BridgeGate · Gov. Chris Christie

Largest Paper in New Jersey Calls Chris Christie Out for Losing Touch with Reality

Christie (1)
attribution: None

POLITICUS USA

In the wake of Governor Chris Christie’s (R-NJ) delusional answer to Fox News asking him why 65% of New Jersey voters think he would be a bad president, the editorial board at the Star-Ledger thinks they have finally figured it out.

“The man has lost touch with reality,” they opine.

This can be the only explanation for how Christie still thinks he can win the presidency “when New Jersey is in such rotten shape after his six years in office.” They came to this conclusion after listening to Christie’s answer on Fox.

Christie told Megyn Kelly that New Jersey voters think he would be a terrible president because they love him so much they want him to stay their governor. Christie knows this because some people have said it to him at his town halls.

But the editorial board is not buying this excuse, especially because, as they write, “First, the governor needs to hold more town hall meetings in Democratic districts, and at night when working people can attend. He preaches to elderly and overwhelmingly white audiences, over and over.”

Citing several other polls the Governor might take a glance at if it is reality that he seeks, the editorial board took a few guesses as to why they don’t love Christie in his state:

It could be the rotten job market. Or the high property taxes. Or the crumbling transit system. Or the broken promise on pensions. Or the private jets. Or the Bridgegate indictments. And so on.

Ouch. Lest anyone think this is the opinion of some far left outlet or an obscure paper, Wikipedia says “the Star-Ledger is the largest circulated newspaper in the U.S. state of New Jersey.” In fact, “The Star-Ledger‍ ’​s daily circulation is larger than the next two largest New Jersey newspapers combined and its Sunday circulation is larger than the next three papers combined.”*

This is also the same paper that endorsed him in 2013.

From that same Quinnipiac poll that Megan Kelly referenced on Fox, 56% disapprove of the job Governor Christie is doing, which is the lowest approval rating for any governor in the nine states they surveyed.

Firing a very loud warning shot, the Star-Ledger ended on this note, “God forbid he gets a chance to make an even bigger mess on a larger stage.”

Familiarity has bred contempt when it comes to Chris Christie. Yet he believes he’s going to the White House.

This stunning disconnect with reality, so strong that the largest paper in the state has called it out — though they hope he doesn’t actually believe the things he says, exemplifies the Republican Party’s Fox problem of epistemic closure. They are breeding an entire party of delusional people who have no concept how extreme they sound to the rest of the country, how their belief in Glenn Beckian conspiracies isolates them because they sound crazy and dangerous, and most of all, they have no idea what people are really saying about them or about the issues.

It is very tough to win elections outside of gerrymandered safe zones when you’re party is not even close to reality.

*Wikipedia cites data from the New Jersey Press Association.

~Sarah Jones

2016 Hopefuls · 2016 Voters · Gov. Chris Christie · Jeb Bush

Jeb’s secret Jersey mission

NASHUA, NH – APRIL 17: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit April 17, 2015 in Nashua, New Hampshire. The Summit brought together local and national Republicans and was attended by all the Republicans candidates as well as those eyeing a run for the nomination. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Politico

The Bush campaign goes behind enemy lines to pick off Chris Christie’s supporters.

Jeb Bush is quietly waging a behind-the-scenes offensive to pick off disillusioned home-state supporters of Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor whose presidential prospects have dimmed in recent months.

Bush’s effort to undermine Christie’s network of donors, power-brokers, and political players is conducted mainly through emails and phone conversations — and he tracks the progress closely.

At a get-together with donors in Miami last weekend, Bush sat down for a private conversation with Lawrence Bathgate, a prominent New Jersey attorney and former Christie donor who is now behind the Florida Republican. During the talk, Bathgate, a former Republican National Committee finance chairman, outlined to Bush a plan to have a majority of the state’s 16 Republican state senators endorse him.

Bush responded with a question. How soon, he wanted to know, would the endorsements start to roll in? And could some of them be announced sooner rather than later?

The former Florida governor is said to court Christie boosters with frequent emails and makes himself accessible to them. “He’s a great emailer,” said Hersh Kozlov, a major Republican Party fundraiser in New Jersey and former Christie supporter who’s now with the former Florida governor.

The attempts to crack the Christie network — both are in competition for the same group of moderate and establishment Republicans — dates back at least to January, not long after Bush launched his presidential exploratory committee. At the time, Bush met with around a dozen New Jersey Republicans for dinner at New York City’s Union Club. He started out the meeting in a surprising way, telling those gathered that they should feel free to ask him anything — no holds barred. One person took him up on the challenge, posing a question to him about his daughter’s struggle with drug addiction.

