Coming off a two-day tour of the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Christie said today that there’s “no question” the scandal surrounding the closing of lanes at the George Washington Bridge hurt his prospects for the 2016 nomination — another indication that the controversy, colloquially known as Bridgegate, has not yet blown over for the presidential hopeful.
Christie, speaking in an interview with the TODAY Show’s Matt Lauer, said he’s felt the effects of the scandal, particularly when it comes to his standing among a crowded field of GOP contenders all jockeying for the nomination next year.
“I don’t think anybody likes to have something like that happen on their watch and there’s no question it hurts you,” Christie said. “No question.”
Lauer compared and contrasted Christie’s poll numbers before Bridgegate began making headlines, when the Republican incumbent was widely considered one of the party’s brightest stars, as well as after, when his standing dropped to second tier status.
“Matt, if they played as many negative things about you as they did about me, that intensely for that long, you’d feel it too,” Christie said.
Christie’s comments come amid speculation that the federal investigation into what motivated the lane closures could be coming to a head, with indictments set to be announced potentially next week. The possibility of charges in the case seems to have renewed interest on how it might affect Christie, who has not let the controversy keep him from laying the groundwork for a 2016 campaign.
Christie spent the last two days retail politicking in the Granite State, and Bridgegate was one of the bigger issues to follow him. He was teased about it by voters at a morning stop in Manchester, and told the town’s paper, the Union Leader, that the experience has in general convinced him to be “less trusting and ask more questions.”
“But I’ll tell you this. The folks up here know me very well, and if I decide to do this I’m going to go at it as hard as I can,” Christie told Lauer. “But I’m not going to change who I am.”
Earlier, the Republican said he and his family are still going through the “very personal” part of deciding whether to run for president next year.