"That was obviously a lie." That was the sentence, early in Governor Christie's opening remarks during his marathon press conference, that nearly threw me out of my chair. The words alone were not startling - it was the context. Here is the proceeding paragraph:
Over the course of the next hour, Kevin and Charlie interviewed each member of my senior staff, came back and reported to me that they all reported that there was no information other than what we already knew that had been testified to by Senator Baroni regarding this incident. I then questioned Kevin O'Dowd and Charlie McKenna directly, since they are the only two who report directly to me, and they assured me that they had no information that would change my ability to be able to say that no one, in response in Angie's (sp) question, on my staff was involved in this matter.Then he said it:
That was obviously a lie.But wasn't Christie referencing something he said in the prior sentence? The "that" Christie seemed to be referring to in the proceeding sentence is the act of Christie being "able to say that no one . . . on [his] staff was involved in this matter." What else could "that" be referencing? So shouldn't he have followed the quoted paragraph with the words, "that was obviously incorrect"? In other words, it was incorrect, when he said no one on his staff was involved.
But he didn't say that, he didn't say his representations were incorrect. Instead - he dropped a perceived bombshell. It sounded like he was saying that his representations were obviously a lie! Huh?
Well yes, if he said nothing else, he should have said incorrect instead of lie. But then he went on - as we will discuss below. And from the context, it does seem he was indeed referring back to the first sentence in the above paragraph. There, Christie referenced what senior staff members told Kevin and Charlie - what we now know included Kelly's "lie." But if he really meant to reference the first sentence, he should have said "'there' was obviously a lie."
Let's look at the next paragraph:
That was obviously a lie. And the emails that I saw for the first time yesterday morning, when they broken in I believe the Bergen Record story, proved that that was a lie. There's no justification for that behavior. There's no justification for ever lying to a governor or a person in authority in this government. And as a result, I've terminated Bridget's employment immediately this morning.Now if he really was referring back to the untruths told by a staffer, it seems he should have said:
There was obviously a lie. And the emails that I saw for the first time yesterday morning, when they broken in I believe the Bergen Record story, proved that there was a lie. There's no justification for that behavior. There's no justification for ever lying to a governor or a person in authority in this government. And as a result, I've terminated Bridget's employment immediately this morning.But instead, he chose the very curious and perhaps telling word "that." And unless that was some kind of a subconscious admission, it seems like a very odd word choice - given the context.
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
- William Shakespeare