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Thread: The 2016 Presidential Race

  1. #31
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    Typical Republican pettiness...

  2. #32

    Default Top Christie Staff Sought Lane Closings as Revenge

    The Times seems to have changed the layout of the on-line edition, making it all but impossile to cut and paste whole articles into this space - at least for me. But here is the link and highlights:


    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/09/ny...osings.html?hp



    Newly released emails and text messages show that Gov. Chris Christie’s office was closely involved with lane closings on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge in September, and that officials closed the lanes as retribution against the Democratic mayor whose town was gridlocked as a result.
    In the documents, obtained by The New York Times and other news outlets on Wednesday, Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff in Mr. Christie’s office, gave a signal to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to close the lanes about two weeks before the closings occurred.

    “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” she emailed David Wildstein, Mr. Christie’s close friend from high school, and one of his appointees at the Port Authority, which controls the bridge. Mr. Christie and some officials at Port Authority have said the closings were done as part of a traffic study, but they caused havoc for days, backing up traffic for hours.

  3. #33

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    I don't understand why Christie relied on his minions to close three access lanes to the GW Bridge. He could have closed three lanes himself - by sitting in the middle of the road.

  4. #34

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    Pass him some butter.


  5. #35
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Just testing, testing..well, there was some extra stuff that needed removing, but not too bad. Graphics are, however, problematic.

    Perhaps they're trying to discourage cut/paste?



    Christie Faces Scandal on Traffic Jam Aides Ordered


    By KATE ZERNIKE



    The mystery of who closed two lanes onto the George Washington Bridge — turning the borough of Fort Lee, N.J., into a parking lot for four days in September — exploded into a full-bore political scandal for Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday. Emails and texts revealed that a top aide had ordered the closings to punish the town’s mayor after he did not endorse the governor for re-election.“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie, emailed David Wildstein, a high school friend of the governor who worked at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the bridge.

    Later text messages mocked concerns that school buses filled with students were stuck in gridlock: “They are the children of Buono voters,” Mr. Wildstein wrote, referring to Mr. Christie’s opponent Barbara Buono.

    The emails are striking in their political maneuvering, showing Christie aides gleeful about some of the chaos that resulted. Emergency vehicles were delayed in responding to three people with heart problems and a missing toddler, and commuters were left fuming. One of the governor’s associates refers to the mayor of Fort Lee as “this little Serbian,” and Ms. Kelly exchanges messages about the plan while she is in line to pay her respects at a wake.

    Mr. Christie denied knowledge of the emails and said his staff was to blame. The growing scandal threatens to tarnish him at the moment he assumes an even larger position on the national stage, as chairman of the Republican Governors Association and an all-but-certain candidate for his party’s presidential nomination in 2016.

    While the emails do not establish that the governor himself called for the lane closings, they show his staff was intimately involved, contrary to Mr. Christie’s repeated avowals that no one in his office or campaign knew about them. In fact, the emails show, several staff members and appointees worked to cover up the scheme under the ruse that it was a traffic study.

    The disclosing of the emails will probably intensify an investigation into the lane closing by the Port Authority Inspector General’s office, which opened a formal inquiry in December. At that time, the deputy inspector general, Michael Nestor, confirmed the investigation, and another official said the office was seeking to determine whether there was any abuse of authority or gross mismanagement.

    The emails could represent evidence that government resources were used for political purposes, a potential crime. Mr. Nestor did not respond to a telephone message on Wednesday seeking comment.

    On Wednesday, the normally voluble Mr. Christie was largely quiet. He and his staff had apparently been caught off-guard by the day’s revelations. He canceled his one scheduled public event, where he was expected to talk about progress in recovering from Hurricane Sandy. Late in the afternoon, he issued a statement saying that he had seen the exchanges “for the first time” and casting blame on his staff for “unacceptable” behavior.

    “I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge,” Mr. Christie’s statement said. “One thing is clear: This type of behavior is unacceptable, and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.”

    His office did not respond to follow-up inquiries about whether this meant Ms. Kelly, or anyone else, had been fired. Mr. Wildstein, along with Bill Baroni, Mr. Christie’s top appointed staff member at the Port Authority, resigned in December after port officials testified in a legislative hearing that the men had violated protocols and had sought to hide their plans for the lane closings from Fort Lee officials, the police and even other Port Authority officials.

