By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent
Scandal dogged the governor, even at a Super Bowl event Saturday in New York. The crowd booed Chris Christie.
Photos of him this weekend showed him looking alone and beleaguered. Later that day, the governor’s office launched a counter attack — an email to supporters trying to discredit David Wildstein, calling him “a political animal,” a “very contentious person,” someone who engaged in “deceptive behavior” in high school.
A few critics called the statement itself juvenile.
Carl Golden was press secretary to two Republican governors — Tom Kean and Christine Todd Whitman.
“The attempt to portray David Wildstein as just sort of ungrateful psychotic, it’s the same ungrateful psychotic that was appointed to a $150,000 job at the Port Authority to be the governor’s eyes and ears there. And the same ungrateful, untrustworthy psychotic who was praised rather effusively by the governor’s office when he left,” Golden said.
Two national Republicans sprang to his defense on the Sunday morning talk shows.
“The governor has denied it. So far there’s no evidence to suggest that he’s not telling the truth. I think the governor knows the consequences. If he’s lying, it’s a really bad situation. If he’s not lying, then something very unfair is being done to him,” said former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“I consider Chris Christie a friend. I think he’s been a fantastic governor. Right now all we know is one person’s word against another’s. You can’t base any conclusions on such a thing,” said Paul Ryan.
But where are state Republicans?
“I was struck by the absence of Republican state senators, for example who’ve been very supportive of the governor in the past, or Republican members of the Assembly, have not been very visible in defending the governor,” said Golden.
Politico reports that the governor will speak at the Conservative Political Action Committee meeting next month, an event he was not invited to last year.
A Christie aide named in an email, Christina Renna, quit her job Friday.
Her subpoenaed documents and those of 17 others are due today, but most have asked for extensions.
And the attorney sitting with Bill Baroni the day of his testimony in Trenton is Port Authority attorney Philip Kwon, a failed Christie nominee to the state Supreme Court.
The AP says it was Kwon who prepared Baroni for that testimony over the course of five days — testimony some now believe was intentionally misleading.