Meet the Press   |  January 12, 2014

A Look Back: Dismissive Christie at December Press Conference

A Meet the Press panel looks back to the original press conference held by N.J. Gov. Chris Christie on initial allegations of political motivation behind the Fort Lee bridge shutdown.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> he does say when this thing comes out, when the e-mails come out, he says, mark halperin , everybody's got an hour to tell me whether we were involved. what he doesn't say, by his own admission, is tell me everything at every level. i'm a former u.s. attorney . i want everything on this thing. before i go out there.

>> that december press conference is in some ways more important than the press conference from last week because he was not only remarkly incurious at that time about what happened, he was dismissive of it. he tried telling reporters stop talking about it.

>> can we play a tape from that press conference? he is dismissive. he's making jokes.

>> i worked the cones. unbeknownst to everybody, i was the guy out there. i was in overalls and a hat, but i was actually the guy working the cones out there.

>> let's talk about the investigation. we don't know if there will be a federal investigation of any significance. we look at this legislative committee and think it's like the congressional committee with lots of subpoena power and depositions, a big staff. this is a very small operation basically being run by the assemblyman who heads the transportation committee. they've subpoenaed documents from the port authority side but not from the governor's side. the governor pledged in this week's press conference full cooperation. he said we want to get to the bottom of this. i think we're headed far new jersey constitutional crisis . very little precedence, maybe none, as i can tell so far, of trying to subpoena a governor. will he provide testimony? will his top ailds? will he exert executive privilege ? i think that will be a real moment of crisis for him not only in terms of governance but in terms of 2016 , because we've seen presidents have this problem. you say you want to cooperate fully, but when the subpoena comes and they say chris christie , we want everything you have. kim suggested he better be right. i have been stunned watching people on twitter, the "new york post," "the wall street journal ," owned by rupert murdoch , big supporters of christie, everyone says he's better be telling the truth. no one is taking him at his word, as best i can tell. even republicans who are huge supporters of him saying if he's telling the truth, he's fine. that is a striking situation.

>> so i think there's a part of this for me that is so interesting is understanding the dna of chris christie as a politician, as a leader. by the way, these were top aides. these were -- you pointed out in "first read" this is the equivalent of a david plouffe .

>> these are people that are very tight. in many ways bridget's running operationally parts of the state.

>> right. so to that point he's asked about what does it say about him during this press conference. and i want to show that response, because this is what sticks out to me.

>> what does it make me ask about me? it makes me ask about me what did i do wrong to have these folks think it was okay to lie to me. and there's a lot of soul searching that goes around with this.

>> can i take a step back? if he were not a potential presidential candidate, we didn't view him this way and this whole thing happened, we'd all say, well, that's jersey. that's the culture of jersey . jersey politics, there are a lot of fiefdoms. it's always been this way. so when we keep talking about culture and everybody says what's the culture that he set, honestly, and it's going to offend some people in new jersey in politics, but there has been a past, a culture of this, of, you know, you rule with an iron fist . sort of old-school politics.

>> yeah.

>> this is the way he ran things, too, and it's what everybody does in jersey.