For your reading pleasure, the Washington Post has a transcript available of Chris Christie's "Bridgegate" conference. Just like the actual presser itself, the transcript is a long, winding read into Christie's inelegant maneuvering post-bridge controversy.
"The buck stops here." Except when you pass that buck onto your staffers. Who've you just fired to maintain a thin, crumbling veneer of plausible deniability:
So I had no reason to believe that she was telling me anything other than the truth, and that's why I used the phrase before that I was heartbroken, because I trusted that I was being told the truth, and I wasn't. And I wasn't by somebody who I had placed a significant amount of trust in.
So, yeah, did I miss it? We missed it. I mean, that's why we're here, right? We missed it. But then what do you do when you find out you missed it? I found out at 9 -- a little before 9 yesterday morning. By 9:00 this morning, her position was terminated. And I think that's swift, appropriate action that people would expect from the chief executive of the state.
Q: Governor, you said you didn't seek the mayor's endorsement -- (off mic). Just wondering, in the course of the campaign, you're having these meetings where you were actively seeking the support of many Democrats in the state. But when you have these meetings, and they say, you know, Governor's latest polling, here's your new ad, here's the update on the Democratic outreach -- did anyone say do you, well, the mayor of Fort Lee, he's -- (off mic)?
GOV. CHRISTIE: He never -- his name was never mentioned to me.
His position was never mentioned to me. When I say, John (sp), he was not on my radar screen, that means he was not on my radar screen. I never had Bill Stepien or anybody else connected with the campaign even mention to me, like even an update, like, hey, we've had two meetings with the mayor; we think things are going well or we think things are going poorly. I'd get those kind of updates. I never heard the Fort Lee mayor's name, Mark Sokolich, his name, until all this stuff happened.
And so he was not on my radar screen at all. Plenty of other mayors were. And a number of them wound up endorsing us, and a number of them, I wound up having meetings with like you're referencing. Mayor Sokolich -- not only did I never have a meeting with him, he was never mentioned to me. That's why -- you know, you go back to the question over here about, you know, making a joke about this. That's part of the reason I felt comfortable doing it. Like, this can't have anything to do with politics. I don't even know this guy. How could it be that someone would be doing something like this against a mayor that I never had any conversations with nor any sense that we were even seeking his endorsement?
And so, you know, that's why this is such -- that's part of the reason this is such a mystery to me, John (sp), and why I'm so upset about it.
Q: That's what I'm trying to -- (off mic) -- somebody said, screw him or to hell with him -- (off mic) --
GOV. CHRISTIE: I would have said, who's he?
Q: (Off mic) -- wasn't you?
GOV. CHRISTIE: No, I would have said, who's he? If somebody would have said something that to me I -- who's he and what did he do? I mean, I don't know this guy. Like I said, I may have met him in a greeting line or in a -- in a big Bergen County event or at a town hall meeting or something. But I'm telling you, like, until yesterday when I saw his picture on TV, I wouldn't have -- I -- if he walked in the room, I wouldn't have been able to pick him out.
So that's not to diminish him in any way. It's just that in this context, this is not a guy who was on my radar screen in any way, nor was his name ever brought up to my by Bill Stepien until after the story started to appear about the Fort Lee traffic problem.
And that's the first time that I heard about Mayor Sokolich. And so that's why, John (sp), it's such a mystery to me. And --
Q: (Off mic) -- with Democrats?
GOV. CHRISTIE: Sure. Of course I was, Kelly. But you know what? He wasn't one of them. He wasn't one of them. I mean, I'm happy to admit I that I was trying to run up the score, absolutely. That's what you do in a political campaign, try to get as many supporters, endorsers that turn into voters. That's part of your job.
Translation: "I never even met the guy. How I'm gonna muscle a guy I never even met? I didn't know my staffers were even messing with this guy, who I never met in my life."
No matter how many staffers you throw under the George Washington Bridge and no matter how many village idiots attempt to rework the narrative in your favor, this isn't going away, Chris.