Christie showed 'leadership,' Priebus says

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A nearly two-hour press conference dissecting the bridge scandal exonerated Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), according to the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Christie showed “leadership” by engaging in a lengthy Q&A with the media Thursday. The press conference came one day after documents revealed the partial closing of the George Washington Bridge was political retribution enacted by his top aides.

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“What you saw the other day was leadership … everyone is fallible,” said Priebus. “America’s a forgiving people, but they’re forgiving when you take ownership; you admit mistakes; you take corrective action. That’s what Chris Christie showed.”

Christie said Thursday he had no idea that his staff had enacted a plan to punish political opponents by grinding traffic to a halt on one of the world’s busiest bridges. When he learned of it, he fired or removed the close advisers involved, he added.

Priebus contended that Christie’s willingness to field questions from the press for hours stands in stark contrast to President Obama, who he maintained has refused to be similarly accountable for questions surrounding the attack in Benghazi, Libya, or the IRS targeting of conservative groups.

Dissections into those matters have yet to reveal evidence that the president himself was culpable for any wrongdoing, but Priebus has blasted the White House nonetheless by arguing the president created a culture that allowed such things to happen.

He insisted that the Christie matter was not comparable, and that Christie should not be blamed for creating a culture, given his willingness to publicly answer questions.

At the same time, Priebus declined to rank Christie among a slew of GOP hopefuls eyeing the 2016 presidential election.

“We’ve got a great bench. We’re a young, fresh party,” he said.