Watch Live as Chris Christie Tries To Explain Away That Traffic Jam His Office Created

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This Time cover came out a year ago today. Prescient!
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's in big trouble, and he knows it. Yesterday morning, it was definitively revealed that his office helped orchestrate a massive traffic jam in Fort Lee, New Jersey leading onto the George Washington Bridge. Emails obtained by North Jersey paper The Record revealed that one of his top deputy chiefs, Bridget Anne Kelly, planned the traffic jam with David Wildstein, a Christie guy in the Port Authority. The whole thing was a harebrained revenge plot to get back at the mayor of Fort Lee for declining to endorse Christie's re-election bid. As an added dose of awful, the traffic jam delayed EMS crews responding to at least four emergency calls; one was an unconscious 91 year-old-woman who later died of cardiac arrest at the hospital.

It looks bad. Real bad. Possible criminal charges bad, if New Jersey Democrats have anything to do with it; State Senator Ray Lesniak told CNN this morning he's calling for a federal investigation. And, as Christie's crew is almost certainly more worried about, it could harm the governor's carefully crafted image of an affable, reasonable dude who plays well with others and gamely eats doughnuts on late-night talk shows. That could potentially sink any hopes he'd had of becoming president before he even launches a campaign.

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A Guide to Chris Christie's Fun Traffic Jam Scandal [UPDATED]

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Image via Twitter
Christie deputy chief Bridget Kelly celebrates her 40th birthday, as Christie hovers in the background.

Update, 4:35 p.m.: Christie has issued a statement denying all involvement in the controversy, and pledging to hold his staffers responsible. We've reprinted it in full at the end of this post.

Original post:

If you were on Twitter earlier today, you might have noticed every reporter on the planet hyperventilating and repeating a number of words, chief among them "Chris Christie," "emails," and "traffic."

Oh, Jesus. Traffic? This sounds like one of those Important Civic Stories You Should Care About, a sort of eat-your-vegetables infrastructure deal, more soporific than a pound of Ambien and half your freshman reading list. Who gives a damn about this stuff besides transportation nerds and journalists, the two lowest lifeforms?

In fact, though, you're watching a tremendously entertaining little scandal in progress, featuring the governor of New Jersey, some deeply incriminating emails, and an ex-blogger and former small-town mayor who, with Christie's help, turned into one of the most powerful men at the Port Authority, and then used that position to extract mind-bogglingly petty revenge on his political enemies. It also has Chris Christie's top aides laughing at school buses full of stranded children. Let's get caught up, shall we?


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New York Daily News Reports Its Beef With Chris Christie is Officially Squashed

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Facebook/Chris Christie
Love is in the air. Chris Christie seems to have reconciled with the Daily News after a blow-up over the paper's New York Jets coverage last week. The dispute sprang from the co-hosting bit Christie did on August 26, when the governor called the Daily News's Jets reporter Manish Mehta an "idiot" and a "dope" for mocking Jets coach and Christie's friend Rex Ryan over a bad call late in a game.

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Dubious Christian "Counseling" Organizations Sue New Jersey Over Gay Conversion Therapy Ban

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Chris Christie points and laughs at gay conversion therapy (probably not).
Two New Jersey therapists, along with the anti-gay Christian counseling groups they belong to, are suing the state over the recently signed ban on "conversion therapy," an absurd, scientifically discredited practice that purports to turn gay people straight. Dr. Tara King and Dr. Ronald Newman are both suing for the right to pretend to change people's sexuality, arguing that the ban constitutes " immediate and irreparable injury to their most cherished constitutional liberties." Both therapists belong to the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, who have joined the lawsuit, along with the American Association of Christian Counselors. The suit was first reported by Courthouse News.

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New Jersey Becomes Second State to Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

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Image via Facebook
New Jersey just became the second state in the Union to ban conversion therapy for minors. Telling teens they can overcome their gayness through therapy and prayer, a practice considered by just about everyone with half a brain to be religiously motivated quackery, was banned by legislation signed by Governor Chris Christie earlier this morning.

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Gov. Christie, You Don't Look "Startlingly" Healthy, But the Doughnut Gag Was Great


Ah! The old whip-the-doughnut-out-of-your-suit-jacket-pocket maneuver. Shrewd move Mr. Governor.