    The documents were obtained by The New York Times and other news outlets Wednesday. They are heavily redacted by Mr. Wildstein, who turned them over under a subpoena from Democratic legislators investigating the lane closing, making it hard to determine in some cases who is speaking.

    But they indicate that Mr. Christie’s staff, appointees at the Port Authority, and his campaign office were all intimately involved in discussing the growing scandal and how to react to it even as it was unfolding.

    After New York appointees at the Port Authority, who had not been warned in advance about the closings, reopened the lanes four days after they were closed, Mr. Wildstein and Ms. Kelly expressed panic, but Mr. Wildstein assured her that David Samson, Mr. Christie’s handpicked chairman of the Port Authority, was “helping us to retaliate.”

    When reporters began calling to ask about the lane closings, Mr. Wildstein and Ms. Kelly worked with Michael Drewniak, the governor’s chief spokesman, to fashion a statement saying that the port was “reviewing traffic safety patterns” at the bridge and had been “in contact with Fort Lee police throughout this transition.”

    In fact, bridge officials testified in December that Mr. Baroni and Mr. Wildstein instructed them not to tell the Fort Lee police, or anyone else, about the lane closings before they happened. They also testified that they did not believe there had been any traffic study; none were produced after the lane closings, and any study of traffic patterns could have been done using computer models of data routinely collected at the bridge.

    In early October, Mr. Wildstein wrote to Bill Stepien, Mr. Christie’s campaign manager, about an article in The Wall Street Journal about the suspicious lane closings.

    “It’s fine,” replied Mr. Stepien, recently named by Mr. Christie to be head of the state Republican party and a top adviser to the Republican Governors Association. “The mayor is an idiot, though.” He added, with an apparent typo, “When some, lose some.”

    “It will be a tough November for this little Serbian,” Mr. Wildstein replied. (The mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, at whom that barb was aimed, is actually of Croatian descent.)

    After another story a few weeks later, Mr. Stepien assured Mr. Wildstein, “For what it’s worth, I like you more on October 2, 2013 than I did on October 2, 2009.”

    Mr. Baroni and Mr. Wildstein resigned their positions in December as the scandal began to cast a shadow over Mr. Christie’s political fortunes.

    Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski, a Democrat who has been leading legislative hearings on the closings, said Mr. Christie’s statement on Wednesday suffered from a “credibility gap.” He was skeptical, he said, that Ms. Kelly could sit “three chairs or four chairs away from the governor’s office” and be directing such an operation without his knowledge.

    “His front office is not a place where freelancers and independent actors are welcome,” he said. “It’s a tight ship.”

    “No matter who’s fired or resigns, we still have questions without answers,” he added.

    Mr. Christie was cruising to re-election over Ms. Buono in the fall, but he and his campaign were leaning on local Democratic officials to endorse him so that he could pitch himself to national Republicans as the presidential nominee who could attract broad bipartisan support.

    More than 50 local Democrats endorsed Mr. Christie, and some whispered that they feared the governor would withhold state money or favor if they did not go along.
    Mr. Sokolich, a Democrat, was among those who did not endorse him.

    This week, Steve Fulop, the mayor of Jersey City and a rising Democratic star, said the governor’s office had canceled meetings with him in October the day that he said he would vote for Ms. Buono.

    The governor’s office dismissed it as routine schedule changes. But the emails that came to light on Wednesday show that Mr. Fulop’s reluctance to endorse the governor did not sit well with the governor’s office. In one exchange, Mr. Christie’s aides and the Port Authority staff talked about how they were ignoring messages from the mayor of Fort Lee, who had called Mr. Baroni to report the lane closings as “urgent matter of public safety.”



    “Did he call him back?” Ms. Kelly asked.

    “Radio silence,” Mr. Wildstein replied. “His name comes right after Mayor Fulop.”

    “TY,” she wrote, using shorthand for thank you.

    Mr. Sokolich texted Mr. Baroni, Mr. Christie’s chief appointee at the Port Authority, later in September seeking to understand why the lanes were closed, and said people were saying it was “punishment.”

