Chris Christie update: Guv grovels for billionaire crank

Christie tries to put Bridgegate behind him and lay the groundwork for a 2016 presidential run

Published March 31, 2014 1:10PM (EDT)

Chris Christie addresses a gathering at a town hall-style meeting, Thursday, March 20, 2014, Flemington, N.J.                               (AP/Matt Rourke)
Chris Christie addresses a gathering at a town hall-style meeting, Thursday, March 20, 2014, Flemington, N.J. (AP/Matt Rourke)

With the release last week of a Christie-exonerating report, the product of an "internal inquiry" orchestrated by Christie and paid for by taxpayers, New Jersey's embattled governor is clearly making his most serious attempt yet to put the Bridgegate scandal behind him and reclaim his former top spot in the GOP's 2016 pecking order. Despite the reappearance of Christie's pugnacious and swaggering side during a recent press conference, however, the rest of the political world isn't nearly as ready as Christie is to drop the Bridgegate issue and move on to something else. Still, Christie is chugging along, wooing billionaire GOP donors and acting like a man who still thinks the best days of his political career have yet to come.

Here's the latest Christie news:

  • Christie apologized over the weekend to billionaire casino magnate and prolific GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, after delivering a speech (ostensibly for the Republican Jewish Coalition, in reality for Adelson) in which he referred to the "occupied territories" of Palestine as, well, occupied territories. Adelson, a far-right Zionist who has previously advocated preemptively nuking Iran, doesn't like the "occupied territories" phrase and believes Israel should fully colonize and annex what's left of a semi-sovereign Palestinian state.
  • As well as committing the grave sin of saying 2 + 2 = 4, Christie also argued in his speech that Republicans must stop bickering with one another and join together to focus on winning the presidency in 2016. “If we want to just have arguments that lead to nothing," Christie joked, "we could just form a university.” He urged his fellow GOPers to campaign in places where they feel "uncomfortable," as he said he did when reaching out to New Jersey's Latino community during his reelection campaign (he went on to win 51 percent of the Latino vote).
  • The real world keeps spinning, however: A new report from Steve Kornacki at MSNBC says the Hoboken City Council is considering giving Mayor Dawn Zimmer the right to waive the attorney-client privileges of the lawyer who represents the city in regard to development matters. Zimmer famously alleged in the wake of Bridgegate that the Christie administration demanded she approve a private development deal in her city before she receive the full amount of Superstorm Sandy aid she requested. Waiving the privilege would allow the lawyer in question to speak more freely about what he's found during his recent investigations.
  • Christie may still be facing serious legal issues, but he's at least got this much: Karl Rove is in his corner, vociferously defending the objectivity and professionalism of Christie's self-directed internal inquiry. So he's got that going for him.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

MORE FROM Elias Isquith

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Chris Christie Dawn Zimmer Karl Rove Republican Jewish Coalition Sheldon Adelson Steve Kornacki