For months, Bush and his finance chief, Heather Larrison, have been reaching out to New Jersey donors. Once a financial commitment is secured, they typically ask that person for names of friends or associates in the state who might also want to give.

As Christie’s fortunes have seemed to fade amid his sagging polling numbers, fiscal problems at home and fallout from the Bridgegate scandal — on Friday a former political ally of the governor pleaded guilty and two other former officials were indicted for their alleged roles in the affair — Bush’s efforts have ramped up.

Last month, Bush landed his biggest catch yet: Joe Kyrillos, a longtime state senator who chaired Christie’s 2009 campaign. When Kyrillos, a former New Jersey Republican Party chairman, appeared at a Bush donor event in Miami last week, he was greeted with a hero’s welcome. At a private dinner, which was attended by around 350 of the former governor’s biggest benefactors, the senator was rewarded with a round of applause and a seat at Bush’s table.

Continue reading here…

2016 Hopefuls · Gov. Chris Christie

Chris Christie jump-starts campaign in New Hampshire

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. , accompanied by his wife Mary Pat, shakes hands with Don VanDenBerghe during a luncheon stop at Caesario's Pizza,  Tuesday, April 14, 2015, in downtown Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. , accompanied by his wife Mary Pat, shakes hands with Don VanDenBerghe during a luncheon stop at Caesario’s Pizza, Tuesday, April 14, 2015, in downtown Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Politico

The New Jersey governor charges into the Granite State, unfazed that his 2016 obituary has already been written.

A substantive policy speech, a big network interview and several days of lunches and grip-and-grins across the Granite State.

It’s the start of the Chris Christie comeback — at least that’s the idea.

Dogged by six months of scandals, anemic polling numbers and his home state’s fiscal problems, the New Jersey governor is barreling into New Hampshire this week, unfazed that his 2016 obituary has already been written.

Just as with Sen. John McCain before him, New Hampshire represents Christie’s best chance at getting back in the game, a stylistic match, the governor’s advisers believe, for another authentic, straight-talking candidate.

But no amount of plain talk and authenticity can gloss over the predicament the New Jersey governor finds himself in. Catching fire in New Hampshire won’t be easy — he’s currently polling behind seven other Republican candidates there.

Team Christie won’t admit it publicly, but it recognizes the best — and perhaps only — way to capture any momentum once primary season begins is to win an early voting state; at the moment, New Hampshire is the only such state on the board where Christie has a reasonable shot.

“If there is anyone on the primary ballot for whom New Hampshire means everything, it’s Chris Christie,” said Jamie Burnett, a Concord-based GOP strategist who advised Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012. “It’s too early and the race is too fluid to write anyone off this early, but Chris Christie has his work cut out for him; he’s no longer in the position he was in a year ago where everyone thought he’d be the heavyweight in the race.”

In a sign of the state’s importance, Mike DuHaime, Christie’s top strategist, held a national conference call Tuesday morning to brief supporters on the campaign’s schedule and plan of attack there this week.

“I wouldn’t call it all or nothing, but I could see Christie making a big play there,” said Ray Washburne, Christie’s finance chair.

In his speech Tuesday morning at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, Christie made a splash by calling for a reduction in Social Security benefits for seniors earning over $80,000 and eliminating the benefit entirely for individuals making $200,000 and up, along with raising the retirement age to 69 from 67. He also proposed a gradual increase in the age when seniors qualify for Medicare to 67 years old by 2040, from its current average of 65.

“Washington is afraid to have an honest conversation about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid with the people of our country,” Christie said. “I am not.”

Read more…

Gov. Chris Christie · Joe Scarborough · Morning Joe

Chris Christie’s Bromance With Joe Scarborough Is Over

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Screenshot

TPM LiveWire

Now, as the New York Times Magazine’s Mark Leibovich reported this week, there really is trouble in paradise for the chummy clique of politician and pundits:

He used to be a regular on “Morning Joe,” the MSNBC morning show, and was pals with the co-hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. But after bridge-gate, it became a feeding frenzy. “There’s an agenda at the network level at MSNBC,” Christie told me. “All these folks have to march in line in order to keep their jobs.” I asked Christie if he thought Scarborough and Brzezinski were taking orders from corporate bosses. “I don’t know,” he said. “But it seems to me there is a completely different approach to me than they were approaching me in the past.” (When I asked Scarborough if this was true, he said: “We saw him at the Vanity Fair-Bloomberg party last spring, and he stormed right past us. Mika and I just looked at each other and laughed. It’s a question of temperament with him.”) Yet Christie did not seem entirely displeased with this turn of events, either. Haley Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said, “A lot of people who vote in our primaries think that if MSNBC attacks you for a month, you must be better than I thought you were.”

