The title on this YouTube video is "FULL- Chris Christie 'Embarrassed and Humiliated,' Fires Aide, Apologizes for Traffic Jam Scandal."
But it's not the "FULL" video. It's not the "FULL" video at all. In fact, Christie took questions for so long that the press conference lasted nearly TWO HOURS. He took a question about the woman who might have died due to the traffic jams that Christie's office demanded:
“It’s awful…now I’ve also seen conflicting reports of cause of death or whatever, but it doesn’t matter. It’s awful to hear,” Christie said. “Listen, all I can do is apologize for the conduct of the people who worked for me. I can’t do anything else. I can’t reverse time. If I could, believe me, I would. But i’m just going to apologize. I think that’s all you can do, and there’s really nothing else you can do.”
Christie also said he had "two sleepless nights" after learning about the scandal yesterday morning. He announced his intention to visit Ft. Lee, the town that Christie was punishing for its mayor's refusal to endorse him for re-election, later on today. (The mayor of Ft. Lee said thanks but no thanks to that offer.) He talked and talked and talked.
I think what Christie was trying to do here was to seem approachable and transparent by addressing the traffic scandal head-on. But he instead looked desperate and clueless. Christie seems to have a tendency to choke under pressure—his RNC keynote speech was similarly long, aimless, and off-key. By dragging the press conference on for as long as he did, by repeatedly talking about his own sadness, he allowed himself to become a hapless punchline, repeating again and again that he didn't know what was happening under him.
Christie said he didn't know anything about traffic studies. He said he was blindsided by his own staff's decision to block the bridge. He repeated that he has some 65,000 employees under him, and he implied that he can't be held responsible for their actions. This is hardly presidential behavior. It's going to take a lot of effort for Christie to regain the commanding presence he showed off when his state was pounded with a hurricane in late 2012. This press conference was not the way for him to start down that road.
And maybe the best summation of the press conference comes in the form of a Vine, which distills two hours of botched political theater into six seconds of hilarious truth:
Chris Christie is on one helluva emotional loller coaster today. https://t.co/hJcOYFrI3L— Dorsey Shaw (@dorseyshaw) January 9, 2014