Uh oh: E-mails link top Christie aide to GWB lane-closing controversy

posted at 11:21 am on January 8, 2014 by Allahpundit

I … did not expect the first 2016-related scandal of the year to involve lane closings on a bridge, but that’s blogging for you. Some days it’s the president and secretary of state opposing a key military operation for nakedly self-interested political reasons, other days it’s staffers for the (very) early GOP frontrunner trying to screw a political opponent by sticking him with traffic problems. Spice of life, my friends.

This is a rare scandal story in that, I suspect, it’ll unite lefties and tea partiers in outrage in the name of taking down a common opponent. Only temporarily, though: If the big guy goes on to win the nomination, partisan loyalties will turn this into a nothingburger on the right overnight.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie’s senior staff, wrote to David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13, about three weeks before the closures. Wildstein, the official who ordered the closures and who resigned last month amid the escalating scandal, wrote back: “Got it.”

Other top Christie associates mentioned in or copied on the email chain, all after the top New York appointee at the authority ordered the lanes reopened, include David Samson, the chairman of the agency; Bill Stepien, Christie’s re-election campaign manager and the newly appointed state GOP chairman; and Michael Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman.

The theory, which isn’t clearly confirmed by the e-mails, is that Christie’s office ordered the lane closings as retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee for refusing to endorse him. Once the lanes closed, traffic in Fort Lee would back up — for hours at a time — and the mayor would be under siege from the locals. Why Christie would have cared about anyone’s endorsement when he was consistently up 20+ points in the governor’s race at the time, I have no idea. But if you’re looking for evidence that the guy, or at least his staff, enjoys bullying people even when there’s little to be gained by it, there you go.

This bit simply must be excerpted:

In one exchange of text messages on the second day of the lane closures, Wildstein alludes to messages the Fort Lee mayor had left complaining that school buses were having trouble getting through the traffic.

“Is it wrong that I’m smiling,” the recipient of the text message responded to Wildstein. The person’s identity is not clear because the documents are partially redacted for unknown reasons.

“No,” Wildstein wrote in response.

“I feel badly about the kids,” the person replied to Wildstein. “I guess.”

“They are the children of Buono voters,” Wildstein wrote, making a reference to Barbara Buono, the Democratic candidate for governor, who lost to Christie in a landslide in November.

Wildstein resigned from the Port Authority last month after reporters first started sniffing around the lane closings. He’s the source of these e-mails, apparently, having handed them over when he was subpoenaed by a state panel that’s investigating, whereupon some Christie enemy on the panel presumably handed them over to the papers. The next step will be for Kelly to resign (as well as everyone cc’d on her messages?) followed by the requisite Christie statement of ignorance and disappointment. Then we move to phase two, in which the media tries to prove that Christie himself knew all along or even ordered the lane closings. Hard to believe a scandal this petty could become big news with legs, but evidence of the governor having had a direct role in it would keep it going. There’s much truth to this:

After an hour of Twittergazing, I see that camps are already forming. Christie fans think any “scandal” involving something as trivial as lane closings is DOA and that this is politics as usual in the tri-state area. Compared to some of Obama’s sins, it’s less than nothing. Before much longer, some will inevitably adopt this line and argue that Christie’s willingness to screw an opponent for crossing him is exactly what Washington needs to Get Things Done. Christie haters think this is a legit scandal because it demonstrates the smallness of the man and how little it takes to get him to abuse his power. If, after the IRS scandal and shutdown theater, you worry about having someone in charge who’d punish innocent people to make life harder for his political enemies, why would you want to elect a guy capable of this sort of vindictiveness? E.g.:

I think the whole thing will fade within a week unless proof emerges that Christie had a bigger role in it. In which case, second look at Marco Rubio?

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Playing this down shows your stripes. This is not a “nothingburger.” This shows character and intent of the Governor and the beureaucrats he surrounds himself with. This shows a governor that is perfectly comfortable getting out pain to people for no other reason than political disagreement. This is the same value system that you claim apalls you when the tip of the spear is te IRS and not the Port Authority.