There have been signs of a fractured relationship on recent editions of “Morning Joe.”

In July, Scarborough called Christie a “chicken” for refusing to meet with the families of Sandy Hook victims. And last month, after long serving as Christie’s biggest booster in the media, Scarborough was dismissive of the New Jersey governor’s chances in 2016.

“We ought to do what we do around here and say on the air what everybody says off the air in Republican circles… nobody thinks Chris Christie can win,” Scarborough said.

Gov. Chris Christie

Chris Christie Wants You To Know He’d Rather Die Than Be A U.S. Senator

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AP Photo / Mel Evans

TPM LiveWire

“I would rather die than be in the United States Senate,” Christie said Saturday during a speech to the New Jersey state NAACP. “Okay? I would be bored to death. Could you imagine me banging around that chamber with 99 other people, asking for a motion on the amendment in the subcommittee? Forget it.”

“It would be over, everybody,” he added. “You’d watch me just walk out and walk right into the Potomac River and drown. That would be it.”

His remarks on the Senate drew laughs from the audience.

Christie, who is mulling a 2016 presidential bid, said that his legacy in New Jersey would be defined by what he accomplishes by the end of his final term as governor — not by the next election.

“Believe me, by the way, when I say ‘I’m never running for public office in New Jersey again,'” Christie said. “I mean I’ll never run for public office in New Jersey again.”

h/t Business Insider

Gov. Chris Christie · Sandy Hook Parents

Joe Scarborough Tears Into Chris Christie Over ‘Stupid’ Gun Control Arguments

Gov. Chris Christie speaks at his inauguration on Jan. 21, 2014. (credit: CBS 2)

The Huffington Post

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough excoriated New Jersey Chris Christie on Tuesday for refusing to meet with the parents of Sandy Hook victims after he vetoed a gun control bill.

The bill would have limited gun magazines to 10 rounds, and Christie defended the decision, saying that the limit “just makes no sense to me.”

“Are we saying then that the 10 children on the clip that they advocate for, that their lives are less valuable?” he said on Monday. “If you take the logical conclusion of their argument, you go to zero, because every life is valuable.” He also said that he felt it would be “hypocritical” to meet with Sandy Hook parents because he had already made up his mind on the legislation.

On Tuesday’s “Morning Joe,” Scarborough criticized the governor’s decision.

“It was painful watching Chris Christie talking about somehow limiting clips to ten bullets means that you don’t care about the ten children that would be killed by those ten bullets,” Scarborough said. “That is just one of the stupidest arguments I think I’ve ever heard.”

The MSNBC host compared Christie to Senator Ted Cruz, who he said had “the respect” to meet with Sandy Hook parents and explain his view on gun control.

“I think Ted Cruz can sit there and articulate why he would oppose this gun law,” Scarborough later added. “I don’t think Chris Christie can.”

“It’s complete expediency,” he continued. “This guy has been damaged by this bridge story and in a weak position and I don’t think he was in any place to defend a veto that I personally don’t think he agrees with but did it for the purposes of primary politics in early Republican states.”

Gov. Chris Christie

Another Bridge Scandal Is Rocking Chris Christie’s Administration

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his administration are under investigation by the feds for another bridge-related scandal | AP

 

Uh-oh…

The Huffington Post

NEW YORK, June 24 (Reuters) – A second bridge investigation linked to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is underway, this one focusing on possible securities law violations involving the Pulaski Skyway bridge, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The new inquiry was prompted by an ongoing investigation into “Bridgegate,” the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal that has engulfed Christie, a potential 2016 Republican contender for the White House.

Now investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission are focusing on the Christie administration and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

According to the Times, officials are probing whether bond holders were intentionally deceived by a $1.8 billion agreement in 2011 to repair the Skyway, which connects the New Jersey cities of Newark and Jersey City.

In bond documents, the Port Authority said the project was part of “Lincoln Tunnel Access Infrastructure Improvements,” although the Skyway is more than 9 miles (14 kilometers) south of the Lincoln Tunnel connecting Weehawken, New Jersey and midtown Manhattan in New York City.

