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Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey speaking at an event hosted by The McCain Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.
Not a bully, he claims.
"I am who I am, and I'm not a bully," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie insisted at his marathon January press conference on the politically motivated George Washington Bridge lane closures. The claim raised more than a few eyebrows at the time, and on April 1, Christie really undercut himself on that front. Ryan Lizza reports that, at a celebrity roast for the birthday of former Gov. Brendan Byrne, Christie himself came in for a little roasting and ... he didn't take it so well:
The Newark roast wasn’t going well, either. The speakers aimed much of their fire at Christie. “You knew whose ass to kiss,” Stone said, referring to Christie’s trip to Vegas. “ ‘Whatever you say, Sheldon! Whatever you say!’ ” Vince August, a New Jersey judge turned comedian, noted, “It really is an honor to be standing next to what could be the next President of the—.” He shuffled some papers on the lectern. “I’m sorry, these are the wrong notes. I’m doing a roast next week with Jeb Bush.” Even Byrne got in a dig, about Christie’s waistline. “Somebody referred to that bronze statue of me that’s in the courthouse,” he said. “Actually, that was supposed to be Governor Christie, but they didn’t have enough money to pay for all that bronze.”

Joy Behar, the former co-host of “The View,” was even more pointed. “When I first heard that he was accused of blocking off three lanes on the bridge, I said, ‘What the hell is he doing, standing in the middle of the bridge?” After another barb, Christie interrupted her. “This is a Byrne roast,” he said. He stood up and tried to grab her notes. The audience laughed awkwardly. “Stop bullying me,” Behar said as he sat down. Christie said something out of earshot and Behar responded, “Why don’t you get up here at the microphone instead of being such a coward?” Christie stood up again and moved in front of the lectern as Behar retreated.  “At least I don’t get paid for this,” he said.

Christie sat down and Behar continued, though she was noticeably rattled. “I really don’t know about the Presidency,” she said. “Let me put it to you this way, in a way that you’d appreciate: You’re toast.”

Way to prove you're not a bully, governor! Just stand right up and try to take away the comedian's notes. The woman comedian, by the way. While, according to Lizza, Christie "glared at the comedians as they delivered their lines," he seems not to have tried to physically intimidate and interrupt the men.

Christie has long appreciated being publicly challenged just enough to look like a tough guy when he takes advantage of the fact that, as governor, he usually controls the microphone and the stage and can really go to town on whoever has criticized or challenged him. Apparently, sitting quietly and taking it when other people have the stage is not so comfortable for him. Well, it wouldn't be so comfortable for anybody to hear a series of fat jokes and accurate observations about his cratering political future. But what distinguishes a bully is the fact that he gets up in someone's face to try to shut them up.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 06:41 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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