Conservatives are not reacting kindly to Christie’s scandal. National Journal: “Conservatives on Chris Christie: Diva Getting What He Deserves.” Here’s this from Republican media strategist Rick Wilson, who worked Giuliani's 2008 campaign, argued: Christie "goes out of his way to be a dick to other Republicans … You're going to see conservatives returning the favor he gave them over the last year. There's no love lost between Chris Christie and conservatives. I don't expect them to be in love with him, and he doesn't want their love. But if you want to win a GOP primary, you better find a way to get there."
And: “In an article headlined ‘The Politics of A-Holes,’ conservative RedState.com editor Erick Erickson wrote Wednesday: ‘There's more here and it is going to be the problem that haunts Chris Christie. I'm ambivalent on his run for the Presidency. But I don't see him getting that far for the very reasons underlying this issue — he and his staff operate as divas.’ Added one GOP strategist: ‘He has gotten way, way ahead of his supply lines in terms of national exposure. His straight talk reputation now runs the risk of slipping into a bad place where voters grow tired of his style and this kind of drama.’”
The Asbury Park Press editorial page says Christie’s “victim card” explanations “rang a little hollow” and thinks more shoes will drop: “Chris Christie is a victim. That’s what he wants New Jerseyans to believe… He broadly claimed ultimate responsibility for it all as the boss, but it all rang a little hollow as he continued to insist that it wasn’t his fault at all.” More: Many things just don’t add up. Christie said he was “blindsided” by the first reports Wednesday, yet this debacle has been percolating for months. Are we to believe that he never explored the subject beyond an initial hour-long period he says he gave his staff to come clean with any information they might have? Does he even care about why the closures were carried out? Christie said he courted support from Democratic mayors and knew who was backing him and who wasn’t — yet Sokolich wasn’t even on his radar? … Christie wants us to believe that he was completely out of the loop until the Wednesdayreports on the emails, after which he acted swiftly and responsibly to clean up the mess? Maybe the ongoing investigations will offer up more ‘surprises’ for Christie.”
AP: “The famously blunt governor fielded dozens of questions from reporters with uncharacteristic patience and at times a sorrowful tone.”
The Star Ledger has four pages of “scandal” coverage. Its front page today with a wide-eyed, chagrined Christie: “ ‘I was blindsided.’”
Phil Mulshine of the Star Ledger is not sure he believes Christie: “Forget running for president. Perhaps Chris Christie should set his sights on a seat in the U.S. Senate. He sure could pull off a heck of a filibuster. The governor’s press conference today on the Bridgegate scandal ran for almost two hours. It was quite a performance. He handled every question the assembled members of the media could throw at him. But by the end of day, I found myself agreeing with his nemesis of the moment, Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski. ‘If you take him at his word, he can’t manage his own office,’ the Middlesex County Democrat told reporters following his hearing on the bridge scandal, after the governor’s press conference.”
And Mulshine makes this point: “One of the biggest questions concerns just how Christie could claim to be unaware of his administration’s role in the bridge closings when so many of his minions were in on those e-mail exhanges. One e-mail from as early as Sept. 17 directs Wildstein to call Communications Director Michael Drewniak after reporters started calling about the closures. Drewniak and Wildstein also exchanged e-mails concerning a press release announcing Wildstein’s decision to quit the Port Authority early last month. Wisniewski said the two apparently had in-depth discussions about how to craft that release.”
The paper also writes about how much the town of Fort Lee likes its mayor, Mark Sokolich, and how he gives out his cell phone number to anyone in the town.
The real victims here, the residents and businesses of Fort Lee, are not impressed with Christie’s show yesterday and think more needs to be done, the Asbury Park Press reports. Said one, “There should be some restitution to residents and businesses hurt. A woman died, there is no repayment for her. … “Maybe some community service or a project for Fort Lee or some funding.”
Another AP story that beautifully encapsulates the history and pride of Fort Lee has this quote from a Christie voter and Fort Lee resident: “Miller noted that she voted for Christie in November because he seemed like somebody who got things done. ‘That's what I liked about him. He didn't take too much B.S. He told it like it was. I thought he was different.’ Now, though, reading news accounts of how the traffic slowed an ambulance crew from reaching a 91-year-old woman who later died, she is doubtful, thinking about her own 96-year-old mother in town. ‘I'm not amused.’”
And why weren’t Fort Lee residents thrilled that Christie was coming to their town? Because they deal with nasty traffic everyday and this scandal involves the worst traffic tie up in its history and him going to the town would only clog the streets even more: "I heard this morning that he's coming to Fort Lee and I thought, ugh, there goes my day,” said one resident.
Democrats “urged the governor to tone down his confrontational style and said he created a culture that allowed members of his inner circle to concoct the retaliatory scheme.”
AP: “The exit of four people close to the governor is remarkable in an administration known for loyal, longtime staff members.”