Please don’t cover for the Christie value system that is becoming clearer and clearer to those of is that want real reform in Washington. His governance by intimidation and coercion only differs from Obama’s in scope.

h a p f a t on January 8, 2014 at 5:05 PM

I doubt that there are any conservatives who are wasting time hoping that a Republican can win NJ in 2016, as NJ is a solid blue state. Christie was re-elected governor because he is a raging liberal (who, by his own admission, agrees with Andrew Cuomo “on 98% of the issues”), but, as a Republican presidential candidate, he would never be able to carry his own state. Christie has zero support from conservatives.

Pork-Chop on January 8, 2014 at 12:11 PM

I meant the best conservatives could hope for in a republican governor of NJ. Not a presidential candidate.

Monkeytoe on January 8, 2014 at 5:05 PM

It’s gonna be fun watching him get pissed off if anyone asks him about it.

verbaluce on January 8, 2014 at 5:06 PM

So christie played his card. Probably his only card left.

“I know nothing!”

Never said it was a good card.

This pretty much kills him, if say another email or text were to come out from him, personally.

Remember, it’s not the crime – it’s the coverup!

triple on January 8, 2014 at 5:08 PM

what a crock…so christie says he didn’t know this occurred and the dems/lsm won’t take him at his word but we are supposed to take dear leaders word when he says he didn’t know what was occurring in his administration….


cmsinaz on January 8, 2014 at 5:10 PM

triple on January 8, 2014 at 5:08 PM

dear leader got re elected saying the same exact thing….

dems/lsm are hypocrites for condemning christie but let dear leader get away with the same thing…

cmsinaz on January 8, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Christie is a RINO egomaniac and a stupid, petty one at that. He was never getting my vote again but this should seal his fate. Its sad that there are a million things like this that should have sunk Obama but the truth is that the left always closes ranks around their guy.

lostinjrz on January 8, 2014 at 5:28 PM

It’s gonna be fun watching him get pissed off if anyone asks him about it.

verbaluce on January 8, 2014 at 5:06 PM

True dat!!!

Talon on January 8, 2014 at 5:28 PM

I would not want a man of this character in the WH. Is Christie looking to prove he’s as big an a-hole as Obama? Regardless, I won’t vote for Christie. Yeah, I know I said that about Romney, but Romney is a decent and upstanding man. Christie is a bucket of Jersey scum, and I won’t support him.

disa on January 8, 2014 at 5:31 PM

By the way I love how quickly this story is getting moved down the page. I check this site several times a day and I almost missed it.


h a p f a t on January 8, 2014 at 5:33 PM

This could be good for CC if he uses it to hold people responsible. He can fire a few people and say that’s how it’s done.

rik on January 8, 2014 at 5:34 PM

wolfie is surprised that christie hasn’t fired anyone yet but dear leader hasn’t fired anyone yet over any of his scandals and its meh

infuriating the double standard on the lsm…

cmsinaz on January 8, 2014 at 5:49 PM


This action is disgusting. You may think it is a non issue, but you are wrong. I don’t care if R or D, the use of government resources to attack your opponents is WRONG!

The fact you find this as a non-story says a great deal about your consideration for the little people that just try to go to work and get home to their family everyday.

It seems that you find it permissible to use the government to manipulate the lives of the little people as long as they agree with you politically.

Mark me down as disappointed in you.

makingravy on January 8, 2014 at 5:57 PM

wolfie is surprised that christie hasn’t fired anyone yet but dear leader hasn’t fired anyone yet over any of his scandals and its meh

infuriating the double standard on the lsm…

cmsinaz on January 8, 2014 at 5:49 PM

+ 100..Agreed..But it is what they (lsm) do..:)

Dire Straits on January 8, 2014 at 6:12 PM

makingravy on January 8, 2014 at 5:57 PM

It’s nice to see someone else with the same view on this.

