Gov. Chris Christie can't catch a break, but the repeated bi-partisan applause as he walked in for his state of the state address had to feel good to the embattled governor. During his remarks he started with Bridgegate and said the distraction will not stop his administration nor the legislature from doing their jobs.
The past week has been one that Christie will never forget.
The governor emphatically denied that he's a "bully," but what bully has ever stood up, looked in the mirror and admitted, "Yes, I bully people."
As Christie ran through his accomplishments during his state of the state address, you can't take away from him that he won his re-election bid in a landslide, but at what cost did he run up the score? When you're known for your brashness, even though you're popular with the voters, quietly a line of critics will get a lot longer with each person waiting for their payback opportunity, and that's what we are witnessing -- a pile-up. Christie's past, has finally caught up with him. One could make a strong case that Bridgegate is getting worse and not better, with a super-committee armed with subpoena power.
To be fair to the governor, he repeatedly claimed last week he didn't know anything about Bridgegate, but Christie's marathon news conference only intensified speculation. All across America, the question is being asked: "What did he know, (if anything) and when did he know it?"
If you believe Christie, his two top aides didn't tell him anything about bringing George Washington Bridge traffic to a crawl in September. But, considering the governor's aggressive personality, does his explanation pass the smell test, as a pattern is developing?
Accounts have surfaced the Democratic mayor of Jersey City Steven Fulop, was apparently punished for not crossing party lines to endorse Christie's re-election bid and meetings the mayor had scheduled with commissioners of top New Jersey agencies were abruptly canceled. All canceled within an hour, the New York Times reports, directly by the commissioners.
And despite there was a lower bid, federal auditors have begun looking into Christie's use of Hurricane Sandy recovery money to pay for an expensive tourism marketing campaign last year starring him and his family.
With 2016 in mind, some Republicans continue to come to Christie's defense, like former NYC Rudy Giuliani, but pay close attention to Giuliani's words from ABC'sThis Week, Sunday. Giuliani said if it turns out Christie knew something, it could not only end his presidential run, but his entire career.
He's held a press conference; he's flatly denied it... If for some reason [Christie's denial] is not true, the man has put his political career completely at risk. If it turns out there's some evidence that he knew about it, he's taken a complete risk and his political career is over.
Yes, some Republicans see Christie as their best shot at the White House, but this is the same governor that remember Christie's keynote introduction of Mitt Romney at the RNC Convention where Christie mostly touted his own record, and didn't mention Romney until 16 minutes in. Or that Romney needed Christie's permission to raise money in New Jersey, according to the authors of the book Double Down: Game Change 2012.
As it relates to 2016, for the moment, put aside whether Christie is too moderate for the right. I have been to the diners in Iowa, and argue Christie's abrasive style won't play there, nor in New Hampshire or South Carolina.
Christie is the chair of the Republican Governor's Association. How many of those governors do you think want Christie to come to their states now on their behalf? The good news for Christie? The Superbowl is now only weeks away, and that may take the focus away from bridgegate. Maybe, for a little while.