New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie put on a "tour-de-force" in damage control as he tackled bridge-gate at a tense press conference Thursday, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin says.
"If what he's saying is true, if there are no more shoes to drop … [then we] have rather a remarkable, even a tour de force, in damage control and public apology," Rubin told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"He certainly went on for a long time, he answered virtually every question the reporters could manage and some of the same ones multiple times. He gave a lot of details; he was abject in his apologies."
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During the press conference, Christie apologized for the scandal
and said he'd fired a top aide after revelations his staff played a key role in closing commuter-dedicated lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge in what critics say was a political vendetta.
"I come out here to apologize to the people of New Jersey," he said. "I apologize to the people of Fort Lee. And I apologize to the State Legislature. I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team."
"He frankly suggested that there are outside investigative groups like the U.S. attorney and the State Legislature [that] are going to have full access to him and his staff to get to the bottom [of this], see if there are any other people," Rubin said.
"And he let loose two close aides, including his former campaign manager who has been very close to him. So certainly he understands this is absolutely critical, and second of all, it was quite compelling, provided that he is telling the truth."
Rubin says if investigations of the bridge controversy lend credence to Christie's version of events, "then he's gone some distance in setting up a really good contrast with the way he handles scandal and the way that the Clintons or the Obamas or even Virginia's Bob McDonnell, who's involved in a gift-finance scandal this year, respond.
"Then in a bizarre way this could actually help him … If he is not telling the truth, however, he will be out."
Rubin says people generally view Christie as "very bombastic and very aggressive.
"And here was a guy who was really baring it all, baring his soul, and he used words like 'humiliated,' 'embarrassed,' 'feels awful,' 'sad.' These are not emotions one usually connects with him and unless he is a marvelous actor, that is a compelling picture of remorse."
But Rubin also warned that if Christie is not telling truth, "he will be out."
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