NJ Gov Christie booed at Super Bowl event
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was greeted with audible boos and a few loud cheers during a Super Bowl-related appearance in New York City, a day after a former appointee said the popular Republican knew about politically motivated lane closures near a busy commuter bridge.
The incident cast a cloud over Christie at what could have been a moment of triumph for man considered a leading candidate for his party's nomination to run for president in 2016. The Super Bowl will be played tomorrow in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
At a ceremony marking the hand off of Super Bowl hosting duties, Christie appeared in New York's Times Square with NFL officials and political leaders from New York and Arizona, which will host next year's game.
Christie's introduction was met with a chorus of audible boos and chants of support from the thousands of people gathered in the area for a Super Bowl street fair.
He did not mention the scandal during brief 30 second remarks in which he thanked the NFL and his New York counterpart and Super Bowl co-host, Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The negative public sentiment was unusual for Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association who coasted to re-election as governor in November with 60 percent of the vote.
But in the weeks since starting his second term, Christie has been dogged by scandal since it emerged last month that some of his aides and appointees orchestrated traffic jams around the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey. State and federal investigations have been launched into the lane closures in September, which came after the town's Democratic mayor declined to endorse the governor's re-election bid.
Christie has adamantly denied any knowledge of the lane closures and cut ties with two of his top advisers for their apparent role in the scheme.
David Wildstein, a long-time Christie acquaintance and one of his appointees at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which managed the bridge, resigned from his post after it emerged he oversaw the closures.
Local newspapers said the governor's political career could be doomed if it was proven he knew in advance of the four days of lane closures that caused massive delays for commuters, ambulances and school buses.
The New York Daily News said in an editorial that Christie now "stands on the brink of ruin" if he cannot defend himself against the latest claims.
"In that event, Christie's governorship is over and he should prepare to face a federal criminal probe as a private citizen. Resignation would be a must. Otherwise, impeachment would be a snap," it said.
A bipartisan committee of state lawmakers is investigating the episode, as is the office of Paul Fishman, the US Attorney for New Jersey.