Chris Christie Learns Humility

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 4 2011 4:27 PM

Chris Christie Learns Humility

Paul Mulshine, the Star Ledger columnist who'd been filing blistering reports on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's response to the 2010 blizzard, reports back from the governor's latest presser. The bravado of last week, the assessment that the response was fine and local mayors should have stepped up? Gone.

Christie said he apologized if his remarks gave the impression that he had spoken directly with [Acting Gov. Steve] Sweeney.

"I communicated with him through my staff," he said, mentioning chief of staff Rich Bagger and counsel Jeff Chiesa.

He went on to state "I didn't say it as clearly as I should have."

In answer to a question from a reporter, he also said that the state will be setting up a system to reimburse drivers whose cars were towed from state roads.

He also promised a better effort next time, saying "There are spots we're going to be looking at."

As for criticism of his decision to leave the state the same time as Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, Christie defended the action but also said "We're going to make sure it doesn't happen again."

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Contrast that with Christie last week . Actually, better idea: Contrast it with his response to New Jersey's fumble of its Race to the Top application. Christie's first response to that was an angry denunciation of government bureaucrats who unfairly punished the state. His second response was the discovery that state education commissioner Bret Schundler had fumbled the deal, then misled him about it (he said).

These are minor incidents that probably don't define how Christie is seen by national conservatives and Republicans, but the standard "Christie: Real Talk Superstar" story that gets written every week might need to be updated.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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