A new Quinnipiac University poll in New Jersey (Jan. 10-13; 1,207 RVs; +/- 2.8%) finds that 55% of New Jersey voters approve of the way Gov. Chris Christie (R) is handling his job, down from 68% last July. When asked if Christie is honest and trustworthy, 51% said he was while 41% said he was not. Of those who were familiar with the bridge controversy, 41% said they think Christie was aware his aides were orchestrating the traffic jam in Fort Lee last September compared to 50 percent who said they believe his aides acted alone. (release)
CHRISTIE: STATE OF THE (OVERSHADOWED) STATE. “With the cloud of the George Washington Bridge lane-closure controversy still looming over him,” Christie “laid out a series of proposals in his State of the State address Tuesday as he worked to show the voters who overwhelmingly supported him last year that he’s not letting a scandal get in the way of his job.”
Christie only briefly addressed the scandal at the top of his 45-minute speech: “I am the governor, and I am ultimately responsible for all that happens on my watch - both good and bad… Without a doubt, we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure this breach of trust does not happen again.” (Bergen Record)
WALKER: DEFENDS CHRISTIE. Following a meeting at the White House with President Obama and other executive members of the National Governors Association Tuesday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) praised the way Christie has dealt with the bridge controversy. Walker: “He was completely transparent and gave the public a chance to hear what he understood and what he knew, took action on it — decisive action in terms of removing the people who had not been forthright with him. … And assuming everything stays as he’s announced, I don’t see that being a problem for him.” (USA Today)
BROWN: RULES OUT 2016 BID. California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) “said Tuesday that he will not run for president in 2016, dashing political speculation that he might make a fourth bid for the White House.” (Los Angeles Times)
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Natasha De Alencar, widow of Army Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, shared a video her daughter took of a phone call she received from President Trump following the death of her husband. "Trump opened by saying how sorry he is about the 'whole situation,' before adding that De Alencar’s husband was 'an unbelievable hero.' ... Later in the call, Trump invited De Alencar to the White House, telling her, 'If you’re around Washington, you come over and see me in the Oval Office.'"
"The new head of the World Health Organization has named Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a goodwill ambassador for the agency, a move that has startled public health experts...A number of organizations that attended the" Montevideo conference where the appointment was announced "said in a statement after the announcement that they could not recognize Mugabe as a WHO goodwill ambassador."
"The Senate approved the Republican-proposed budget Thursday night, a major step forward for the GOP effort to enact tax cuts. The budget, which now moves to the House, is projected to expand the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Its passage will allow the GOP to use a procedural maneuver to pass tax legislation through the Senate with 50 or more votes, removing the need for support from Democratic senators."