January 10, 2014

Did Chris Christie's 2-hour press conference save him or doom him?

The Christian Science Monitor has a piece titled "Chris Christie bridge scandal: Did press conference save his future?" With video. Did anyone watch all of that? Whatever you think of the controversy itself and the sincerity of the apology, don't you think that going on for almost 2 hours was kind of mental?

43 comments:

jr565 said...

Has Obama talked about having the IRS target conservatives for more than two minutes?

garage mahal said...

Good point. What about Obama?

JRoberts said...

I'm not sure I would vote for Christie, but I'm impressed that he was willing to place himself in front of the press and take questions until they were exhausted.

That shows a willingness to be transparent that voters don't see much anymore.

Bob Ellison said...

The WSJ (if I recall correctly) ran quotes Wednesday from several people, including Ari Fleischer, on what Christie needed to do, and the general theme was Christie had to go all in with truth, apology, and action, and he had only 24 hours to do it. That was probably a strong motivator for Christie.

It seems to me that whether Christie knew or not, Bridgegate is a sign that he's incapable of not hiring malevolent idiots in high places. That should disqualify him for the Presidency all by itself. Ditto for Obama, of course, but that's the other party.

I watched only small pieces of the press conference. Going for two hours was a bold move, and I don't know whether Christie said "sorry I was stupid".

Matthew Sablan said...

I guess it matters if he lied or not.

ironrailsironweights said...

The doctor who performed Christie's weight loss surgery several months ago should lose his medical license for incompetence.

Peter

lemondog said...

He showed himself to be tough and smart.

It waits to be seen whether he was truthful.

MadisonMan said...

It didn't doom him.

Whether it saved him? Time will tell.

tim in vermont said...

Well, at least he is no longer under the delusion that the press like him

EDH said...

Christie imagined he was Springsteen playing his 5th encore.

"I'm just a prisoner of rock & roll !!!"

[You may have to hit the "Play" triangle.]

mushroom said...

Not disagreeing with Mr. Ellison, just adding that nearly all people in "high places" are malevolent. Most are also idiots.

People who have talent and intelligence and wish to be productive don't want government jobs.

LCB said...

If Christie is the best the Repugnants can do for 2016...I'm not voting for the first time in 30+ years of presidential elections. From what I can tell Christy would be forced to be a Dem. in most states. He only appears to be a R when he's compared to the D's in his state.

CatherineM said...

If he didn't answer every question from everyone present, he would have been accused of hiding something or "not answering all of our questions."

You can't win.

CatherineM said...

Also, again, a lot can happen in 3 years. Remember how Hillary was a shoe in? Remember how they are saying the same thing now?

Richard Dolan said...

Kind of mental? Hardly, unless you mean the journolist-ers were going on too long. Christie was standing there answering questions for most of it. Christie knew that he was a target in ways that no Dem, certainly not Obama or Hillary!, would ever be. The journolist-ers were there to get him, and they will keep at it. And so he stood there and answered and answered and answered until they were done. He didn't have any other option.

Even still, there will be an attempt to turn this into Christie's macaca moment. Don't be surprised when, 6 or 8 months from now, the NYTimes does a long front page 'investigative' story trying to destroy him -- the opposite of their Benghazi story trying to help Hillary! extract herself from her 'what difference does it make now' melt-down.

traditionalguy said...

Christie put on a good Obama like face and tone of voice accompanied by nonsense answers.

That's all folks...unless the Media investigates his lies drip by drip for nine months until he is finally indicted by a Special Prosecutor and arrested, frog marched and has to resign as Governor. That always hurts a pol's image.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

It didn't doom him. He did a nice job in the press conference. He clearly has skills Obama (and Hilary!) can't comprehend.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

The Press is a bully.

Christie used a time-tested tactic (See Cool Hand Luke boxing vs. Dragline) against bullies. Just stand there and take everything they've got, until they are either spent, or it is an obvious-to-everyone and face-losing cruelty for them to continue on.

It worked, too.

garage mahal said...

54% of likely voters in New Jersey think Christie! knew about the bridge closure as retaliation. This seems like a scandal that will stick with Christie! Everyone can understand it.

Yes, I'm now referring to Christie as Christie!, like Hillary!

Julius Reincarnate said...

Liked him before this.

Now... absolutely not... will not vote for him, will not support him...

It's only a remote possibility that he did not know about this. Or, if he didn't, he should have. Criminal liability (e.g. conspiracy to commit whatever) passes from one to another under Federal law under much less obvious conditions. Is what is good for the Newark street crew good for the Govn'r too?

And the two hour presser seems very much like protesting too much.

Fuck you, Christie! Whether you knew or not, you are still a fucking dirtbag!!!

tim maguire said...

Christie never had a hope (presuming by saved or doomed you mean presidential ambitions). He never had a greater than 0% chance of winning a presidential election.

But now he has something other than his politics to blame his political limitations on. So, in a way, it's a win for him.

hombre said...

His choice of staff and appointees put him on a par with Obama as a judge of character. Not good.

Of course, I'm giving Obama the benefit of the doubt here. Some would argue that he intentionally hires and appoints sleazebags.

Irene said...

