So maybe Gov. Chris Christie shouldn’t have slammed legalized pot in Colorado by saying “it’s just not the quality of life we want to have.” That made Coloradoans mad.
Including their governor, it turns out. John Hickenlooper’s office responded with a list of comparative state rankings on quality-of-life issues:
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Gov. Christie is not a fan of Colorado’s legalized pot, Politico reports:
“See if you want to live in a major city in Colorado where there’s head shops popping up on every corner and people flying into your airport just to come and get high,” Christie said on a local radio show in New Jersey on Monday, according to CNN. “To me, it’s just not the quality of life we want to have here in the state of New Jersey and there’s no tax revenue that’s worth that.”
For what it’s worth, the people of Colorado seem to like it just fine.
AP Photo | Mel Evans
Who knows if it’s because of Bridgegate, or because of conservatives’ underlying suspicion of him, but Chris Christie’s New Hampshire support in the 2016 presidential election has declined precipitously. Power Line, a conservative blog, reports on the result of a new poll of Granite State Republican primary voters.
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Earlier this month, a report into the Bridgegate scandal cleared Chris Christie of all wrongdoing.
The Star-Ledger reports that, just two weeks before it released the report, the firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher — which Christie hired for the review — donated $10,000 to the Republican Governors Association. Christie chairs the RGA.
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Recently in a profile of Chris Christie, the New Yorker detailed the falling-out between former N.J. governor Tom Kean (and his son) and Christie. Once a key ally, the elder Kean had a falling out with Christie over several issues, including Christie’s attempt to oust the younger Kean as New Jersey Senate minority leader.
Christie later called this move a mistake, and maybe he’s right: Kean Jr. — who survived the attempt and is still N.J. Senate minority leader — is hosting a fundraiser for George P. Bush at his home on May 7th.
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Forget Bridgegate. CBS reports that former Chris Christie aides are headed to New Hampshire — ostensibly to work on local political campaigns there. But they might have broader opportunities in mind.
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Politico reports: “New Jersey voters think an investigation commissioned by Gov. Chris Christie’s office that cleared him of wrongdoing in the George Washington Bridge scandal is a “whitewash,” according to a new poll. Of the 96 percent of New Jersey voters who had heard of the controversy over the lane closures and resulting traffic jam on the bridge, allegedly ordered by Christie’s staff as political retribution, 56 percent said the investigation was a “whitewash,” according to a Quinnipiac poll out Wednesday. Thirty-six percent said the investigation was a legitimate one.”
One other bad bit of news for Christie: Two-thirds of Jersey voters believe he ordered the bridge closure; Christie has denied involvement.
You’ve already heard about the Joy Behar incident. There are a lot more golden tidbits in this week’s New Yorker profile of Chris Christie. Here are five of our favorite:
Christie owes some of his political success to New Jersey’s Democratic machine: That might sound odd, considering Christie’s a Republican. But the New Yorker article details how Christie’s relationship with two Democratic bosses — Joe DiVincenzo and some guy named George Norcross — has helped him to smooth sailing as governor. During Christie’s re-election campaign, in fact, “there seemed to be an informal non-compete agreement between (Norcross’s) organization and the Governor: Christie mostly stayed away from Norcross’s candidates, and Norcross mostly stayed out of the gubernatorial race.” DiVencenzo endorsed Christie outright. Christie’s ability to get along with Democrats — and thus appeal to centrists — was a rationale for his once-burgeoning presidential campaign. But as told here, the accommodations here seem less ideological, and more about power accommodating power.
Christie’s first political victory, election as a freeholder in the mid-1990s, was the result of a demonstrable lie:
This time, he was a reform candidate, promising to restore honest government, and he produced a TV ad charging that three of his opponents in the nine-person Republican primary were being “investigated by the Morris County prosecutor,” a serious accusation that happened to be false. Christie won the primary and then the general election, in part by assuring a more socially moderate electorate, “I am pro-choice.” But his victory was marred by the divisiveness of the campaign. The three victims of Christie’s false ad, including a freeholder named Cecilia Laureys, successfully sued him for defamation, and, after he lost an appeal, as part of the settlement he was forced to apologize to them in local newspapers.
