High Above the Hudson River, nestled in the lush greenery of Fort Lee Historic Park, the grand George Washington Bridge serving as the backdrop, the Democratic National Committee celebrated the one year anniversary of the scandal known as Bridgegate…Or at least I think they did.
The problem with holding a press conference directly above the GWB—the busiest such a structure in the world, as the DNC likes to point out—is that there are lots of cars, trucks, and buses—and these things make a great deal of noise. As one reporter observed, the only way attendees could have heard less would have been if the event had been held in a trash compactor. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was probably only talking about Governor Chris Christie, though she could have been riffing on UFOs or John McCain for all I know.
What could be heard from Schultz and the other headliners, Democratic Assemblywoman and Congressional candidate Bonnie Watson Coleman and Democratic State Committee Chair John Currie, was a predictable collection of anti-Christie talking points.
The lane closures on the bridge last September were seemingly done to exact political retribution, Shultz and company said. This would make sense, of course, since Christie is known as a bully and he clearly created the kind of environment in his administration that his staffers would think doing something like that would go over fine with The Boss. But also: “we know very little about what happened.” And it is suspicious, according to Schultz, that Christie is not making it a priority to get to the bottom of the matter.
Coleman served briefly on the joint legislative committee investigating Bridgegate (which has uncovered nothing incriminating for Christie), but stepped down after she called on Christie to resign from office. Projecting her voice over the noise of the traffic, she said, “I stand by that call today.” Asked by The Wall Street Journal’s Heather Haddon whether or not the DNC was echoing the call for Christie’s resignation, Schultz clumsily deflected.
Coleman said during her month on the committee, she found out “first hand” that Christie was trying “to stonewall” the release of information and “hide the truth.” Christie, for his part, did commission an internal investigation of his administration—which, being carried out by his attorney, unsurprisingly discovered that he did nothing wrong. Currie took issue with Christie’s probe of Christie, calling it a “feeble” attempt to exonerate himself, and decrying the “$6.5 million” cost of his legal bills, paid for by taxpayers.
Schultz repeatedly hit Christie for “ignoring his constituents” and the economic problems in his state. Sort of the wrong day for that message to stick: Monday afternoon, Christie will appear at a summit in Atlantic City, to discuss how to improve the region’s collapsing economy.
As the trio of Democrats tried to make their voices heard over the traffic, a large bird—I think a falcon, though it could have been a hawk; I’m not an ornithologist—swooped overhead and cawed loudly, for a brief moment drowning out the already muffled speakers. Update: Ian Sams, a spokesman for the DNC, has informed me that the airbone creature was, a Cliff Hawk.
Schultz claimed she did not travel all the way from Florida (and the DNC staff from Washington) because they view Christie as a threat to Democrats, but because they care about the people of New Jersey. Michael Czin, a DNC spokesman, added that he took the train from D.C., because, it’s the “best way to avoid unanticipated traffic jams.” Caw caw.