A group linked to Hillary Clinton has joined the fray to attack New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over the bridge closure controversy that has dogged his administration for weeks, already resulting in the resignation of two officials
and a firestorm of accusations from state and national Democrats.
Correct the Record
, a group formed by top supporters of the former first lady, created a graphic showing the Republican governor's frowning face, a highway sign that reads "Lanes Closed. Expect Christie?" with another road sign say "political retribution." The bottom of the ad says, "…the emerging facts aren't lining up with the administration's story," CNN reported
"Welcome to the world that is 2016," Adrienne Elrod, communications director for the group, told The Washington Post
"We're watching every word that comes out of his mouth… He's been able to enjoy for the most part being a pretty popular governor, but he's never really been tested on the national stage."
The organization is an offshoot of Democratic super PAC American Bridge, and is a research and response project dedicated to mobilizing
against possible 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls, as part of a larger push to lay the groundwork for a 2016 Clinton candidacy.
Democrats allege that Christie ordered a September closure of lanes onto the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey to New York as retribution
for the refusal of Fort Lee Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich to join other New Jersey mayors in endorsing Christie for re-election.
This week, Democrats in Washington D.C. turned up the heat
on Christie with Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate's transportation committee, asking Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to investigate the closures.
"You've got the DNC, some of the Hillary-tied PACs diving into this story," Kevin Hagan, a New Jersey-based Democratic strategist told the Post. "You don't want to continue to give your perceived opponent a pass."
Democrats have also created a politically-charged YouTube video
with a narrative designed to raise the profile of the issue and link it to questions about Christie's character and integrity.
"It undercuts his key argument that he's a straight shooter," Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Czin said of the controversy, according to the Post.
"It highlights the worst about his bombast and his condescension."
And in a signal that Democrats intend to continue to escalate the issue, one Democratic leader told the Post that the "Bridgegate" episode reveals the Christie administration's "Nixon-like dirty tricks," while another compared it to Watergate, and a third speculated about impeachment.
Christie has continued to downplay accusations of wrongdoing
, suggesting they are politically motivated and have been "sensationalized."
"National Democrats will make an issue about everything about me, so get used to the new world everybody, you know?" Christie told a news conference Friday.
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