Tom Kean: Christie 'Handled Himself Well'

Image: Tom Kean: Christie 'Handled Himself Well'

Thursday, 09 Jan 2014 05:13 PM

By Cathy Burke

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New Jersey Republicans, fearing the worst from Gov. Chris Christie’s bridge-gate woes, were instead reportedly relieved he didn’t wind up at the center of the troubling scandal.

Former Republican Gov. Tom Kean, a Christie mentor, told The Hill Thursday “the rumors out there were bad” among the state GOP, with some suspecting “there was deeper involvement from the governor” once emails surfaced showing a top Christie aide played a key role in closing lanes on the busy George Washington Bridge out of political spite against a mayor who didn’t endorse Christie’s re-election.

“The ones who are active now, I think they were a little bit nervous about what would happen in the press conference, and I think the feeling I now get from them is that they’re relieved," Kean said. "The governor handled himself well."

But the mess still could damage his future as a potential presidential candidate, Kean told The Hill, adding Christie “can recover from this, if nothing further comes out.”

Kean said though Christie handled a a nearly two-hour press conference “extraordinarily well,” there are lingering questions, Politico noted.

“I think there are still unanswered questions,” Kean said. “How that atmosphere was allowed to exist and how [now-fired staffer Bridget Kelly] could give an order to the Port Authority and have it accepted and whether or not there are more than two or three people involved, that’s going to come out over the next weeks or even months, and I think will have a big effect on Chris Christie’s future.”

“I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this.”

Yet Kean staunchly vouched for Christie’s honesty.

“I’ve known him since he was a teenager, and I’ll tell you one thing about him: He never has lied to me,” Kean said on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Politico reported.

“If he says something out loud, I’ve always believed him. So you can criticize in a lot of ways, but I don’t think you can criticize the fact that he’s not a truth teller. So I suspect he didn’t know.”

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