POLITICS: PennAve

Chris Christie skips any mention of bridge scandal in inaugural address

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New Jersey,2016 Elections,Chris Christie,PennAve,Rebecca Berg,Bridge Scandal

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made no mention in his second inaugural speech Tuesday of the scandal that erupted with evidence that his aides had orchestrated a traffic jam to exact political revenge -- the most significant political crisis Christie has faced to date, and one which he continues to grapple with.

Instead, Christie focused in his address on the tried-and-true political themes of resilience and unity, and used it to remind people of the historic coalition of voters that rocketed him to a re-election victory in the traditionally blue state in November.

Those voters, Christie said, "have demanded that we stay the course they have helped set. To stand up for what is right. To fight the fights worth fighting. And, most of all, to work together to make government work for each and every one of those voices of affirmation."

Just last week, Christie, a Republican, addressed the swirling scandal briefly at the beginning of his State of the State address, reiterating his apology for lane closures at the George Washington Bridge that last year led to hours-long traffic delays in Fort Lee, N.J., but emphasizing that he had no prior knowledge of the scheme.

There was no such acknowledgement of the controversy Tuesday, indicating that Christie will attempt to move past it even as the Democratically controlled New Jersey legislature continues its investigation of the bridge closing with a new round of subpoenas targeting more of Christie's aides.

But Christie did opt for a softer tone in his remarks, perhaps to offset charges that his brash style borders on bullying.

"We cannot fall victim to the attitude of Washington, D.C.," Christie said. "The attitude that says, 'I am always right and you are always wrong.' The attitude that puts everyone into a box they are not permitted to leave. The attitude that puts political wins ahead of policy agreements. The belief that compromise is a dirty word."

And, at a time when Christie has had to fight to maintain the trust of his constituents, he appealed to their faith in him as their governor.

"Elections are about more than TV ads and debates and rallies," Christie said. "Each vote cast is an act of faith and trust. Faith in the strength of the bonds we have built. Trust in the hope that tomorrow will bring a better job for us, a better education for our children and a better day for all of our citizens."

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