't remember exactly what it was. I asked Samson -- General Samson about that yesterday. He said he has absolutely no idea what Wildstein's referring to, and that the only communication that he had at that time was his concern that he expressed to fellow commissioners about internal Port Authority documents being leaked, and that he just said, that's just not appropriate for folks to be leaking internal documents.

But he has no recollection, from what he told me yesterday, of any conversation like that with Wildstein or Baroni at all that references what -- the gist of what you said in the email.

Q: (There weren't ?) internal payback outrage going on --

GOV. CHRISTIE: Not that I --

Q: -- (off mic)?

GOV. CHRISTIE: Certainly not that I'm aware of, or not out of the normal. I mean, let's remember something too: This is a bi-state agency with significant tension all the time. Now, there's no tension between Governor Cuomo and I; we get along quite well, and when issues rise to our level, we've always been able to resolve them. But there is tension and always has been between New York and New Jersey on the allocation of resources at the Port Authority.

And so let me be clear; there are some battles over there that go on that have happened in every administration over the course of my memory, but you can't connect that to -- that's kind of the ongoing nature of the tension of that agency, and, I think, of most bi-state agencies, although I think at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, because the resources are greater and demands are greater, it's even more. So no, nothing that I know of that's specific to that, Josh.

But I do want to make clear to people that, you know, this is -- there is tension that goes on between the employees of these agencies. Not every one of those issues of tension, thank goodness, are raised to my level and Governor Cuomo's level.

But the good news for the people of New York and New Jersey is that when those issues have been raised, in the last three years, to my level and Governor Cuomo's level, we have always, between the two of us, amicably resolved it and been able to move on. And sometimes that's the roles governors have to play in that agency.

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