NJ Governor to Speak Out on Growing Bridge Controversy - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

NJ Governor to Speak Out on Growing Bridge Controversy

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has called a news conference Thursday morning to discuss a growing scandal in his office, and State Senator Ray Lesniak has also told CNN he will formally request an investigation into the  Christie administration over the George Washington Bridge controversy.

(CNN) This isn't the first time critics have called Christie a bully, but now the man many consider a Republican presidential frontrunner is on the defensive, scrambling to distance himself from an erupting political scandal that threatens to tarnish his image well before the 2016 elections.

E-mails that surfaced Wednesday suggest top Christie appointees orchestrated traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge as part of a political vendetta to punish a local mayor who wouldn't support him at the polls. Lane closures around approaches to the country's busiest bridge snarled traffic for days in September in Fort Lee, New Jersey -- a problem the governor and his administration had originally blamed on a mishandled traffic study.

In response to the e-mail firestorm, Christie said Wednesday that he was misled by staff. He called the conduct outrageous and said he knew nothing about it. "This behavior is not representative of me or my administration in any way," he said, "and people will be held responsible for their actions."

Even if he had nothing to do with the traffic snarls, the allegations could have serious consequences for Christie, analysts said. "There's something about this that's so petty and so vindictive and it feeds into this narrative that he's a bully. ... He's going to have to find some way to defuse this to prove he doesn't run a shop like that," said CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen, a former adviser to several U.S. presidents.

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