People, stop tolerating this sort of malfeasance from either party.

h a p f a t on January 8, 2014 at 6:16 PM

We are for small gov’t and individual rights. Having people who see no problem using gov’t to screw over the ordinary citizen simply to give someone they don’t like a headache? that’s no better than Obama and his cronies.


Anyone who supports screwing over Americans via amnesty (like Christy for example) is capable of pretty much anything and won’t think twice about screwing people over in other ways as well. That’s what those “it’s just one issue” morons don’t seem to understand.

xblade on January 8, 2014 at 6:39 PM

So another tyrant? Why would I vote for him? I didn’t vote for the current one.

RDE2010 on January 8, 2014 at 6:56 PM

No wonder he and Barack hugged. They are alike in many ways.

SouthernGent on January 8, 2014 at 7:11 PM

As we have already seen, the NYTimes has planted the Christie is a bully meme as part of its pre-game table clearing for HRC’s run in 2016(If the Gate’s memoir doesn’t fully sink her). The T-Party needs to start piling on this meme as a demonstration to McConnell(?) that he had better back off the internecine war against us.

This is an opportunity to make it completely clear to him that he had better get with OUR program or, he can go down with the USS GOP and that we won’t be sending out search parties to rescue him when it does.

His legacy can be to be part of OUR resurrection of the USA or, he can be remembered as the perpetual minority leader that fiddled as Rome burns. OUR participation in the complete torpedoing of Christie should be the opening shot across McConnell’s bow that without us his career will be just another footnote in the demise of the greatest nation ever.

His choice.

What will it be Bob?

Archimedes on January 8, 2014 at 8:08 PM

…is he getting fatter?

KOOLAID2 on January 8, 2014 at 8:23 PM

This all sounds like something a Democrat politician would do and as Christie said of himself, he’s only about 2% Republican:

“I’m not much different from Andrew Cuomo. I probably agree with him on 98% of the issues.”
– Chris Christie, Feb 2013

RJL on January 8, 2014 at 8:23 PM

Adios, Chubbie.

NoPain on January 8, 2014 at 9:19 PM

Yeah. Benghazi. Dead Ambasador. Yeah. Yeah.

GWB Dead people also. How does this Phat fook claim he didn’t know by this date in history?

I’d give ten New Jersey, Connecticut, or New York housewives for one State Dept. Ambassador – who, by the way, is worth ten US Senators.

oldroy on January 8, 2014 at 9:21 PM

GWB Dead people also


Pole-Cat on January 8, 2014 at 9:55 PM

Christie out.

Rubio still Schumer’s b*tch.

Walker too close to Priebus and going GOPe.

Paul / Jindal 2016!

KirknBurker on January 8, 2014 at 11:44 PM

So Christie or those close to him lack integrity?

Yep, we all noticed.

He’ll be preoccupied with remaining governor now, rather than being annointed by the RNC.

virgo on January 9, 2014 at 3:55 AM

Anyone who supports screwing over Americans via amnesty (like Christy for example) is capable of pretty much anything and won’t think twice about screwing people over in other ways as well. That’s what those “it’s just one issue” morons don’t seem to understand.

xblade on January 8, 2014 at 6:39 PM

That needs to be repeated. If someone like Rubio lies about his position on amnesty to get elected then sell us out he will do it again on other issues.

Wigglesworth on January 9, 2014 at 8:35 AM

While I am NOT a Christie supporter, this so has a Clinton “Prep the Battlefield” feel to it that I can’t believe everyone on the right isn’t stepping back and asking if there’s any “there” there. Classic Clinton/Alinsky technique: define your opponent and demonize him early on. Christie is seen by the Hillaroids as the present Big Threat(tm). Hence, must demonize now, before most low-interest voters get the impression that he might be worth considering.

God these people are horrible.

FiveG on January 9, 2014 at 9:08 AM

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