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January 09, 2014 11:54 AM Christie’s Not-So-Sweeping Thursday Morning Massacre

By Ed Kilgore

So Chris Christie got through his initial “Bridgegate” presser still protesting his innocence and ignorance, but apologizing, and most significantly, firing his deputy chief of staff for “lying to me” about her involvement. He did not address the underlying allegations of political skullduggery in any great detail, but presumably hopes the whole thing will go away as the designated scapegoat goes over the cliff.

I don’t think it’s going to work, and Christie didn’t exactly help bury the whole matter by complaining he’s gotten “very little sleep the last two nights.” As Josh Marshall (and others) quickly noted, that doesn’t exactly square with his claim that he found out about the whole mess yesterday just like the rest of us.

As Christie should have learned from the history of political scandals, partial disclosures and apparent scapegoating are not very effective ways to clear one’s name. If it turns out he’s lying about his knowledge of his staff’s misdoings, what is now an embarrassing event that he’ll have to struggle to overcome could turn lethal.

UPDATE: Turns out I wrote too soon; Christie’s presser is apparently still going on, and he’s been rambling on about his allegedly limited relationship with the top staffers involved. Virtually everyone thinks he should have wrapped it up a long time ago.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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