Right-wing media responded to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) admission that his administration caused a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge as political payback with praise for the embattled governor and used Christie's response to pivot to criticisms of President Obama including invoking the phony Benghazi scandal.
Emails Link Christie's Office To George Washington Bridge Closure
LA Times: A Top Staffer For Christie “Was Involved In A Move To Temporarily Close Lanes Of The George Washington Bridge As Political Payback.” From the January 8 edition of the Los Angeles Times:
A top staffer for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was involved in a move to temporarily close lanes of the George Washington Bridge as political payback, recently released emails suggest, a move that enmeshes the Republican governor in a high-profile controversy as he considers a potential run for the presidency in 2016.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey closed all but one lane of the bridge in September, effectively gridlocking a New Jersey town whose mayor did not support Christie's reelection.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” wrote Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff to Christie, in an email on Aug. 13 to David Wildstein, Christie's appointee at the Port Authority. Wildstein resigned from the Port Authority in December after news of the scandal broke. [Los Angeles Times, 1/8/14]
Right-Wing Media Use Christie's Response To Attack Obama
Fox's Gretchen Carlson: Did Christie's Press Conference “Depict A Different Leadership Style” From Obama? During a panel segment on Fox News' The Real Story, host Gretchen Carlson asked guest Bernard Whitman about Christie's handling of the George Washington Bridge scandal and the press conference he held surrounding that scandal:
CARLSON: Let's just look at the press conference today. Did it depict a different leadership style in your mind between the way in which Governor Chris Christie handled the crisis, and the way in which President Obama has, what some people believe, not handled, not fired anybody for the debacle of Obamacare? [Fox News, The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson, 1/9/14]
Fox's Starnes: In “Public Flogging,” Christie Demonstrated That “The Buck Stopped With Him,” Unlike President Obama. In a column following Gov. Chris Christie's press conference regarding the George Washington Bridge scandal, Fox Radio host Todd Starnes wrote that “Christie endured a public flogging ... like a man,” and “took immediate action,” whereas in the Obama administration, “no one has been fired,” for perceived scandals:
Gov. Christie stood before the cameras and took his lumps like a man. He did so without the use of a TelePrompter. The buck stopped with Christie. In the Obama White House, the buck stops with his newly-bearded spokesman.
The governor seemed genuinely contrite and remorseful. He did not stand before the reporters defiantly shrieking, “What difference does it make?”
He took immediate action and fired the person responsible for the political payback.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but to my knowledge, no one has been fired for Fast & Furious, the Benghazi terrorist attack, the IRS scandal, the NSA scandal or the ObamaCare debacle. No one. [FoxNews.com, 1/9/14]
Fox's Steve Doocy: Gov. Christie “Just Did What Barack Obama Has Not Done ... Hold Somebody Accountable.” On January 9, Fox News host Steve Doocy wrote via Twitter, "[Gov. Christie] just did what Barack Obama has not done, and that is hold somebody accountable for a big screwup," and listed perceived Obama administration scandals at the IRS and Department of Justice, and regarding the Affordable Care Act and the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
[Steve Doocy via Twitter, 1/9/14]
Erick Erickson: Bridge Scandal Shows “Pretty Stark” Contrast Between Obama And Christie. On January 9, Fox contributor Erick Erickson tweeted “The contrast between Barack Obama and Chris Christie in terms of owning a mess and fixing it is now pretty stark.”
[Erick Erickson via Twitter, 1/9/14]
Breitbart's Matthew Boyle: “People Like Accountability” From Christie And “They're Not Getting That With Obama.” On January 9, Breitbart reporter Matthew Boyle tweeted that Christie's handling of the scandal “could end being a positive for Christie though. People like accountability. They're not getting that with Obama.”
[Matthew Boyle via Twitter, 1/9/14]
The Blaze's Dana Loesch: In Handling Scandals, Christie Fired Those Responsible While Obama Promoted Them. In a series of January 9 tweets, The Blaze's Dana Loesch responded to Chris Christie's press conference by comparing his handling of the situation to President Obama's handling of what Loesch equated as similar scandals.
Right-Wing Media Figures Use Bridge Scandal To Revive Benghazi Smears
Fox's Scott Brown: “Unlike President Obama” With Benghazi, Chris Christie Is Holding People Accountable. On the January 9 edition of Happening Now, Fox contributor Scott Brown compared Governor Christie's response to the bridge scandal to the Obama administration's response to the attack in Benghazi, saying, "[Christie's] going to hold that person or people responsible. Unlike President Obama, where we've had the Obama rollout, we've had Benghazi, we've had the IRS scandal, not only did he not fire anybody ..." [Fox News, Happening Now, 1/9/14]
Rush Limbaugh: “We Haven't Spent This Much Time In A Press Conference On Four Americans Dying In Benghazi.” Rush Limbaugh invoked the Benghazi attacks while discussing Governor Christie's bridge scandal on his January 9 radio show:
LIMBAUGH: We're spending now an hour press conference on lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. We haven't spent this much time in a press conference on four Americans dying in Benghazi ... we haven't had anything like this degree of interest in any of the Obama scandals. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 1/9/14]
Mark Levin: “Have They Ever Done A Body Count With Hillary Clinton, Benghazi?” While discussing the bridge scandal, Mark Levin brought up Benghazi attacks on his January 8 radio show:
LEVIN: A buddy of mine Dan Riehl ... he points out that the media in New Jersey now is trying to count how many people may have died because of this scandal ... and he said that's interesting, they're doing a body count now. Have they ever done a body count with Hillary Clinton, Benghazi, and her other decisions as secretary of state? No, they haven't and they won't. They haven't and they won't. [Cumulus Media Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 1/8/14]
Laura Ingraham: “Why Would We Even Comment About This Chris Christie Issue ... When We Have Four Americans Dead In Benghazi?” On the January 9 edition of her show, Laura Ingraham criticized Republicans for focusing on the bridge scandal instead of Benghazi:
INGRAHAM: Why would we even comment about this Chris Christie issue ... to even go on and on about this story, raising other issues, when we have four Americans dead in Benghazi after the administration said well basically what does it matter? [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 1/9/14]