The Christie administration had relentlessly lobbied to use Port Authority money to repair the Skyway but was told it was ineligible because the bridge is state-owned and operated, the Times reported. The Port Authority recast the bridge as an access road to the Lincoln Tunnel and the funding was secured, the newspaper said.

Investigators are scrutinizing the accuracy of the access road description as a possible violation of the Martin Act, a New York State law that carries felony charges for intentionally deceiving bond holders, according to the Times. The probe could also result in civil action under the Martin Act or by the SEC under federal securities laws.

Still underway are investigations into the George Washington Bridge scandal, in which a massive traffic disruption in September 2013 was allegedly orchestrated by two Christie aides in retaliation against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, who did not endorse Christie’s re-election bid.

The four-day closure of access lanes in Fort Lee snarled traffic, delaying school buses, ambulances and commuters. Christie has denied he knew about or was involved in the incident. He fired one top aide and the other resigned under pressure. (Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Susan Heavey)

David Samson · Gov. Chris Christie

EXCLUSIVE: PROSECUTOR IS CLOSING IN ON GOV. CHRISTIE

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and David Samson, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. | Getty Images

Esquire

“It’s over, it’s done, and I’m moving on.” — Chris Christie, reassuring potential donors in Utah on June 14th

Back on planet Reality, meanwhile, Paul Fishman, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, wades through the sewage of Christie’s stewardship. Two sources with intimate knowledge of the case say Fishman’s pace is quickening — he has empaneled a second grand jury, and the U.S. Justice Department has sent assistant prosecutors and FBI agents to work the case.

“What’s taking the most time,” according to one source, “is separating what’s viable from all the bad stuff they’re finding that may not be viable.”

Fishman’s challenge is to nail down specific criminal charges on several fronts — the diversion of Port Authority money to fund New Jersey road and bridge projects; the four-day rush-hour closures of George Washington Bridge lanes in Ft. Lee; and a web of real-estate deals spun by David Samson, long a Christie crony, when he chaired the PA’s Board of Commissioners as Christie’s appointee. (One such deal, a stalled office-tower development in Hoboken, New Jersey, is central to a claim that Christie’s lieutenant governor told the town’s mayor that the state would withhold Hurricane Sandy relief aid from Hoboken if the mayor didn’t sign off on the development project.)

Whatever Christie says or does — and whatever potential donors or Jimmy Fallon and his viewers think — the question that truly matters is whether Fishman’s pursuit leads to the governor himself. Christie’s Port appointees — not only Samson, but former PA Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni and his oddball sidekick David Wildstein — all face near-certain indictment and are being pressed to hand up Christie, as is the governor’s former chief counsel, Charlie McKenna.

Wildstein, portrayed as the mastermind behind Ft. Lee’s traffic problems, has made proffers to Fishman’s investigators — hoping to trade information to the prosecutor in exchange for gentler legal treatment — but Fishman has cut no deals with anyone so far, and the looming indictments have encouraged Christie’s PA appointees to sing. “Don’t underestimate what Wildstein has on Christie,” says one source. “And Wildstein and Baroni have both turned on Samson. If Samson doesn’t give Fishman Christie, Samson is toast.”

Federal charges in the bridge closures potentially include both intentional interference in interstate commerce and — in the cover-up that ensued — obstruction of justice. The use of Port Authority money, raised by issuing bonds, to pay for non-PA projects will likely result in charges of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit same; the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating on this front, along with the Manhattan District Attorney, who’s seeking evidence to support state charges of falsifying business records and official misconduct. Charges derived from David Samson’s numerous conflicts of interest while serving as a PA official could, in Hoboken’s case, include federal charges of extortion under the Hobbs Act, and New York state charges of official misconduct and corruption.

The clearest, quickest road to Christie, both sources agree, runs through David Samson, a former Attorney General of New Jersey who’s 74 years old and reportedly suffers from Parkinson’s disease. So: Will Samson flip?

“They’ve got him cold,” says one source. “He got sloppy, arrogant, and greedy. Samson will want a deal. This way, he’d get one or two years. He’d have a future on the other side. He won’t want to die in jail.”

Fishman’s timetable is unclear — he has yet to send out target letters even to the lower-hanging fruit: Wildstein and Baroni, and Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien, Christie’s former Deputy Chief of Staff and his former campaign manager, each deeply implicated in the Fort Lee/GWB debacle. One source expects Fishman to return some indictments as soon as next month. Both sources say that all of those four certainly will be indicted — and both further note that Fishman, an Obama appointee, hopes to see the entire matter resolved before this President’s term expires. “But Fishman is really focused on Christie,” says one source. “Ultimately, he believes he’ll get to the governor.

