New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says the revelations and ensuing media scrum over the Bridge-gate scandal were "completely disorienting, like I got hit across the forehead with a two-by-four."
In his first personal interview since the controversy arose, Christie said it would not be possible to explain how "awful" the experience has been.
"I don't think anybody knows what it feels like to have the kind of attention that I've had in the last nine days until you go through it," he told Yahoo News' Matt Bai.
"I'm trying to get my arms around an awful situation and understand it, and then address it, and then resolve it," Christie said. He said he was determined to make the affair a learning experience.
"I will learn things from this, I know I will. I don't know exactly what it is yet that I'll learn from it, but when I get the whole story and really try to understand what's going on here, I know I'm going to learn things," he said.
Christie, who in a Jan. 9 press conference
apologized for the controversy and emotionally discussed his embarrassment and humiliation, nonetheless fought off criticisms of his personality and his portrayal as an angry bully, which, if they stick, could ultimately dim his chances
in a 2016 presidential bid.
"It doesn't mean I don't get angry — everybody gets angry," he said. "But they confuse sometimes, if you're blunt and you're direct and you just say things the way you see them, that that's anger. More times than not, it's not anger with me. It's just my personality."
He said that despite the assaults on his personality, he has no intention of changing.
"I'm not growing a new personality at 51," he said.
Acknowledging that other politicians have adjusted their public personas when under fire, Christie said, "Not me, man. This is it. I like who I am."
Asked how he felt now about becoming president compared to comments he made in 2011, when he said he wasn't ready, Christie said, "I'm readier, if that's a word."
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