Jersey Devil Doesn’t See Shadow—Springtime For Christie
Ever have one of those weeks where everything just goes right? Chris Christie sure did. Almost.
First, the Gov was completely exonerated by his “very dear friend and pig-hunting buddy,” Deb Yang of Gibson Dunn, one of Christie’s go-to firms in matters legal. New Jersey taxpayers will be happy to learn that the million bucks they paid for this “exhaustive internal investigation” of the BridgeGate and alleged abuse of federal Hurricane Sandy Relief funds proves, unequivocally, that their hands-on governor is not evil, he’s just not exactly on top of things that “don’t rise to the gubernatorial level.”
So far, the New Jersey state legislative committee and the US Attorney for New Jersey appear to be underwhelmed by Gibson Dunn’s report. Maybe it’s because Gibson Dunn, like Gov. Christie, based their findings on zero input from those alleged principals, in the case, who have either resigned their administration posts or been fired by Christie.
Taxpayers did get at least a quarter million’s worth of hot office gossip, though, and a slut-shaming to rival a Limbaugh moment. Gibson Dunn went with the “Woman Scorned” defense so we now know that, at some point after Bill Stepien left the Christie admin to be Christie’s eyes and ears in the Republican Governors Association, Stepien and Bridget Kelly dated a few times.
For some esoteric legal rationale, Gibson Dunn felt compelled to spell out who broke up with whom in that relationship, thereby unleashing the unfortunate events culminating in BridgeGate. Spoiler alert: Stepien dumped Kelly, ergo, he will be free to mastermind the Christie 2016 campaign.
To celebrate his return from self-exile, Christie betook himself to the sets of Diane Sawyer and Megyn Kelly [to be fair and balanced] and to signal the end of his winter of discontent, buff-up his brand and look presidential as a warm-up for the Big Dance in Vegas, on Saturday.
And that would be what the AP dubbed, earlier this week, “the Sheldon primary,” complete with Scotch tastings, private roundtable panels, golf, poker and other activities during which billionaire Sheldon Adelson sizes up the field and decides which Republican he’d like to blow a bundle on this election cycle.
So far, so good. Sheldon Adelson even swept imperially in, somewhere in the middle of Christie’s speech, to listen. Which, in turn, inspired Christie to do what he does best—an extemporaneous feel good pep rally to sell himself and make everyone in the audience feel like his goombah.
That stuff might play well in Jersey, but this was Vegas and the audience was the Republican Jewish Coalition, so Christie managed to find an IED to step on, as he went along his merry way.
It was during a folksy little story about how Christie has something in common with wealthy American Jewish donors—a trip to the Holy Land! Of course that probably wasn’t news to this particular crowd since they had helped foot Christie’s bill for that junket.
At any rate, Christie decided to share a little insight that he had on that trip:
I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories across and just felt personally how extraordinary that was to understand, the military risk that Israel faces every day . . .
One does not refer to “occupied territories” of the holy land when courting Jewish donors many of whom are Zionists.
Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), confronted Christie after his speech about his use of the term, telling Politco’s Ken Vogel he explained to the New Jersey governor that “at minimum you should call it disputed territories.”
Christie was non-committal, said Klein, who concluded afterwards that governor Christie “either doesn’t understand the issue at all, or he’s hostile to Israel.”
Klein told the NY Times that Christie “scowled” and did not say whether he would do so in the future. “I was shocked,” he said.
Ooooh baby! we know that Christie scowl, in these parts.
We also know that when Adelson summoned Christie for a private audience, the Gov. turned that scowl upside down. And apologized. Oh to be a fly on the wall . . . one thing that is not part of Chris Christie’s vast repertoire is “the apology.”
Nevertheless, as Shakespeare once said “needs must when the devil drives. . . “
. . . a source told POLITICO that Christie “clarified in the strongest terms possible that his remarks today were not meant to be a statement of policy.”
Instead, the source said, Christie made clear “that he misspoke when he referred to the ‘occupied territories.’ And he conveyed that he is an unwavering friend and committed supporter of Israel, and was sorry for any confusion that came across as a result of the misstatement.”
Adelson accepted Christie’s explanation, the source said.
So it is that while his fellow Republican hopefuls get to relax, play some golf or a few hands of blackjack, Christie, who was planning on a triumphal comeback, now has to deal with damage control, with “Christie Apologizes to Adelson” going viral.
As most Christie-watchers know, Christie has a tendency to “mis-speak.” The thing about unbridled power is that it’s mighty hard to steer. And if there’s one thing a bully hates, it’s being bullied. Or being forced to apologize.
If I were Mr Adelson, or Mr Morton Klein, for that matter, I’d give Jersey a wide berth until this dies down a little. Otherwise, your limo might get mysteriously creamed by a run amok teamster on the Garden State Parkway.
As they say in Jersey, “Yo! traffic happens, nowadimean?
Randy Mastro, of Gibson Dunn, just repudiated claims that his report is sexist or that he has a “conflict of interest.” Doh.