CNN host Don Lemon grilled Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on how it’s OK to assume Chris Christie is hiding something while assuming that President Obama is always forthcoming.
Wasserman Schultz was eager to spread the message that the New Jersey governor had committed wrongdoing, a news drop that conveniently steered attention away from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ revelations a day earlier about Hillary Clinton.
“I think the investigation that is ongoing is going to — through the questioning, particularly tomorrow when the assembly asks the right people under oath questions about exactly what happened and who and where these instructions came from to shut down three lanes of highway on the George Washington Bridge that not just — not only snarled traffic but actually slowed down first responders from looking for a 4-year-old,” Wasserman Schultz said.
“There are so many questions that need to be answered that Chris Christie has refused to answer thus far and today those e-mails revealed that there is smoke and that smoke leads right to the closest staff that he has in his office. If he’s such a straight shooter, which he prides himself on, Don, why did it take seven hours for him to release a statement for him saying he was outraged and had no knowledge of it? I can tell you if I knew nothing about something and had no knowledge, I would immediately release a statement. That doesn’t take a lot of hand wringing to release a statement like that.”
Lemon asked Wasserman Schultz about the controversies faced by Obama over the past year. “Each time the president has claimed that he didn’t know. He didn’t know about the NSA spying on allies. He didn’t know that about the Obamacare website. He didn’t know that if you — that you wouldn’t be able to keep your doctor — so what’s the difference between Christie not knowing and the president not knowing?”
“The difference is the issues that President Obama said he didn’t know about were policy issues. This is a scandal. A scandal that leads right to his office in which his staff and possibly him exacted political retribution in retaliation for a Democratic mayor in Fort Lee refusing to endorse him in his re- election. As a result they ordered the shutdown of three lanes of the George Washington Bridge on the first day of school, snarling traffic, trapping children in school buses,” Wasserman Schultz responded.
Lemon pointed out that Obama calls everything “made-up scandals,” so why couldn’t Christie’s involvement be overblown, too?
“How could we compare a governor and his staff potentially deliberately shutting down three lanes of highway in retaliation, which these e-mails that came out today show that it was in response to a mayor refusing to endorse their boss for his re- election? How you could compare that to health care policy, intelligence policy and foreign policy?” Wasserman Schultz shot back. “Now of those three things were scandals. They are not comparable. Chris Christie has to face the music. He has refused to answer questions for months. He has said from the beginning that he had nothing to do with this and knew nothing about it and that it didn’t have anything to do with anyone at his office and it turns out none of that is true.”
Lemon then asked about her political motivation in stoking the Christie scandal. “Clinton beats all opponents except for Christie. I’m talking about Hillary Clinton,” he said. “If we were looking forward to 2016, it shows that Christie beats her by 2 points, 48 percent to 46 percent.”
“Chris Christie is the governor of the state of New Jersey and the head of the National Governor’s Association. His job this year, he said himself about a month ago, that his sole responsibility right now is to re-elect and elect Republican governors. So the guy who is in charge of electing and re-electing Republican governors has created a culture in his office at the very least that allowed his senior staff to think that it was OK to exact political retribution that impacted his constituents,” Wasserman Schultz responded.