Green Room

Surprise: Another NJ Democrat suddenly remembers something, changes story about Christie

posted at 6:44 pm on February 7, 2014 by

The Mayor of Fort Lee, whose city was targeted with disruptive lane closures at the George Washington Bridge by since-fired Christie administration officials , is abruptly changing his story about endorsement politics:

Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich has accused the Christie administration of an extensive campaign involving gifts to his borough from the Port Authority to solicit his endorsement of the governor’s reelection. When Sokolich did not comply but accepted the gifts which included shuttle buses, snow plowing, filled potholes and emergency radios, he says he now feels he was punished by paralyzing traffic jams in his borough during four days last September. Sokolich’s comments, in a two-hour interview in his office Thursday night in which he mirrored some of the statements that he gave to Bloomberg News, represent his harshest criticism yet of the Christie administration and the first time he has linked last September’s gridlock to his refusal to break from his Democratic party and endorse Christie, a Republican…Efforts to gain his endorsement began nearly two years ago and included a personal tour of the 9/11 Memorial plaza in lower Manhattan.

A-ha!  Christie’s motive for political retribution!  The governor has stated that he never personally sought Sokolich’s endorsement — and that, in fact, he barely knew the guy at all. “He was not somebody who was on my radar screen in any way,” Christie said of Sokolich.  Christie aides have acknowledged that members of the re-election campaign tested the endorsement waters with numerous number of mayors, including Sokolich, but that he was in no way a top priority.  In the tenth (!) paragraph of the new Bergen Record story, reporter Mike Kelly finally makes mention of a fairly relevant detail:

Sokolich’s comments are his most extensive since those traffic jams last September and, in a few cases, directly contradict his previous statements.

Kelly doesn’t elaborate (!!), so I guess that task falls on yours truly.  Here’s what Mayor Sokolich said, on the record, after ‘Bridgegate’ first broke — when the “this was payback over his refusal to endorse Christie” narrative was all over the media.  On CNN:

 “I don’t recall a specific request to endorse..but, you know, the events that led up to all of this I guess you can interpret to be somehow attracting me to endorse.

In the New York Times:

A member of Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election campaign staff came calling to see if Mr. Sokolich, a Democrat, would endorse the governor, a Republican … Sokolich, however, was noncommittal. ‘I said, “Yes, I’ll consider it, because I’ll consider anything,”’ he recalled. He chewed it over with local council members and two objections arose … And so the mayor let the request go. ‘I never called and said no, I never called and said yes,’ said Mr. Sokolich, who would not name the official who had reached out to him. ‘I think they interpreted my response to that conversation to be a no.’”

Weird.  In the midst of the breaking scandal, Sokolich recalled that Team Christie’s endorsement-related outreach was pretty tepid.  So tepid, in fact, that a formal request never actually materialized, leading the mayor to “let it go,” evidently without any follow-up from the Christie camp.  Now, several weeks into the pile-on — with national Democrats seeking to keep banging this drum until Christie’s dead — Sokolich suddenly remembers that his endorsement courting process was super-intensive and spanned nearly two years.  All that’s left is for Sokolich to produce a “diary entry” that “proves” his newly-revised recollection of how everything went down.  Could Democrats be any more transparent about what they’re trying to do here?

By the way, Sokolich has also recently said that he takes Christie “at his word” that the governor had nothing to do with the lane closure scheme, a sentiment solidified during Christie’s visit to Fort Lee after his January press conference.  Sokolich at first tried to tell Christie to stay out of his city, then relented, and the two had a “productive” meeting.

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Good grief.

rockmom on February 7, 2014 at 7:08 PM

This is getting embarrassing for all involved.

gophergirl on February 7, 2014 at 7:23 PM

I, for one, believe Christie plays political “hard ball” behind the scenes. Hey, that’s not unusual. However, if he had anything to do with this idiocy of “Lane Closure-Gate” then he’s just shown himself to be a moron.

