'This Week': Chris Christie's Crisis

ABC's Jonathan Karl and crisis management expert Judy Smith on fallout over the New Jersey scandal.
3:00 | 01/12/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Chris Christie's Crisis
question, how will this impact chris christie's chances if he decides to run for president? He's one of the gop's biggest stars who grabbed the national spotlight not only with his blowout re-election win in a blue state, but with his incredibly unique style. Here's jonathan karl. Reporter: Chris christie is the most intriguing and colorful person in politics today. A hard-charging republican who loves bruce springsteen and picks fights with teachers unions. Telling people how it is -- get the hell off the beach and get out. Reporter: And occasionally telling off a constituent. Your rear end's going to get thrown in jail, idiot. Reporter: And on reporters -- stay on topic. Are you stupid? Reporter: It's a trademark. Something he jokes about. Stop saying things I already said. Okay. Reporter: When he went to the reagan library, they begged him to run for president. I really implore you as a citizen of this country, to please, sir, to reconsider. Go home and really think about it. Reporter: He was the keynote speaker at the republican convention. And yet, he's also barack obama's favorite republican. Who could forget when they played carnival games together on the jersey shore board walk? Christie was first asked about the george washington bridge allegations last month. His bombast was on display. I was the guy working the cones. You really are not serious with that question. Reporter: When the facts came out, a different christie. One we hadn't seen before. I am sad to report to the people of new jersey that we fell short. Reporter: Contrite for the most part, apologetic, avoiding the kind of indignant denial that has backfired in scandals ranging from bill clinton's -- I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Reporter: To lance armstrong. I have never dope ed. That's crazy. I would never do that. Reporter: And anthony weiner -- this is a twitter hoax. A prank that was done. I am a victim. Reporter: And while others avoided questions, christie two hours. And john joins us now, and also here to talk about how governor christie performed in the press conference and what he should do now, the super star crisis manager, the inspiration for olivia pope character on the hit show "scandal," judy smith. Welcome to you both. Thank you. The one word I've heard in the last couple of days, not the first day, is the word coverup. Nothing to show that chris christie did that, but lots of talk about staff and others doing that. How does it get beyond that? I think he did a good first step. The press conference, he did a great job. He set the message narrative at the top. He apologized, he took responsibility, he made some swift actions. And I like the fact he was able to make sure that he apologized to the mayor and he did all of those things in one day. Now what he does is he focuses on governing. He was very strong in pointing out during the press conference, I think, that this is not the way that he governs. This is an isolated incident. So constituents, please, judge me on the totality of the circumstances. John karl, you're watching this, you have covered a lot of scandals, and some of them haven't gone so well in the end. So you look at this, listen to what judy says, what's your take? First of all, we have had scandals that are more salacious. We have people using state power to enrich themselves, enrich their friends. It's the first time I've covered a scandal with the use of state power to make people miserable. That's what I was trying -- and comes down to the underlying facts. Right? This was a masterful performance at the press conference, but if there's anything that ties christie to this decision or shows he knew about it early, we heard from rudy giuliani himself that he's done if he knew about. I want to go to who he is, the man he is and the bully image. Play something from the press conference. We'll get your reaction. Okay. This reveals you're a political bully, that your style is payback. Are you? I am who I am, but I am not a bully. Not a bully. Now you can call it aggressive, you can call it assertive, people clearly have liked that in the past. So -- but does -- is it an asset and now becomes a liability? I think it's an asset. The reason why I say -- first of all in the particular clip, I would have not used the word bully. It was repeating the negative and felt too on the nose for me. I do think that his reputation is based on that straight-shooter, speak what I'm thinking, tell it what I feel. And those things have helped him. I think in particular in crisis situations where you are trying to bounce back, and as we talked about earlier, moving beyond the crisis, the thing that really helps is whether you have good will and a reputation. And I think with him, those two things are going to be helpful to him in trying to push past that. Because he does have a reputation of integrity and honesty. But you never repeat the negative. No, you don't. I am not a witch. That's exactly right. I didn't kill my wife, I didn't beat my wife. And the next day you saw a lot of the headlines say I am not a bully. Over and over again. No, absolutely. So both of you, quickly, where will this be in six months and how would you say he should handle this in six months? Stop answering questions in six months and hope this goes away? I think he should stop answering questions. We have to see what the investigation reveals. And he has to move past it. As long as there's nothing that contradicts what he said in the press conference. Hopefully there's no -- six months? The underlying facts are more important than the communication strategy. Did he know? The big question I have, what about bridget anne kelly, the staffer he threw under the bus. He called her an idiot, stupid. He's going to talk. What will she say? Ask your advice. The one thing I will say, the thing so different about the scandal is its traffic. What people don't think about their commute every single day. It's different in -- I had sex with another woman. We care about how long it takes us to get to work. Should she talk, not talk if she's your client? She's going to have to talk at some point. And chris christie is not your client. He's not. Thanks to you both.

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

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