The "Bridgegate" scandal surrounding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie smacks of old-style political thuggery, says Charles Hurt, a columnist for The Washington Times.
"What we see here with the Christie thing is thuggy sort of politics that you expect out of a union boss or something like that," Hurt told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"[It's] awful, horrible politics," Hurt said Wednesday.
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Emails made public by media outlets earlier Wednesday appear to show a top Christie aide ordering the closure of several access lanes on the George Washington Bridge last September.
The closures, which clogged traffic in Fort Lee, N.J., for four days, were allegedly done as political payback after the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee declined to endorse Christie's re-election.
Christie had repeatedly said the lane closures were part of a traffic study initiated by the Port Authority. But on Wednesday he said:
"I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge."
Hurt said he was stunned that email fingerprints detailing the political payback were written.
"I mean, who commits this stuff to writing, even if it's email? Why would you, I mean, it's so stupid. It's just mind-blowing," he said.
But Hurt added that the media would not have pursued the Bridgegate controversy as doggedly if Democrats had been involved.
"It's sort of interesting that we have this wonderful, dogged . . . shocked and outraged reporting of this," he said.
"It just seems like whenever it's a Republican candidate in a Republican primary, oh, it's so easy to find that bombshell, smoking gun, and tie it around the guy's neck, but when it's a Democratic primary, we never come across these things as neatly tied up with a bow."
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