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NJ Governor Chris Christie was
in trouble this week. Legislators in
New Jersey were grilling him about his involvement with an appointee’s decision
to shut access lanes to the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, allegedly
as political retribution against that city’s mayor, leading to a massive
The Governor’s testimony went well, with Christie begging
ignorance of his long-time friend and top aide Bill Baroni’s decision. ( Baroni
has since resigned even as Christie said he was planning to replace him.)
Then came the press conference.
As New Jersey Public Radio’s Matt Katz tells it, the
Q&A went on for over an hour! Katz
told sister station WNYC that he alone was able to ask four questions and the
press conference only ended because reporters ran out of questions.
Katz says that Christie has done this before when in a
crisis… after taking a state helicopter to his son’s baseball game, after
unannounced lap-band surgery. But the
strategy is intriguing: appear so open,
so willing to answer questions and with nothing to hide that nobody can accuse
him of being unresponsive.
And Katz says the media in attendance were so overwhelmed
with sound-bites that each could write three or four different leads. There was no “killer cut”. Everybody came away with a different angle.
Bottom Line: Rather
than run from the press, Christie put it in a bear hug.