GOP Chairman Priebus defends embattled Christie

McClatchy Washington BureauJanuary 12, 2014 


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie leaves Fort Lee, N.J.'s city hall after apologizing to Mayor Mark Sokolich on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014.


Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus defended embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Sunday, saying Christie had demonstrated leadership in his handling of the George Washington Bridge controversy.

"I think what you saw the other day was leadership...that showed that, look, everyone is fallible," Priebus told NBC's "Meet the Press."We all make mistakes. But the real question is, what do you do when mistakes happen?"

"There's no question, he admitted mistakes happened. He admitted he trusted people that lied to him. America's a forgiving people, but they're forgiving when you take ownership, you admit mistakes, you take corrective action and that's what Chris Christie showed," Priebus said.

Christie had emerged as one of the party's stars. He was re-elected governor last year with strong support among constituencies that in other states have moved away from the Republican party.

Priebus told NBC Christie, at his news conference last week, "stood there for a 111 minutes in an open dialogue with the press. Now, only if Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would give us 111 seconds of that would we find out some things we want to find out about Obamacare, Benghazi, the IRS. I mean Chris Christie's been totally open here."

Then again, said moderator David Gregory, Christie has said a president sets a tone that allows such things to happen. Shouldn't Christie be held to the same standard?

Christie, Priebus said, admitted "he trusted people that lied to him and he's asking a lot of questions about himself as far as why that happened... He trusted people that lied to him and he fired those people."


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