Opinion

Chris Christie tries to defuse bully image as he apologizes for bridge scandal

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Charlie Spiering,New Jersey,Chris Christie,Bridge Scandal

“I am who I am, but I am not a bully,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defiantly insisted Thursday.

Christie denied having knowledge of the scandal surrounding the bridge closure that affected Fort Lee, N.J., and blamed now-fired staff members for lying to him.

“I am not a focus-group-tested, blow-dried candidate or governor,” Christie added, acknowledging that it was easy for the press to stereotype him as a mean-spirited, vindictive politician.

Christie apologized for mistakenly asserting in earlier news conferences that his staff had nothing to do with the scandal, and expressed his feelings that arose after he had to fire close members of his staff.

“What did I do wrong to have these folks think it was OK to lie to me?” Christie said self-reflectively. “I’m doing a lot of soul-searching. I’m sick over this.”

Christie added that he had no memory of ever asking Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for his endorsement and certainly wasn't acting in political retribution.

"I'm sad," Christie said, when reporters asked him how he was feeling about the scandal.

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