Christie: Bridge scandal won't affect 2016

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said he’s confident that the George Washington Bridge scandal won’t matter to voters if he runs for president in 2016.

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“The fact of the matter is that I had nothing to do with this, as I said from the beginning, and this report has supported exactly what I said. And in the long sweep of things, any voters, if they consider this issue at all, in considering my candidacy — if there ever is one at all — I’ve got a feeling it’ll be a small element of it, if any element at all,” he said Friday, referring to an internal review his office released the day before.

He addressed reporters at his first press conference since the two-hour one he held on Jan. 9 to address emerging emails and texts that tied his administration to lane closures on the bridge. The ensuing traffic jam appeared to be an act of political retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., who didn't endorse Christie for reelection in 2013.

While several top members of Christie's administration have already been fired or resigned in the wake of the scandal, he announced Friday that David Samson, a Christie mentor and the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, had tendered his resignation. 

Christie touted the results of his administration's investigation, which absolved him of responsibility for the lane closures. And he repeated his declaration that the scandal will have no bearing on his decision to run in 2016.

“In terms of my decision-making, it’s simply not the way I would make a decision,” he said.

Instead, he’ll ask himself whether a run is best for his family, and whether he has “something unique and particular to offer” to the presidency. If the answer to both those questions is yes, he said, he’ll run.

Christie admitted, however, the scandal has taken a toll on his popularity, telling a reporter “yeah, sure,” when asked about his falling poll numbers.

“But there’s nothing that’s permanent about that,” he added.