Roger Simon: Chris Christie claims ignorance, expects bliss
His "see no evil; hear no evil; my staff is evil, but I'm not" defense for the closing of bridge lanes in Fort Lee, N.J., allegedly because the mayor there refused to endorse his re-election may be true. But who is going to believe it?
Christie wants to be the Republican nominee and win the presidency in 2016. Once again, the Republicans have a pretty weak field, and Christie leads the early (meaningless) polls for the nomination. But what has he shown the nation in recent weeks?
Generally speaking, voters don't elect chief executives who admit to being clueless.
"I don't know what makes a legitimate traffic study," Christie said in his long everybody-but-mea culpa this month. "I probably wouldn't know a traffic study if I tripped over it."
Nobody now believes this was a legitimate traffic study. Except Chris Christie. Christie, like the rest of America, has seen the email from his deputy chief of staff saying, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."
Sound like bullying and political thuggery to you rather than a traffic study? Christie is unsure. "Whether there was a traffic study or not, I don't know," he said. "It appeared that there was one, based on what I saw in the testimony."
Fourth, Christie claims he did not even know the mayor of Fort Lee. "If he walked in the room, I wouldn't have been able to pick him out," he said.
That surprises me. Smart pols know and remember people. That's what pols do. I have never known a governor who was proud of not knowing an elected official in his own state.
But Christie wants us to believe he couldn't have picked the mayor of Fort Lee out of a lineup?
On the other hand, Christie does remember people who do favors for him.
Which is how he makes sure people want to be his friends.
Roger Simon is Politico's chief political columnist.
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