    “Try as I may to dispel these rumors I am having a tough time,” he wrote.

    Mr. Sokolich, in an interview on Wednesday, said he found the emails — particularly the one referring to him as “this little Serbian” — “condescending, offensive, insulting and slanderous.”

    “How dare you?” he added.

    For weeks, Port Authority officials and Mr. Christie’s office declined to address the lane closings. Mr. Baroni told other port officials that they were not to discuss the closings publicly.

    After the initial legislative hearings late last year, Mr. Christie mocked the idea that he might have been involved, joking, “I actually was the guy working the cones,” and then adding, “You are not really serious.”

    When he announced Mr. Baroni’s resignation in December, he said that he had “made it very clear to everyone on my senior staff that if anyone had any knowledge of this that they need to come forward.”

    “They’ve all assured me that they don’t,” he said. “I’ve spoken to Mr. Stepien and he has assured me the same thing.”

    Mr. Wildstein is scheduled to testify before the legislative committee on Thursday, but he has filed a motion to quash the subpoena compelling his testimony. A judge is expected to rule on his motion in the morning.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/09/ny...osings.html?hp

  6. #36

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    In early October, Mr. Wildstein wrote to Bill Stepien, Mr. Christie’s campaign manager, about an article in The Wall Street Journal about the suspicious lane closings.

    “It’s fine,” replied Mr. Stepien, recently named by Mr. Christie to be head of the state Republican party and a top adviser to the Republican Governors Association. “The mayor is an idiot, though.” He added, with an apparent typo, “When some, lose some.”
    Well, that job is gone.

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merry View Post
    Just testing, testing..well, there was some extra stuff that needed removing, but not too bad. Graphics are, however, problematic.

    Perhaps they're trying to discourage cut/paste?


    You did a better job than I . I experienced overwrites - different pieces of text appearing in the same space on the page making it look like a jumble of letters.

    I will try again when opportunity permits.

  8. #38
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Fulop Public Enemy #1

    Hudson County politicos rattled by GWB lane closure emails mentioning Fulop

    By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal
    Email the author | Follow on Twitter
    on January 09, 2014 at 8:57 AM, updated January 09, 2014 at 8:58 AM


    Governor Chris Christie attends the Mayoral Inauguration of Steven Fulop at City Hall in downtown Jersey City on Monday, July 1, 2013. Lauren Casselberry/For The Jersey Journal

    Hudson County political observers were stunned to learn Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop was apparently on a Port Authority enemies list long before he said he would file a $400 million lawsuit against the bi-state agency.

    In an email released yesterday as part of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, a top Christie aide asked then-Port Authority official David Wildstein whether the agency had responded to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich’s complaints about the closures.

    “Radio silence,” Wildstein, a Christie ally, wrote on Sept. 9. “His name comes right after Mayor Fulop.”

    Fulop texted The Jersey Journal to say he believes the email means he’s “Enemy Number 1.” He declined to comment further.

    “Wow,” said Freeholder Bill O’Dea of Jersey City, a Fulop ally, when he heard the contents of the email.

    Asked whether he thinks the email means the Port Authority hates Fulop more than Sokolich, O’Dea said, “I’d have to guess they are ‘1’ and ‘1A.’ At that point, they’re both persona non grata.”

    Wildstein, who resigned Dec. 6 saying the lane closures had become “a distraction,” could not be reached to comment. An email seeking comment from Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman was not returned.

    In a statement released yesterday afternoon, Christie, who had previously denied his office had anything to do with the lane closures, said his staff had “misled” him and their behavior is “not representative” of him or his administration.

    Jonathan Wharton, who teaches political science at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, said he’s fascinated by the lane closures flap - and by Fulop’s cameo appearance.

    “I’m floored. I’m really floored,” Wharton said. “I imagine there’s going to be some heads rolling.”

    Fulop has said he thinks Christie’s office saw him as an enemy when the mayor wouldn’t endorse Christie for re-election. Fulop told The Record this week after he told Christie’s political team he wouldn’t endorse him, the governor’s office canceled a host of meetings the new mayor had scheduled.

