Skip to main content

Last night, Chris Christie held a town-hall meeting in Flemington, roughly halfway between Philadelphia and Morristown.  At that meeting, he got something he didn't bargain for--his first direct question from a private citizen about Bridgegate.

Fred Kanter of Mountain Lakes took the microphone and after a few jokes with Christie asked the governor to explain himself about why he fired the aide who wrote that “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email at the heart of the scandal.

Kanter, a Democrat, took issue with Christie’s January statement that Bridget Anne Kelly was fired because she lied to him. Kanter, facing Christie in a room full of about 400 people, called that “a very self-centered reason for firing somebody” and said Kelly should have been let go for her involvement in the lane closures.

It was a question that provoked Christie’s longest statement on Kelly’s behavior since he fired her, and it came after the governor had boasted that residents were not concerned about the closures because they weren’t raising the issue with him at events.

“Let me be really clear — and I thought I was really clear that day — that what happened in that circumstance is unacceptable, not approved by me, would never be approved by me and the folks who were involved in that absolutely would have lost their jobs, whether they told the truth or lied about it,” Christie said.

But the governor wouldn’t go as far as to say Kelly, of Ramsey, had broken any laws, noting that prosecutors are looking into the matter so it would be inappropriate for him to comment..

Christie was matter-of-fact in his response. He was animated, talking with his hands as he often does, but he didn’t raise his voice as he’s done when confronted by critics. The governor called the access lane closures, which tied up traffic in Fort Lee for four days, “wrong and abusive and unacceptable.”

Watch the full exchange here.

Kanter later said that he thought Christie "danced around the question that I asked."

Ever since Christie returned to the town hall scene, he has done so in mostly Republican territory.  This was no exception.  Flemington is located in Hunterdon County, which is DEEEEEP red--every office above the city/town/township level is held by Republicans, though Flemington itself just barely went for Obama in 2008.  However, this was the first coordinated effort to box Christie in on Bridgegate, as opposed to the haphazard efforts during his other ventures into blue territory.  Eleven members of New Jersey Citizen Action sat in a row wearing T-shirts that spelled out "Bridgegate?"  They planned to question Christie about the scandal--but he never called on them.

Christie can run from this all he wants.  But last night proved he can't hide.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site