White House steers clear of Chris Christie bridge scandal

McClatchy Washington BureauJanuary 9, 2014 


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie votes in Mendham, New Jersey, Tuesday, November 5, 2013.


President Barack Obama and Republican Gov. Chris Christie developed a bond after Hurricane Sandy, but the White House steered clear Thursday of questions about the controversial bridge lane closing that has imperiled Christie's chances at holding national office.

Press Secretary Jay Carney -- who took questions from reporters a few hours after Christie wrapped up a two hour mea culpa press conference -- said he hadn't talked with Obama about the situation in New Jersey and doubted that Obama had time to watch Christie's press conference.

(Obama was to meet with congressional leaders to discuss revisions to NSA spying at about the same time Christie took to the cameras in Trenton. Christie apologized to the people of New Jersey for the traffic jams caused by the closure of the entrance ramps to the George Washington Bridge into New York City and said he'd fired a top aide, whom he said lied to him -- and whose emails suggested she'd helped orchestrate the closure.)

"It sounds very much like a state matter to me," Carney said. The U.S. Attorney for New Jersey has announced that his office is reviewing the facts surrounding the bridge closing, but Carney said that would be a matter for the Department of Justice.

"I honestly only know what I've had the chance to read in the paper," Carney said. "But there's certainly nothing that involves the White House with this issue. And to the extent there's any involvement of the federal government, I think you would have to ask the Department of Justice."


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