    Wharton said he’d be astonished if Christie’s camp thought they would get the Democratic mayor’s endorsement.

    Sokolich has accused Christie’s allies of closing three local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge because Sokolich wouldn’t endorse Christie. The September lane closings led to days of traffic nightmares in the Bergen County borough.

    In a statement, Fulop said the emails “shed an unfortunate light on Trenton politics.”

    In November, Fulop said he planned to file a $400 million lawsuit against the Port Authority, further angering officials at the bi-state agency. The Port Authority owes the money in back taxes, fines and other fees, according to Fulop.

    Meanwhile, Councilman Rich Boggiano, who represents Ward C, said the top aide to Gov. Chris Christie who was involved in the controversial lane closures in Fort Lee last year should be fired.

    After hearing the content of some of the emails, particularly one in which Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff in Christie’s office, wrote that it was “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Boggiano was blunt.

    “If that’s true, then whoever did that should lose their jobs,” he said. “They should be fired.”

    http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/inde...river_defaultz
    Last edited by JCMAN320; January 10th, 2014 at 09:58 AM.

  9. #39

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    I really don't think Christie can get the Republican nomination, even without this scandal. Outside of the Northeast, most Republicans think he's too liberal.

  10. #40

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    Christie needs a huge record-breaking blizzard - today.

  11. #41

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    The movement to move the GOP back into the mainstream is not inherently northeastern.

    For example The Main Street Adocacy Group, a primary mover was founded by former GOP Rep. from Ohio, Steven Latrourette who recently said this:

    We want our party back,” said former Representative Steven C. LaTourette of Ohio, who is leading Main Street Advocacy. “And we are going to do what it takes to accomplish that.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/06/us...arty.html?_r=0

    In Alabama, of all places

    Establishment-backed Bradley Byrne beat tea party candidate Dean Young in Tuesday’s bitter primary.
    The Alabama race could be just a sample of what may come, and the battle within the GOP may get much more intense leading up to the 2014 elections
    and..


    The business community, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and even an official arm of the Republican Party have also decided to get involved.
    Big business usually stands back and waits until a general election to flex its financial muscle. But it sent a strong signal recently by donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to Byrne in his Alabama congressional race. It was a rare move and a lot of money for such a primary.
    And the National Republican Senate Committee “reserves the right” to get involved in primaries “if we ever thought it was necessary to win,” Brad Dayspring, the committee’s communications director, said.
    http://www.mainstreetadvocacy.com/wh...014-elections/

    I am sure that if I look hard enough, I will find other examples of non- Northeasterns advocating more centrists and conciliatory GOP positions as well.

  12. #42

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    So far it's the Sgt Schultz Defense.


  13. #43

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    That sounds a lot like Republican establishment organizations. The boots on the ground don't seem nearly as happy with him.

    Quote Originally Posted by eddhead View Post
    The movement to move the GOP back into the mainstream is not inherently northeastern.

    For example The Main Street Adocacy Group, a primary mover was founded by former GOP Rep. from Ohio, Steven Latrourette who recently said this:



    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/06/us...arty.html?_r=0

    In Alabama, of all places



    and..



    http://www.mainstreetadvocacy.com/wh...014-elections/

    I am sure that if I look hard enough, I will find other examples of non- Northeasterns advocating more centrists and conciliatory GOP positions as well.

  14. #44

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    So is it Republcan Establishment organizations that favor Christie or north east liberals?

    Look I hope you're right. The greater the influence the fringe right wing has on GOP positions and candidates, the more mraginalized the GOP become in the n2014 general elections.

    But when the likes of Bobby Jindal tell you that the GOP has to stop being the "party of stupid" (his words, not mine), you have a problem. I mean when Jindal is the voice of moderation and reason ....

    But if you want to give a platform for Cruz, Bachman and that moron governor from Texas, go right ahead. I have no problem with it at all.

  15. #45

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    A good example of the turmoil that's going on in the GOP is the unemployment benefit extension issue.

    Boehner has said he will not bring it up for a vote. If it's such a bad idea, why not? It would surely fail, since the GOP controls the House.

    Maybe he's afraid it would pass, and the Tea Bags would go ballistic.

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