Big-ticket donors are gamblers; in politics, there are no certainties. The safest bet that is obvious: there’s no future for Chris Christie in the White House. The Big House is a safer bet, by far.

BridgeGate · Gov. Chris Christie

ABC News Exclusive: Grand Jury Convened in Christie Bridge Scandal Probe

 

The George Washington Bridge, which connects Fort Lee, NJ, and New York City, is seen on January 9, 2014 in Fort Lee, New Jersey | Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Uh-oh…

ABC News

The U.S. Attorney in New Jersey has convened a grand jury to investigate the involvement of Governor Chris Christie’s office in the George Washington Bridge scandal, ABC News has learned.

Twenty-three jurors convened in a federal courthouse in Newark today to hear testimony from a key staff member, Christie press secretary Mike Drewniak, whose lawyer, Anthony Iacullo, said Drewniak was not a target of the investigation.

“We’re here to answer questions and that’s what Michael did today,” Iacullo said.

The convening of the grand jury is evidence that the U.S. Attorney’s investigation has progressed beyond an inquiry and moved to the criminal phase.

Gov. Christie Tells Diane Sawyer His Style Didn’t ‘Inspire’ Bridge Scandal

Chris Christie Says Aides in Bridge Scandal ‘Inexplicably Stupid’

The grand jury, which will meet for up to the next 18 months, has the power to indict, subpoena and interview witnesses without their attorney’s present.

This marks for the first time confirmation that what started out as a preliminary inquiry into the governor’s office has now become a criminal investigation into the activities that led to gridlock traffic across the bridge from Manhattan in Fort Lee.

Drewniak was inside the courthouse for more than two hours.

Iacullo, who spoke exclusively with ABC News, said, “I’m not going to get into the specifics as to what would be discussed in the grand jury. I would say though that Mike is a witness and we have been assured that he continues to be a witness throughout these proceedings and Mike has continued to cooperate as requested by the government into this inquiry.”

He declined to comment about anything regarding whether Christie had personal knowledge or direct role in the shutdown of the lanes.

ABC News has also learned from two officials briefed on the investigation that a team of state prosecutors — tapped by Christie’s own attorney general — are monitoring the federal case and are prepared to continue the investigation on the state level if the feds turn it over to them.

Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for acting N.J. Attorney General John Hoffman, declined to comment.

The grand jury is composed of residents from northern New Jersey who will come in every Friday or every other Friday. Grand juries typically last about 18 months, but can be extended. The grand jurors sit in closed door meeting listening to the prosecutors question witnesses, who must respond under the wide ranging subpoena authority of the grand jury.

The final decision on whether or not to indict or file charges against Governor Christie or anyone in his office comes from the decision of the grand jury.

Gov. Chris Christie

Chris Christie Apologizes For ‘Occupied Territories’ Remark, Says He ‘Misspoke’

CHRIS CHRISTIE

“Words once spoken can never be recalled.” –Wentworth Dillan

The Huffington Post

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) apologized Saturday for using the term “occupied territories” at an event hosted by billionaire GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, CNN and Politico report.

Andy Abboud, the senior vice president of Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp., told CNNthat Christie later apologized for using the controversial term during a private meeting with the megadonor. According to Abboud, Christie said he “misspoke” during his Saturday speech and that he doesn’t “believe that.”

Politico offered similar details on the meeting:

The source told POLITICO that Christie “clarified in the strongest terms possible that his remarks today were not meant to be a statement of policy.”

Instead, the source said, Christie made clear “that he misspoke when he referred to the ‘occupied territories.’ And he conveyed that he is an unwavering friend and committed supporter of Israel, and was sorry for any confusion that came across as a result of the misstatement.”

Adelson was reportedly satisfied with Christie’s apology.

Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition event at Adelson’s Venetian resort in Las Vegas, Christie used the controversial term to describe the West Bank and other areas where Israel has a military presence.

“I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories across, and just felt personally how extraordinary that was, to understand the military risk that Israel faces every day,” Christie said.

However, the Israeli government and many of its supporters do not consider those regions to be occupied, believing the country has legitimate claim to them. Instead, the term is seen by some Zionists as validating Palestine’s opposition to Israeli presence in the region.

Christie was one of a number of high-profile Republicans appearing at Adelson’s event, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.