Christie compares bridge scandal emails to getting 'hit across the forehead with a 2x4'

Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), in his first personal interview since the eruption of several scandals that threaten to derail a potential White House campaign, said he was devastated by emails linking some of his closest aides to an allegedly politically motivated closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge.

“[It was] completely disorienting, like I got hit across the forehead with a 2x4,” Christie told Yahoo News's Matt Bai. He said the recent media pressure brought on by the scandal was similarly challenging.

ADVERTISEMENT
“I don't think anybody knows what it feels like to have the kind of attention that I've had in the last nine days until you go through it,” he said. “It's awful. I can explain to you as vividly as you like, but you won't get it.”

Christie remained adamant, however, that he would get to the bottom of the scandal and become a better governor from the experience.

“I will learn things from this,” he said. “I don't know exactly what it is yet that I'll learn from it. But when I get the whole story and really try to understand what's going on here, I know I'm going to learn things.”

Despite this vow, Christie said one thing unlikely to change was his blunt public persona that has, coupled with recent scandals, driven suggestions Christie is a bully.

“I'm not growing a new personality at 51 ... this is it. I like who I am.”

When the conversation turned to possible presidential ambition, Christie said he felt “readier” to be president than he did in 2011, “if that's a word.” He also said he suspected the GOP's 2016 nominee would be a governor.

Christie also claimed he wasn't upset about a recent parody of the scandal created by singer Bruce Springsteen and comedian Jimmy Fallon using the former's hit “Born to Run.” Christie is known for being a huge fan of Springsteen's music. Christie said that his son had cheered him up by pointing out, “It's actually kind of cool to have Bruce saying your name.”