Giuliani likens bridge flap to IRS scandal

Greg Nash

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) compared New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) bridge scandal to the IRS controversy that engulfed the Obama administration last year. [WATCH VIDEO]

Giuliani, speaking on MSNBC, came to the defense of Christie, who fired a top aide on Thursday after emails linked the aide to the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge in an apparent act of retribution against a Democratic mayor who refused to endorse Christie.

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Giuliani praised Christie for taking reponsibility, than pivoted to a criticism of Obama.

“This was very, very refreshing,” Giuliani said of Christie’s press conference Thursday. “We have had a couple of years in Washington with a lot of situations with IRS thing, Benghazi. We have a president who runs away from press conferences like this. Never takes accountability. Never fires anybody. Here is a guy who acted like a chief executive.”

Christie fired his deputy chief of staff Thursday and apologized for the incident during the press conference, but said he had no prior knowledge of his staff’s involvement. Obama, similarly, expressed outrage over the IRS's targeting of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status, but said he did not know it was happening.

Giuliani said he could think of multiple times during his tenure where a staffer in his office stepped out of bounds. He also brought up the IRS scandal last year in which officials targeted Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status for more scrutiny. 

“How about the IRS scandal with President Obama,” he said. 

He added that the “President never knew about it. I believe that. The president probably didn’t want it. So sure it happens.”

Giuliani is one of the few Republicans who has mounted a strong defense of Christie. He said Christie’s blunt style has a tendency to create political enemies, but it often produces better results.  

“The reality is Governor Christie is very direct,” he said. “When you are very direct you accomplish a great deal. I think it is a much better way to be because people can know how to react to you. On the other hand you create probably a few more enemies than you do if you play the usual political game.”

Giuliani said other Republicans might be slow to defend Christie because they already have a favored candidate for 2016. 

“They all have different candidates that they are probably supporting two or three years from now,” he said. “I am not supporting anybody two or three years from now. It is too far away.”