Don’t Eff With Family, Part One: This has nothing to do with Christie, really, but is a great story about Norcross — and his mid-80s attempt to get State Sen. Lee Laskin to stop blocking the appointment of Norcross’s father to the New Jersey Racing Commission:
Norcross went to see him. “Senator, I come here as a son asking for a favor for his father,” Norcross said. “I don’t want my dad to know I ever came here to see you. This would mean the world to him. It would mean the world to me, and I would be forever indebted to you personally if you did this for my dad.”
Laskin leaned over his desk. “Fuck you and your father,” he said, according to Norcross. “All you corrupt Democrats.”
Norcross bided his time for six years — then took out a $430,000 personal loan to launch a blitz of negative ads againt Laskin’s re-election campaign. “We blew him away,” Norcross said. “It was the most exciting night I’ve ever had in politics in my life to this day.”
Don’t Eff With Family, Part Two: The New Yorker profile opens with former Gov. Thomas Kean, a mentor to Christie, seeming to withdraw his support. It’s not until the end we find out why — Christie was part of an attempted “coup” to remove Kean’s son, Thomas Jr., from his position as Senate Minority Leader.
On Wednesday, the night before the crucial vote to elect leaders for the new session, Christie’s chief of staff, Kevin O’Dowd, who had been a prosecutor under Christie in the U.S. Attorney’s office, asked Kean, Jr., to come to the Governor’s office the following morning. There he told him that Christie wanted him to step aside. “I don’t think I’m willing to step aside,” Kean replied. O’Dowd disappeared to talk to Christie. When he returned, he told Kean that the Governor didn’t want to see him. Kean, Sr., didn’t expect his son to prevail. “I know how tough Chris is on people, and if you cross him he never forgets,” he said. “I didn’t think people were going to have the courage to take on the Governor after his reëlection.” Nevertheless, Kean retained his role as senate minority leader.
Tom Kean, Sr., felt betrayed by Christie’s move against his son. “I thought at some point the Governor would call me and say, ‘Hey, you gotta understand this, I had to do this for this reason or that reason.’ Whatever. But he never called me. The last time I talked to him was Election Night.”
The Watchdog Senator’s Investigative Background: Here’s how the Bridgegate scandal got started:
The bridge scandal might never have been revealed if not for the sleuthing of Loretta Weinberg, a seventy-nine-year-old self-described nosy Jewish grandmother who is also a Democratic state senator from Teaneck, New Jersey, just northwest of Fort Lee. “I bungled into the Port Authority issue, just out of my curiosity,” she told me.
In September, Weinberg read an item in the Bergen Record about the traffic jam. A commuter told the paper, “Other than after the 9/11 attacks, I’ve never seen such a fiasco of delays at the inbound, upper-level part of the bridge.” A senior official at the Port Authority promised Weinberg that he would “get to the bottom of it,” but when she didn’t hear back she became suspicious. “My training comes from having raised children through their adolescent years,” she told me. “ ‘What do you mean you didn’t have a party? You weren’t even smart enough to put the beer cans in someone else’s back yard.’ That’s my investigatory background.”
And yeah, that makes us kind of love Loretta Weinberg.
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We told you this morning about the New Yorker’s Chris Christie profile. It includes this moment early on from a roast where comedian Joy Behar was participating:
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NJ.com reports on the latest goings-on in the grand jury investigating Bridgegate:
David Wildstein, the former Port Authority official at the center of the George Washington Bridge lane-closings scandal, spent several days meeting with federal prosecutors in Newark last week, according to a report posted online by a Washington-based publication that says it covers “insider news” about the U.S. Department of Justice.
The publication, called “Main Justice,” is also reporting that Charlie McKenna, former chief legal counsel to Gov. Chris Christie, met secretly in mid-January with investigators in the office of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.
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