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Posted on on January 11th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (



Rachel Maddow, Chris Christie. (photo: Chris Pizzello/Josh Reynolds/AP)
Rachel Maddow, Chris Christie. (photo: Chris Pizzello/Josh Reynolds/AP)


ome very good investigative broadcast journalism from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday night.


On Thursday morning, New Jersey governor and, until now, Republican presidential favorite Chris Christie gave a two-hour press conference (full transcript here) in which he expressed being “stunned” and “blindsided” Wednesday morning by the blockbuster revelations published that day by Shawn Boburg of the Bergen Record.


The paper’s report included email and text messages [PDF] between Christie’s deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly and a number of other top appointees conspiring to shut down lanes of the George Washington Bridge leading out of Fort Lee, N.J., on the first day of school last September. The messages reveal the staffers appearing to enjoying the pain the shutdown was causing the town, joking about the inconvenience to the local children of voters of Christie’s gubernatorial opponent in last November’s election, and otherwise agreeing not to respond to queries from town officials about the closures.



Rachel Maddow: There Was Another Target of Bridge-Gate.


By Brad Friedman, Salon


10 January 14


Maddow, noticing that Kelly’s “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email was sent to Christie’s Port Authority appointee David Wildstein on Aug. 13, 7:34 a.m., wondered what else happened around that time in N.J. that might have spurred Kelly to order the lane closures on the world’s busiest bridge first thing in the morning that day?


Here’s Maddow’s report, finding that the evening before, Christie had unloaded on Democrats in a particularly angry press conference concerning the renomination battle of a N.J. Supreme Court judge, a battle that had been several years in the making. The woman who headed the state Senate committee causing embarrassment for Christie at the time was N.J.’s state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D), who happens to represent … you guessed it … Fort Lee …


The points raised by Maddow are certain to raise many more questions about this entire fine mess, as if there aren’t enough already. But, for now, we’ll leave those for another day.


After offering her alternative theory, explained above, Maddow interviewed Weinberg about them. Here’s that interview …


I don’t claim to be an expert on the man. But, to be frank – having spent a fair amount of time studying Christie in advance of my 2011 exclusive revealing the secret audiotapes of the secret Koch brothers’ summit where Christie was the super-secret keynote speaker – while he can certainly be thuggish, a blowhard, and somewhat of a bully when he likes, retribution against a Democratic mayor for declining to endorse him in a landslide election seems a bit overboard, even for Christie.


On the other hand, retaliating against the state’s Democratic Senate Majority Leader, who he likely saw as causing him no small amount of embarrassment in the NJ Supreme Court matter, does seem more in keeping with his style. Even if he didn’t know about it (which is seeming less likely by the hour), his staff surely shared the same frustrations with Senate Democrats that Christie would have (even as he often expertly played Democrats in the state legislature like a fiddle.)

Weinberg, for that matter, led the charge in the state Senate after the Secret Koch Tapes story, to pass legislation that would keep Christie from secretly leaving the state again in the future, as he had when he appeared at the Koch Summit in Colorado.


Maddow’s alternative theory is smart, good reporting, might make more “sense” out of this entire matter, and is certainly worthy of further inquiry.

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