Compare the press conference to the one during which Geraldine Ferraro answered questions about her husband's finances. The length of Christie's conference was deliberate; it left an impression that no question was unanswered. It also may have made him look stronger—as the unflappable executive who takes responsibility and action for mistakes under his watch.

tim maguire said...

garage, Christie is his last name. His first name is Chris.

PB Reader said...

He stood up at answered all questions from any reporter. A far cry from our president. The press will not let Christie off the hook and the press will never put Obama on the hook, no matter how illegal, unconstitutional, or immoral his actions.

Julius Reincarnate said...

@Irene -

Sure, but he's still a fucking dirtbag. Is the fact that he's somewhat less of a fucking dirtbag than Establishment Democrats going to eradicate the fact that he created an office ethos where this sort of thing is alright?

We've got to clean up the government. It comes down to us-- the voters. Nobody in the political class is going to take up this passion willingly.

MadisonMan said...

garage, Christie is his last name. His first name is Chris.

As someone who has written Hillary!! for a long time, you can't use her last name because of the ambiguity inherent.

Similarly, if you write Chris!! -- who are you talking about?

Ergo, Christie!! I'm not ready to use it though.

Irene said...

@Julius, I intended to make an observation about Christie's tactics, not his merits.

SJ said...

I think I'll repeat my earlier impression.

He's a professional politician. He has a sense of what will escape notice, what he can get away with, and what he can't get away with.

My guess is, he decided to leave on question unanswered.

But beginning a press conference with "The man responsible has been fired for making that mistake" sends a strong message.

To insiders: don't generate headlines with the word "scandal" in them.

To political junkies: expect Christie to make hard decisions and stick by them. And to leave no question un-answered.

To non-political junkies, who only see the big-quote in the TV show lead-in: he fires the guy who screwed up, instead of making excuses and trying to ignore stuff.

Don't know whether I think he's a good man or not, but he is more of a leader than a speech-maker. (In comparison to our current President, who is more speech-maker than anything else.)

SJ said...

[CORRECTION]
...leave no question unanswered.

garage mahal said...

Ergo, Christie!! I'm not ready to use it though

You'll come around.

Oso Negro said...

As a Texas conservative, I hope that he is a goner. Clearly he was going to be the darling Republican of the East Coast media establishment and shoved down our throats as inevitable in Romneyesque fashion. It isn't to late to resurrect him for the role, once they get over the traffic jams.

Michael said...

Pretty funny. After about ten minutes the press would be out of questions on subjects like the IRS probes or Fast and Furious. They would calling for a vote to adjourn.

garage mahal said...

Ya know, we barely heard about the IRS, #BENGHAZI, or a website rollout that didn't go well.

Michael said...

Garage: Add up all the press conference time, press conference time, on the topics you note and compare that amount of time with the time that the press devoted to the scandal, big scandal, that the fat boy is involved in.

bbkingfish said...

Christie did the best he could for himself at this time.

By firing Kelly, a high-level staffer, without questioning her at all about her actions, he preserved plausible deniability in the short term. David Wildstein, a Christie appointee, taking the Fifth in Trenton could not have given the Governor the warm and fuzzies, and is bad optics at the very minimum.

At best, Christie comes out of this looking like a guy who claims competence, but doesn't know what the hell his staff might be doing. Beyond that, he would appear entirely at the mercy of the personal loyalty and good graces of Kelly and Wildstein, both of whom he threw under the bus as unceremoniously as that can be done.

I was struck by a reference in a review of the Heilemann/Halperin book on the 2012 campaign, which contained an unflattering portrait of Christie painted by the Romney camp, who had considered him for Mitt's VP. According to H/H (among a litany of concerns about skeletons and closets), the investigations, "raised questions for the vetters about Christie’s relationship with a top female deputy who accompanied him on many of the trips." That sounds more ominous today than it did when I read it in the splash of publicity surrounding the book.

JoyD said...

I don't think this incident will have any lasting impact on his political ambitions. I do see the whole media show swing into action as yet another attempt to misdirect your attention from the administration's problems.

Revenant said...

Christie has handled this well enough that I don't anticipate it harming his chances for further state offices.

His chances of winning the 2016 nomination for President were remote enough that pretty much ANY damage torpedoes them. I think he's out of the running now.

Big Mike said...

Chris Christie was never going to be the 2016 party nominee. That was never more than a pipe dream by east coast journalists deeply embedded in the Washington - New York liberal cocoon.

It's just battlespace preparation, nothing more.

garage mahal said...

Oh dear.

Paul said...

How long did Richard Nixon talk about not being a crook? We need a comparison.

Don't try to compare Nixon or Christie to Obama. Obama as the conscience of a fig and does not even think he can do a wrong.

Nixon and Christie knew what they did was wrong. Obama does not care.

Julius Reincarnate said...

Chris Christie, overheard regarding the Bridge closure thing, earlier today:

All due respect, you got no fucking idea what it's like to be Number One. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other fucking thing. It's too much to deal with almost. And in the end you're completely alone with it all.

mccullough said...

The two-hour press conference probably helped since he answered a lot of questions. There's not much more he can say at this point unless new information comes out about either his knowledge of the lane closures or more petty tyranny by his staff and agency appointees.

As far as 2016, Christie has a more conservative record as governor than Mitt Romney, W., or Ronald Reagan when they were governors. This might not be enough to help him in a primary because he doesn't talk conservative like some others who will be running.