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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Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”
Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.
Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.
Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”