consultants are sandburs

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Latest on Chris Christie. Press Conference [or statement only?] PLUS POST CONFERENCE UPDATE. 11:00 am, Eastern Time.


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a possible Republican White House contender enmeshed in a scandal over his staff's role in shutting down lanes onto the busy George Washington Bridge, will meet with reporters Thursday, his office said.

Christie will hold a news conference at his office in the state capital of Trenton at 11:00 a.m. EST (1600 GMT).

The controversy erupted with the public release of incriminating emails showing that a top Christie aide played a key role in closing some lanes to the bridge, in a ploy to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who didn't endorse Christie for re-election.

The George Washington Bridge, one of the busiest spans in the world, connects New York City to Fort Lee.

The incident threatens to tarnish Christie's image and national standing as he weighs a 2016 bid for the White House.

In an editorial, New York's Daily News pronounced Christie's presidential ambitions as "all but kaput."

"He will be lambasted and lampooned as a man of low character and horrible judgment," the newspaper wrote. "Take his denials of knowledge with skepticism, and the man is a monster."

New York Daily News referenced in the above excerpt; see, this link.

Full 2 hr. press conference: Christie did first what he had to, he said the buck stops here. He reitereated his written statement of yesterday, i.e., that the first he learned of the staff involvement was seeing the email thread in public reporting. He regarded the substance and tenor of the email thread as unacceptable and an insult to the people of New Jersey. He stated he had fired two people, the Kelley woman, a highly placed deputy staff person who he said did not directly report to him; and his campaign chief, whose name appeared as a recipient of some of the emails. He stated he fired the staff person without any exit interview, stating that a legislative investigation is pending at which she likely would be a witness and his belief was it would have been/looked inappropriate to have discussions with a potential witness.

All that hung together, and he indicated he and his administration would deal with any further information as it might surface. Stating a cause to hold back, while likely not wanting to look any more involved in follow-up than not, and if chips fell as they might, he'd deal with them if and when.

He was vehement that he was lied to, that two main senior staff people interviewed staff last year when the bridge delay surfaced and Kelly did not then admit any role, it was a lie, he was sad in having to decide to fire her, but he took that step as appropriate and a duty.

He has done "soul searching." He had believed what had been said, that a traffic study was involved, something beyond his expertise and which he believes is best left to Port Authority professional staff. He stated he had no cause to believe otherwise than that a study was involved, and had he known of the email content he would have been stupid to earlier have joked about the issue, and that he is not that stupid, nor as stupid as to have instigated the thing. He said that as much by implication as directly.

Whether Kelly in shutting down her Yahoo email account, tampered with evidence by purging emails when that clearly would not be appropriate was not raised at the press conference, by Christie or press. So far only one set of emails has surfaced. If Kelly holds independent further emails involving others his position implicitly was wait and see.

He made an argument that he had no basis to hold any grudge against the Fort Lee NJ mayor, and did not know him and had never sought his endorsement directly or through his reelection campaign.

He made the best he could of the situation. The thing is likely not put to rest, and we all await whether any further evidence relevant to any role Christie had in things surfaces. If so, he likely will minimize and explain, but he seemed indirectly committed to doing nothing to make the questions grow.

That's about it. Handled about as well as it might have been, no obvious gaffes based on what's reported so far, and a clear distancing from the activity as not his action at all, but his "buck stops here responsibility" for which he apologized, saying the situation allowed nothing more to do but meet with Fort Lee folks who'd see him, and apologize personally, and to move on and continue to do the job of governor.

The ball is no longer in his court, events need to play out, and where the two sacrificed (one with regret and vagueness and one strongly disavowed) people end up will be shown in future time and activity. If Ms. Kelly purged her email trail, that will come out; whereas if she's kept email that reaches further than that already disclosed, that also will come out. It presently is an unknown.

In substance Christie's position was: I was lied to earlier, I learned from the publication of these emails that it was so, and I reacted within 24 hours of learning of the email by firing two people - and I apologize -- that was the substance of a two-hour press conference. Hence, there was quite a bit of redundancy, given that simple theme, and the thing lasting two hours.

____________FURTHER UPDATE______________
Christie at the press conference said such basically gratuitous things as, "If you know me, and my years in public service leadership, I do not operate that way," and "You can ask my staff, despite what has sometimes been reported, I do not micromanage, I delegate a lot, and reserve key policy issues as something to be brought to me - you can ask my staff." He was reported to have had, out of camera range, his key staff people lined along one wall paying rapt attention. I do not know him, have no real reason to believe what he's said, and expect his staff to say whatever he says you can ask them about and they'll confirm. He's not dumb. He is a smart person. He does not kiss James Dobson's ass, nor hob-nob around Liberty University with Ken Cuccinelli, thare is that greatly in his favor among Republicans, not that kind of whoring, and it fits how he came across at the press event - the cut of his jib. Others should pay heed to that part of his professionalism.

____________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Kos himself posting, here.

The buck stops here; so give me your buck and then go away?

Or the buck stops here, marks, then moves on? We wait and see.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If it where were my choice Christie would face a firing squad for this decision just Obama should face a firing squad for his closing of national monuments during the government shut down. They are both power hungry assholes with utter contempt for the general public.