As a week loaded with questions for and apologies by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) drew to a close, one of his key mentors emerged with doubts about how the George Washington Bridge scandal would affect any 2016 ambitions.
In an interview with the Washington Post published Saturday, former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean Sr. (R) painted the either-or picture for Christie's presidential hopes, highlighting how the tumult from this traffic issue should raise caution.
“On the one hand, I think he’s got a lot to offer," Kean Sr. said. "I think he’s the most able politician since Bill Clinton. On the other hand, you look at these other qualities and ask, 'do you really want that in your president?'”
Earlier in the week, Kean Sr. expressed similar sentiments to the Associated Press, saying that barring new details, he thought Christie would "survive" the bridge scandal. Yet the events set precedent for a thin margin of error in the future.
"If there's a pattern of these things, if other incidents emerge with similar characteristics, that's going to be a real problem," Kean Sr. told the AP.
Kean Sr.'s relationship with Christie reached rocky ground in November, when the governor maneuvered to oust his son, Tom Kean Jr., as GOP leader of the New Jersey state Senate. The move left Kean Sr. "as surprised as I've ever been in my life in politics," the AP noted.
Christie's involvement with Kean Sr. dates back to age 14, when he was a budding youngster looking for some help getting into politics.
"'Sir, I want to get involved in politics and I don't know how to do it,' " Kean told the AP, recounting Christie's words in a 2010 interview. "I said, basically, 'I'm thinking of running for governor. If you want to find out, get in the car. I'm going up to Bergen County. Come with me and see if you like it."