New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie denied that the George Washington Bridge scandal will haunt him in a possible 2016 presidential run, telling reporters that it will be a “small element, if any element at all” in voters’ calculations.
Christie spoke at a Friday afternoon news conference about the scandal, after an internal investigation by his office cleared the governor of any knowledge of or involvement in the vindictive lane closures. The meeting turned contentious at times, starting when a reporter asked Christie whether the controversy would impact both his decision to run for president and his broader electability.
“Well,those are two different questions, right?” he responded. “Impact running as a choice? I’m just telling you that it won’t. And the fact of the matter is that I had nothing to do with this. And as I said from the beginning and this report has reported exactly what I said.”
“And in the long sweep of things,” he continued, “any voters — if they consider this issue at all, and considers my candidacy if there ever is one — I got a feeling it’ll be a very small element of it, if any element at all.”
“Anybody who tries to game out the politics of this kind of stuff years in advance, the last eleven weeks have probably shown that that’s a fools errand,” he later added.
“Do you acknowledge that your standing has fallen?” the reporter pressed.
“Yeah, sure,” the governor replied. “You know. But — but there’s nothing permanent about that, the same way there was nothing permanent about my standing being extraordinarily high. There’s nothing permanent about this stuff.”
“In the end, I gotta tell you, [presidential polls] are not what I’m most concerned about as I stand here today,” he later explained. “I’m the governor of New Jersey, and I have a job to do. And I’m going to do my job the best way I can. And as I’ve said dozens of times, I do my job the best way I can, my future will take care of itself.”
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