Play the fat joke on yourself before the comedian can play it on you.

In a brilliant preemptive strike, N.J Gov. Chris Christie addressed the 500-pound elephant in the room -- his weight -- by whipping out a doughnut during his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Knowing that Letterman is a big fan of cracking on the governor's weight, Christie beat him to the punch last night.


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Mark Zuckerberg Will Fundraise For (Facebook Friend) Chris Christie's Re-Election

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It's good to have someone with over 17 million Facebook friends on your side, especially when it involves a political campaign.

According to Buzzfeed, Mark Zuckerberg, the social network billionaire, will hold a fundraiser next month for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie out in Palo Alto, California. The donations are intended to go towards Mr. Christie's re-election efforts later this year; a race where he maintains a 60% approval rating over the only Democratic competitor so far, State Senator Barbara Buono.

In 2010, the two met when Mr. Zuckerberg decided to donate $100 million to the Newark school system. He announced the enormous amount on the Oprah Winfrey Show, alongside Mr. Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. And, ever since then, the three have worked together on improving education in Mr. Booker's stomping grounds.

In terms of electoral prospects, Mr. Christie has been riding off a wave of applause from his state. His Sandy recovery efforts (and friendship with Pres. Obama during it) landed him on the national stage; his snubbing of the Republicans in Congress for delaying aid money won him widespread acclaim; and his appearance on SNL probably helped a bit, too.

But the news of Mr. Zuckerberg's fundraiser is important for a few other reasons.

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Damn You, Congress for Making Gov. Christie Look Utterly Logical and Completely Admirable

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First and foremost, screw Congress for delaying its vote on the proposed Hurricane Sandy relief bill. Secondly, and far from foremost, screw Congress for continuing to make New Jersey Governor Chris Christie universally admirable.

Past love or disdain for Christie aside, the governor has displayed guts and bold leadership in the aftermath of Sandy. Most politicians are going to say the right things in the wake of a difficult tragedy, but most wouldn't throw political allegiances and grievances on the back burner in the manner that Christie has.

"Last night, my party was responsible for this," Christie said at a news conference earlier this afternoon. "This used to be something that was not political. Disaster relief was something that you didn't play games with, but now in this current atmosphere everything is the subject of one-upmanship. Everything is a possibility, a potential piece of bait for the political game."

Sounds like it would be a no-brainer decision for politicians to put the interests of hundreds of thousands of people devastated by a hurricane before partisan politics. But that wasn't the case for the House Republicans who delayed last night's anticipated vote on a $60 billion Sandy relief package.

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Let's Stop Caring About A President's Weight, Please

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Yesterday, Barbara Walters sat down with Governor Chris Christie for a live broadcast interview. For his dedication to New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy and the non-partisan, budding friendship with President Obama, the famous newswoman made room for the Governor on her 'The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2012' list. 

She asked him about his thoughts on Romney's loss, his thoughts on the Atlantic City Mayor who told his citizens to stay put before Sandy and, of course, what he thought about the health implications of his weight with voters.

"That's ridiculous. I don't know what the basis is for that," Mr. Christie said. "I think people watched me doing 18-hour days and getting right back up the next day and still being as effective in the job. So I don't really think that would be a problem."

Walters advanced the subject with dieting questions. And Mr. Christie had to tell her that he's successfully and unsuccessfully tried them numerous times and currently on one now. But, still, the Governor makes a great point: weight is not a problem for voters.

So can we stop worrying so much about it?
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Gov. Chris Christie to Run for Re-Election in New Jersey

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If Saturday Night Live is any validation, the most revered public figure to come out of this Hurricane Sandy catastrophe is none other than New Jersey governor Chris Christie. The man was calling out incompatible mayors, lambasting accusations of political treason, surveying his state with daily press conference updates, and, throughout all, rocking the hell out of his governor sweater. 

Since this storm, his popularity in the state has skyrocketed, with many of those on the opposite side of the aisle praising the governor for putting politics aside to lend a helping hand with President Obama. So it makes complete sense why, yesterday, it was reported that the governor has filed his papers for re-election in the statewide polls next year. With those in hand, the governor will be able to fundraise, set up shop for campaigning, and hire a team of electioneers. 

But the real question now is: Who the hell is he going to run against?


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