So, as news conferences go, today’s apology for a traffic jam in New Jersey was a lollapalooza.
Just did a word count on Christie presser: 19,374 words. Not a typo. http://t.co/pyzgVne0d4
— The Fix (@TheFix) January 9, 2014
Gov. Chris Christie spent the better part of two hours explaining the implications of how his deputy chief of staff had lied to him about her involvement in the lane closures on the Fort Lee side of the George Washington Bridge. (“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” aide Bridget Kelly had told one of Christie’s men at the Port Authority. ”Got it,” the fellow wrote back. Kelly was fired today.)
As if the “abject stupidity” of the apparent attempt to punish the town’s mayor wasn’t bad enough, Christie said he had been lied to, let his constituents down and questioned publicly what about his own conduct had created an atmosphere that encouraged such staff behavior. “What did I do wrong to make these folks think it was OK to lie to me?”
But not everyone was as consumed with all this as CNN, which aired the late-morning news conference in its entirety.
Christie went to Fort Lee to personally apologize, delivering another 30 minute-plus explanation to the mayor.
And as serious as the intentional jam (federal prosecutors are looking into it) and its implications for the people of Fort Lee (including the family of a 91-year-old woman who died during the bridge backup) and the political aspirations of Christie himself may be, the saga has generated many more minutes of lighter coverage:
If Chris Christie had blocked people from entering New Jersey he’d be a hero.
— Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien) January 9, 2014
— The Colbert Report (@ColbertReport) January 9, 2014
For the authors of “Game Change,” the potboiler about Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential election campaign, another plot looms:
— EJ Dionne (@EJDionne) January 9, 2014
And of course, the saga now has its own Twitter handle.
A quarter of a million words in the English language and we can’t find something besides -gate for a scandal?
— Paula Donnelly (@PaulaD2131) January 9, 2014