In case you missed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s nearly two-hour long press conference Thursday, or didn’t quite make it through the marathon talk-session, it can be boiled down to two words — “know” and “people.”
A word map analysis conducted by ABC News, based on a transcript of the event that contained over 19,000 words, shows that the word “know” was the word most often used during Christie’s public apology for revelations that implicated his top aides in a political revenge plot. The runner-up was the word “people,” which was used in just over 100 instances.
“Know,” and its variations, came in handy for Christie, who described his lack of knowledge of the plot, which emails show involved some of his senior staff members planning a four-day traffic jam in September at the George Washington Bridge as political retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich.
“I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or it execution, and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here,” Christie said.
He added, “I have 65,000 people working for me every day. And I cannot know what each one of them is doing at every minute. But that doesn’t matter; I’m ultimately responsible for what they do.”
Christie’s use of the word “people” referred mostly to two different groups — the people of New Jersey and Fort Lee, and the people involved in the bridge scandal.
“I come out here to this office, where I’ve been many times before, and I’ve come out here today to apologize to the people of New Jersey. I apologize to the people of Fort Lee and I apologize to the members of the state legislature,” Christie said in his opening line on Thursday.
“The political overtones that were exhibited in those documents released yesterday and the conduct by those people is not acceptable,” Christie said later in the press conference, referring to members of his staff involved in the scandal.
During his first term as governor, Christie held regular press conferences and Q&A events, gaining a reputation nationally for his take-no-prisoners style when dealing with the press — and the public. But his press conference Thursday will go down as the most critically analyzed and heavily scrutinized event of his political career thus far.
Two other words stick out: “Apologize,” which he used 24 times, and “sad,” used by the governor 16 times.
“Listen, all I can do is apologize for the conduct of people who worked for me. I can’t do anything else. I can’t reverse time. If I could, believe me, I would, but I’m just going to apologize,” Christie said in response to a reporter’s question about reports of an elderly woman who died as a result of the traffic jam.
“I’m sad. I’m sad. That’s the predominant emotion I feel right now is sadness – sadness that I was betrayed by a member of my staff, sadness that I had people who I entrusted with important jobs who acted completely inappropriately, sad that that’s led the people of New Jersey to have less confidence in the people that I’ve selected,” Christie said. “The emotion that I’ve been displaying in private is sad.”