Chris Christie update: Governor defends inequality and George W. Bush

At an event in Chicago, the embattled governor tries to polish his right-wing bona fides

Published February 12, 2014 2:00PM (EST)

Chris Christie                    (Reuters/Andrew Kelly)
Chris Christie (Reuters/Andrew Kelly)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been on a fundraising tour across the nation as of late, and it looks like getting a break from the turmoil in Trenton has got the likely 2016 aspirant feeling like his old, swaggering self. Investigations into Christie's involvement with Bridgegate as well as the Hoboken shakedown are still chugging along, however, so it may be best for Christie to enjoy his time away from home as much as he can. As he should know by now, the good times don't always last.

Here's the latest from Christieland that you need to know:

  • Speaking at an event held by the Economic Club of Chicago, Christie ridiculed those who are concerned about America's growing inequality, arguing that those who want to see a fairer distribution of wealth are "[driving] America toward mediocrity." He compared Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and other liberal politicians who focus on inequality to his children, mimicking their voices while saying, "That's not fair." Christie went on to chide those who worry about inequality, saying, "You want income equality? That is mediocrity. Everybody can have an equal, mediocre salary."
  • After saying President Obama entered office without “a respect for the other party” and dismissing inequality as a legitimate concern, Christie went on to praise former President George W. Bush, saying the Republican commander-in-chief has been "grossly underappreciated" both in and out of office.
  • Christie also seemed to argue that Republicans should support him as a presidential candidate in 2016 because it was "time for [Republicans] to get pragmatic." Christie implicitly compared himself to former President Bill Clinton as well as George W. Bush, saying that both encountered dissidents in their party who eventually had to "suck it up and get behind" them.
  • Christie also addressed the Bridgegate scandal, saying that the shutting down of lanes on the George Washington Bridge happened in part because big organizations like his administration are “inherently flawed because they are inhabited by human beings.”
  • He went on to promise to release his own internal review of Bridgegate.
  • Republicans in Chicago evidently enjoyed Christie's performance: He raised $1 million for the Republican Governors Association, of which he is chairman.
  • After inquiries from the state legislative committee investigating Bridgegate, New Jersey State Police claimed on Tuesday that Christie was never in a helicopter that flew over the traffic disaster in Fort Lee while it was in process.
  • An in-depth look at Christie's career by the Washington Post finds that the former prosecutor and current governor has a long history of "pushing boundaries" when it comes to behavior some would find ethically suspect.
  • A report from WNYC finds that Christie mentor and former Port Authority board chairman David Samson has financially profited from government initiatives undertaken by the Authority.
  • Meanwhile, Sarah Palin took a shot at Christie, saying, "[I]t’s hard to be the CEO of an organization and not know what the closest people to you are up to."

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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