Traffic Jammed

FORT LEE, NJ - DECEMBER 17: Traffic moves over the Hudson River and across the George Washington Bridge between New York City (R), and in Fort Lee, New Jersey on December 17, 2013. New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie has had to fend off allegations in a scandal involving the bridge. In September, two of Christie's top appointees at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey ordered the lanes on the bridge shut to traffic, causing days of gridlock in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Some Democrats have said that the move was political revenge against the town's mayor, Democrat Mark Sokolich, for not endorsing Christie for reelection.
National Journal
Alex Roarty
See more stories about...
Alex Roarty
Jan. 9, 2014, 6:55 a.m.

Chris Christie‘s pres­id­en­tial am­bi­tions didn’t end this week. But the New Jer­sey gov­ernor has stumbled in­to the kind of scan­dal Re­pub­lic­ans have tried in vain to hang around the neck of his fel­low White House front-run­ner, Hil­lary Clin­ton. The former sec­ret­ary of State emerged from the Benghazi con­tro­versy re­l­at­ively un­scathed after Re­pub­lic­ans failed to dir­ectly im­plic­ate her in the death of four Amer­ic­ans at the North Afric­an out­post. The same can­not be said of Christie, who must an­swer for the vin­dict­ive ac­tions of his staff even if he wasn’t per­son­ally in­volved in last Septem­ber’s clos­ure of two traffic lanes on the George Wash­ing­ton Bridge. There’s no doubt this scan­dal is the first real tar­nish on his cam­paign.

— Demo­crats are seiz­ing the mo­ment. Their ef­forts to define Christie’s dur­ing last year’s reelec­tion bid were in­ef­fec­tu­al — after all, it’s hard to knock a Re­pub­lic­an when he’s on his way to a 20-point vic­tory in a deep-blue state. Now they have a ware­house of am­muni­tion to use. “What they’re do­ing now in 2014 is mak­ing up for lost time,” said one GOP seni­or strategist. “And they’re doub­ling their ef­forts.”

— After four years of us­ing his prox­im­ity to New York as an ad­vant­age, the gov­ernor is also dis­cov­er­ing the down­side of run­ning a state (par­tially) in the coun­try’s largest me­dia mar­ket. This would re­gister as a big story any­where, es­pe­cially if the man at the cen­ter of it was a lead­ing pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate. But that the traffic jam happened next to New York has raised the out­cry’s decibel level, and pushed cable net­works the give the story wall-to-wall cov­er­age.

— In­flu­en­tial Re­pub­lic­ans, who have glee­fully lined up be­hind the Jer­sey gov­ernor’s loom­ing pres­id­en­tial cam­paign, will watch closely how he handles him­self the next few days. His press con­fer­ence Thursday, in which he said the scan­dal had “em­bar­rassed and hu­mi­li­ated” him, ap­peared to be a good first step. Not to men­tion the swift fir­ing of former deputy chief of staff Brid­get Kelly and the ver­it­able ex­com­mu­nic­a­tion of former cam­paign man­ager Bill Step­i­en.

So far, most party eld­ers are stand­ing by the gov­ernor. But on a na­tion­al stage, the first real dam­age to Christie has been done.

What We're Following See More »
Hillary Clinton Accepts the Democratic Nomination for President
5 hours ago

"It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president," said Hillary Clinton in becoming the first woman to accept a nomination for president from a major party. Clinton gave a wide-ranging address, both criticizing Donald Trump and speaking of what she has done in the past and hopes to do in the future. "He's taken the Republican party a long way, from morning in America to midnight in America," Clinton said of Trump. However, most of her speech focused instead on the work she has done and the work she hopes to do as president. "I will be a president of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving, the successful," she said. "For those who vote for me and for those who don't. For all Americans together."

Protesters Make Good on Threat to Disrupt Speech
5 hours ago

Supporters of Bernie Sanders promised to walk out, turn their backs, or disrupt Hillary Clinton's speech tonight, and they made good immediately, with an outburst almost as soon as Clinton began her speech. But her supporters, armed with a handy counter-chant cheat sheet distributed by the campaign, immediately began drowning them out with chants of "Hillary, Hillary!"

New Survey Shows Clinton Up 9 in Pennsylvania
13 hours ago

If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."

Democrats Beat Republicans in Convention Ratings So Far
14 hours ago

Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."

Catholics, Highly Educated Moving Toward Dems
18 hours ago

Catholics who attend mass at least weekly have increased their support of the Democratic nominee by 22 points, relative to 2012, when devout Catholics backed Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, a Morning Consult poll shows that those voters with advanced degrees prefer Hillary Clinton, 51%-34%. Which, we suppose, makes the ideal Clinton voter a Catholic with a PhD in divinity.