Either way, I think he’s a terrible choice for 2016. We don’t need someone who’s shown so clearly that he’s eager to kiss Progressive sphincters – we need someone who actually gives a crap about the very foundation of this Country.

And he ain’t Teh One.

Fathom on February 7, 2014 at 7:33 PM

Sorta like Killary bumping her head under oath except he “remembers” things….

viking01 on February 7, 2014 at 7:34 PM

Poor, poor Guy. He just loves Christie so much. How can the meanies be such meanies to Christie? It’s just not fair!! The only thing missing is a petulant rant about “TruCons.”

besser tot als rot on February 7, 2014 at 8:19 PM

Geez! I just remembered Christie promised me the ambassadorship to Hoboken, but reneged when he found out that I don’t speak doublespeak.

vnvet on February 7, 2014 at 9:22 PM

A reporter who goes by the name of Mike Kelly better darned well be telling the truth.

Adjoran on February 7, 2014 at 9:49 PM

…I say…let’s have a trial!

KOOLAID2 on February 8, 2014 at 1:32 AM

Wow, this has taken away all reasonable doubt for me:

democRats are lying turds who will do anything to inflict their “vision” on this nation.

Anyone who votes for these scumbags deserves what they get.

arik1969 on February 8, 2014 at 4:11 AM

Wow. That two years of wooing must have been so traumatic for Sokolich that only now can he recover the memory. Just chalk it up to the PTSD of elective office.

ddh on February 8, 2014 at 10:22 AM

This was never about Christie, this was a DNC/MSM test run on the damage to Republican candidates that can be done by absurd charges. I see the test run of this media strategy as successful in controlling the subject and changing poll numbers over the short term.

The issues will vary, but come October, this same template of false charges accepted as true by a breathless media, will rise in congressional races all across the country.

My question is: how will Republicans deal with this tactic?

ShadrachSmith on February 8, 2014 at 1:39 PM

They will keep up the drip, drip, drip, until they have destroyed him even if there is no evidence. When they are done with Christie, they will try to destroy someone else. It’s all they do.

BelleStarre on February 8, 2014 at 7:39 PM

If Christie has any intentions of running for prez, he better do something more than avoiding making direct comments, and occasionally issuing tepid denials through his surrogates. No matter how baseless the charges lobbed against him are, they do have impact with low information voters.

The impact’s not much, it’s very little, so the strategy is to continue to chip away by flinging one baseless accusation after another. This is patently clear, and Christie better realize that unless he starts responding aggressively, and challenging his accusers directly, to put up or shut up, this will continue to drag out until the filing deadlines are gone.

mrsam on February 9, 2014 at 7:46 AM

This bridgegate thing is more evidence that Krispy is a progressive. Retribution is all they do

Brock Robamney on February 9, 2014 at 9:59 AM

They will keep up the drip, drip, drip, until they have destroyed him even if there is no evidence. When they are done with Christie, they will try to destroy someone else. It’s all they do.
BelleStarre on February 8, 2014 at 7:39 PM

Well, the Libs actually think he has a chance of winning. Which is zero chance. But don’t worry, the Kabuki GOP will put up Jeb Bush. It amazes me that so many people actually think the GOP is actually interested in winning presidential elections. The truth is, they are as progressive as the Dems, and they like their platform. They just don’t want to take the blame, be the party who wins by default. Don’t kid yourself, they are NOT an opposing party.

Brock Robamney on February 9, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Could Democrats be any more transparent about what they’re trying to do here?

Or more clearly demonstrate their hypocrisy and double-standards?

There is little difference between the ‘Chicago Way’ or the ‘Jersey Way’…and hard-ball / dirty politics is SOP in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Camden counties to name a few – or with McGreevy, Florio, Corzine, Lautenburg, Menendez, etc.

But we are getting another reminder that the lapdog media believes that it, not the people / voters, are the kingmakers.

Athos on February 10, 2014 at 9:44 AM