New Jersey Governor Chris Christi sat down with Greg Brown, CEO of Motorola Solutions for a Q & A session. Five minutes in, Brown brought up the issue that has been dogging Christi – the George Washington Bridge scandal.
“As you think about it going forward , the George Washington Bridge situation impact your priorities going forward?”
“Actually I’m shocked you brought that up.”
The question and the answer that followed were what filled the grand ballroom of the Sheridan Chicago Hotel and Towers. Not since Christi denied having prior knowledge about the needless lane closures on the George Washington Bridge has the issue gone away.
After the incident became known, that a close assistant to Christi was a part of the plan, questions about what he knew and when have continued.
But today, Christi again blamed close assistants for bad decisions. “And so people who work for me made some significant mistakes in judgment.”
Regardless of who made the bad decisions, Democrats in Illinois see the Christi saga as an opportunity to pile on, bringing in former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland to make a blistering attack against Christi. Saying, “Republicans in Illinois are shunning Christi like an outcast and at home Christi is fighting for his political survival.”
“The governor’s numbers have tanked, 20 and counting subpoenas have been issued, including many members of his staff, and the US Attorney’s office has launched their investigation,” said Strickland.
Before coming to Illinois to speak to the Economic Club of Chicago, Christi has been a busy man, two trips last week, Texas and Florida, raising 1.5-million dollars. And for the month of January, alone, he raised 6-million dollars.
So, despite any baggage he may have he is still an effective fund-raiser. So will the Bridge questions block him from getting his agenda across?
“I don’t think it will curtail, for the long haul, a second term agenda, because I think the people of New Jersey won’t tolerate it,” says Governor Christie.
“What we do know is that there was a culture in Christi’s office where a type of petty and dangerous political retribution was acceptable,” says Strickland.