Can Chris Christie Survive 'Bridgegate' Scandal?

The New Jersey governor is considered a Republican frontrunner for the 2016 presidential election.
3:00 | 01/10/14

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Transcript for Can Chris Christie Survive 'Bridgegate' Scandal?
We're going to take you inside the scandal of governor chris christie. Today, we witnessed an extraordinary scene. The famously brash christie repeatedly begging forgiveness in one of the most unusual and prolonged news conferences any of us can remember. ♪ Well we made a promise ♪ there are three boss in state of new jersey -- bruce springst springsteen, tony soprano -- maybe the folks in washington, d.C. Should tune their tvs in. -- And governor chris christie. He's enormously popular. He's considered the front run fer the presidential nominee in 2016 and he became a national political star because of his tell it like it is take no prisoner brashness. You know, some may go down tonight, but it ain't going to be jobs, sweetheart. Going to get thrown in jail, idiot. I'm governor, could you just shut up for a second. He built his reputation not only on tough talk, but also on representing a fresh alternative to the old corrupt style of new jersey politics as dramatized in "the sopranos" and "american hustle." Should always take a favor over money. But tonight, chris christie is embroiled in a scandal so potentially damaging that it forced him to launch an extraordinary day-long contrition mission. I am embarrassed is and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team. This scandal has its roots in, of all thing, a traffic jam. An epic traffic jam this past september. An agency controlled by the governor reduced the number of toll lanes on the george washington bridge, the busiest bridge in the world. That provoked paralysis, adding hours to the commute for millions of people, including police officers and ambulances. Quickly, the questions came. Was this all an act of political retaliation? After all, the mayor of ft. Lee, home of the bridge, a democrat named mark sokolich had recently refused to support christie in his re-election campaign against democratic state senator barbara buono. Governor christie responded to questions about a possible political vendetta by mocking reporters. I actually was the guy working the cones out there. You really are not serious with that question. But then yesterday, a bombshell. The release of a wae of e-mails and texts in august shortly after the mayor refused to support christie, the governor's deputy chief of staff, bridgette kelly sent a note to a transportation official named david wildstein saying, time for traffic problems in ft. Lee. He responded got it. A month later, the lanes were closed. Frank sokolich called somebody in wildstein's office regarding a urgent matter of public importance. Did you call him back? Radio silence. Is it wrong that I'm smiling wrote one unidentified staffer. I feel badly about the kids, i guess, relied in another. To which david wildstein responded, they're the children of buono voter. And so today in response, the governor came out and held what may have been one of the longest and most bizarre press conferences in modern american politics. All of the people who were affected by this conduct deserve this apology and that's why I'm giving it to them. He said he was blind sided by the revrevelation, that he knew nothing about the scheme to cause the gridlock and he fired bridgette kelly. Major -- the mayor was never on my radar screen. I wouldn't have been able to pick him out of a lineup. Even as tchristie was talking, the mayor of ft. Lee said he would rather not receive the governor today. He certainly would not be shunned but if ft. Lee has built up enough capital at this point to be granted one request, we would ask that this visit come once this investigation is either over or all of the material facts have surfaced. But apologies may not be enough here. Day, david wildstein who resigned several weeks ago as this scandal was gathering steam refused to answer questions in front of a legislative committee. On the advice of my council, I respectfully assert my right to remain silent under the united states and new jersey constitutions. Democrats in trenton, the state capitol clearly see an opening. The governor has certainly conducted himself over the last four years as the worst combination of bully and boss. Today, democrats including christie's former opponent, senator barbara buono regaled us with story about the governor's alleged abusive behavior. She said one time after she publicly criticized him several years ago, she was never allowed to be in a meeting with him again, even though she was the senate majority leader. He said I was not invited ever. So after that one comment -- correct. -- You were not allowed at the meeting. Correct. It is not unusual. That's notten usual. He's very thin skinned. Reporter: Governor christie got up and said the following words, I am not a bully. In your experience? He is a bully. Simple as that. If you disagree with him, he's going to get you and going to stamp you out. And he's going to seek revenge. Reporter: Former governor, dick cody who's now a state senator said one time after he disagreed with the governor on a policy issue, christie lashed out, killing the funding for a program to help women suffering from post par tem depression, who cody had created in honor of his wife who had experienced the condition himself. 800,000 was removed from the budget and each year we've tried to restore it. He wouldn't allow it. How do you know he wasn't just doing budget cutting because he thought this was -- this a wasn't budget cutting. That was sending a message. I'm the blosz. Boss. Reporter: Christie fans watching this interview may say this is just sour grapes. You're no longer in power, you're in the opposite party, you ear just taking advantage of the situation to nail him. Absolutely not. Not in any way, shape or form. I love being governor. And I'm embarrassed that a governor would conduct himself that way. I will always respect that office and anybody that holds it. Reporter: The questions about the governor aren't just coming from democrats. In a recent best selling book "double down" the authors claim mitt romney's team was very troubled by video of chris christie arguing with hecklers on the jersey shore as seen in this clip from tmz. A video of chris christie on a new jersey boardwalk get into a confrontation with one of his swepts, a shouting match in which the constituent finally has had enough and walks away. And christie would leat go. He chases this constituent down the boardwalk, brandishing an ice cream cone as if it were a weapon. Reporter: Tonight, this question. Can chris christie survive this scandal? There is definitely the po tintial for more damaging revelations as the state legislature and now the u.S. Attorney each investigate the matter. In the absence of any new facts, this is a survivalable thing for him. You think about the kinds of scandals that bill clinton overcame, george w. Bush had a dui. Barack obama survived reverend wright. Big politicians have survived scandals much bigger than this. Reporter: In the end, it may be dangerous to underestimate chris christie. Late today, he emerged from a 30 minute meeting with the mayor of ft. Lee, claiming to feel better having apologized in person. And he was greeted by shouts of support and even signed a few autographs. However, the unpleasant

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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