IOWA 2016: Chris Christie’s Bridge To Nowhere


DAILY NEWS: THE GEORGE Washington Bridge officially became New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s “Bridge to Nowhere” yesterday. In a devastating blow to the political prospects of now arguably ex-GOP front-runner for the 2016 presidential nomination, leaked emails and texts revealed that a high-ranking Christie aide deliberately called for crippling traffic problems in Fort Lee, N.J., after that city’s Democratic mayor refused to endorse the GOP governor’s 2013 re-election. “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, wrote in August to David Wildstein, a top Christie appointee on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, according to emails leaked to the media ahead of a key legislative hearing on the detonating scandal. “Got it,” replied Wildstein, days before ordering that orange cones block two lanes of Fort Lee’s local entrance ramp to the iconic Hudson River bridge, spreading crippling gridlock across the town for four days last September. The emails brought the apparent case of political retribution – Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich has said the closure happened shortly after he declined a request to cross party lines and endorse Christie – and a slowly simmering scandal into the governor’s office for the first time. There is still no direct evidence, however, that the governor himself knew what aides were doing. But the scandal news hit not just New Jersey but national politics with the force of a 10-megaton hydrogen bomb – especially on social-media sites like Twitter, where 140-character pundits gave the controversy names like “Bridgeghazi,” or mocked Christie and his omnipresent 2013 tourism ads with the hashtag #StrongerThanTheCones. MORE

RELATED: Local officials say the gridlock they caused delayed ambulances in responding to four calls, including one involving an unconscious 91-year-old woman who later died.

RELATED: The U.S. Attorney for New Jersey has announced that his office is reviewing the facts surrounding the decision of Gov. Chris Christie’s aides and associates to close lanes leading from Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge, in an effort to “determine whether a federal law was implicated.” A spokeswoman for Paul Fishman, New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney, said the inspector general for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey “has referred the matter to us, and our office is reviewing the matter to determine whether a federal law was implicated.” Asked about the announcement of Fishman looking into the matter, Christie said today at a news conference addressing the bridge scandal, “I have absolutely nothing to hide. My instruction to everybody would be to cooperate and answer questions. We have nothing to hide and this administration has nothing to hide.” MORE