New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may further hurt his brand by continuing to defend himself against the bridge-gate scandal, according to conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin, author of the Washington Post's "Right Turn" blog.
"There comes a point at which the press conferences, the interviews – he did one with [ABC News'] Diane Sawyer last night — become counterproductive," Rubin told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"In other words, all they do is absolutely fix this scandal to Christie, so you can't see him without thinking: scandal. He and his team have got to, at this point, begin to say less rather than more."
This week, a team of lawyers hired by Christie to conduct a $1 million independent probe of bridge-gate, concluded the Garden State leader knew nothing about his top aides engineering a massive traffic jam in Fort Lee, N.J. for three days in September, 2013, for political payback.
"Frankly, I thought that's why they were hiring the lawyers so that the lawyers can deal with these questions and Christie can go back to being a governor," Rubin said.
She said Republicans have yet to find anybody with the same bipartisan popularity of Christie for a presidential run in 2016.
"No one has been found yet who is Mr. Charming, who is going to come sweep the Republicans off their feet and give them essentially Chris Christie without the baggage," Rubin said.
"In other words, give them somebody who has big bipartisan appeal but doesn't have a scandal that's going to become a distraction and they haven't found that person. Maybe they will.
"[Former Florida Gov.] Jeb Bush says he's going to make a decision whether to run by the end of the year. [Rep.] Paul Ryan [of Wisconsin] will do the same. We'll see. If that happens, then you may see the air, such as it is, fly out of the Christie balloon. But so far, he's kind of been treading water and that's because the rest of the field has been treading water."
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