New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said his Bridge-gate woes will be little more than a "footnote" by the time the 2016 race for the White House heats up.
In an interview with CBS News' Bob Schieffer at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation's Fiscal Summit in Washington, Christie added he's not the first chief executive to have a staff member do something inappropriate without his knowledge, and insisted the scandal won't affect his political ambitions.
Two Christie aides were axed after revelations that lanes to the George Washington Bridge
were abruptly closed last September for political retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J.
Legislative and criminal investigations continue
into the matter.
"In the end, what the people of New Jersey know about me is I tell them the truth," Christie said, NBC News
"I told them I had nothing to do with it, and now you'
ve had all kinds of people looking at this for nearly four and a half months now, and there hasn't been one suggestion that I knew anything about it."
Asked whether the furor would have an impact on his future political aspirations, Christie said, "I think it will have none, because I didn't do anything."
"I think this will be a footnote by the time any of these decisions are made," he said.
Christie said he'll make his decision on a possible bid for the White House "later," Time
Christie also elaborated on his remarks that it would be "stressful" to run against former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
t like running against people who are your friends," he said. "I know I'd have fun with Jeb on the campaign trail."
Christie also took on the issue of his state's more than $800 million budget shortfall, saying the fault lies with state economists.
"They said 'we just missed it'," he said. "And you know, the great thing about an economist is, that's all they have to say. I'm the one that has to fix your mess."
He said that whatever the fix, it won't include a tax hike, but he decried that he has "limited options," Politico
reports. "Now I have to fix it with 45 days left in my fiscal year."
"We will fix it," he insisted. "You know why? I have no choice."
The New Jersey Treasury in late April said the state was facing a budget shortfall of $807 million, Politico noted, and the major credit rating agencies took note, downgrading ratings for the state.
"The bigger issue is, how do we avoid this in the future? And the only way is to stop the insanity" of entitlement spending and health benefits, Christie said.
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