Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Partisans Rally in Defense of Christie Republicans Say Flap Won't Hurt Potential '16 Run

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Partisans Rally in Defense of Christie Republicans Say Flap Won't Hurt Potential '16 Run

Article excerpt

TRENTON, N.J. -- Prominent fellow Republicans leaped to Gov. Chris Christie's defense Sunday, insisting that an ongoing traffic scandal wouldn't ruin any presidential ambitions, while Democrats say it's difficult to believe such a hands-on manager knew nothing about a plan by a top aide to close lanes at a bridge into New York City.

Politicians from both sides of the aisle took to the Sunday talk shows to debate the fallout from the traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge in September and any role Mr. Christie may have played. Documents show Mr. Christie's aides appeared to engineer lane closures at the heavily traveled bridge for political retribution.

The Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that Mr. Christie could move past the scandal and still win support from primary voters in the 2016 presidential race.

He said Mr. Christie demonstrated leadership by holding a lengthy news conference Thursday to apologize for the scandal, the most serious challenge to his political career, and to disavow any knowledge of its planning.

"America's a forgiving people, but they're forgiving when you take ownership, you admit mistakes, you take corrective action, and that's what Chris Christie showed," Mr. Priebus said.

Mr. Christie said he was "embarrassed and humiliated" by the conduct of some of his staff, including top aide Bridget Anne Kelly, whom he fired after learning that she gave the go-ahead to close the lanes. Mr. Christie said he was "blindsided" by the revelations, which he said he discovered when subpoenaed emails were released last week.

John Wisniewski, a New Jersey Democrat leading the legislative investigation into the traffic jams, told CBS's "Face the Nation" that there's no evidence Mr. Christie was directly involved in the traffic tie-up. …

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