Former White House political adviser David Axelrod said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's may have ignored a "culture problem" in his office that office that led to the so-called bridge-gate scandal and the subsequent firing of a top aide.
"He should have acknowledged in that press conference that maybe there was a culture problem in his office. Maybe there was something he needs to address in himself," Axelrod, who engineered President Barack Obama's two campaigns, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday.
"You need to acknowledge that there was something amiss in your office, if someone as close as this woman [Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly] was to him, could take that action and think that he would think it was all right. And, he didn't do that. I think that was a missed opportunity for him," he added.
As the scandal over the ordered lane shutdown last fall on the George Washington Bridge separating Jersey from New York plays out, Axelrod said taking ownership of the situation could help the Republican governor offset criticism of "the things that are almost surely going to roll out, even if he was innocent of any involvement in this particular scheme."
Overall, Axelrod said Christie gave a "very, very strong performance" as he spent nearly two hours answering reporters' questions about Kelly and another aide allegedly engineering the lane shut down to snarl traffic in Fort Lee, N.J. as political payback for the town's Democratic mayor refusing to endorse Christie's re-election campaign in October.
"I thought he was very good yesterday in his press conference. I thought he handled it about as well as could be handled," Axelrod said.
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