A photo posted on the New Jersey governor's own website, taken at a news conference on Dec. 8, 2011, tells a different story. The photo shows Christie speaking on the issue of sick pay reform with several mayors, including Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, at the National Guard Armory in Teaneck, N.J.
At a mea culpa news conference on Thursday responding to revelations that his top aides purposely snarled traffic in Fort Lee, N.J., last year, Gov. Chris Christie took steps to distance himself from rumors that the entire incident had been an act of political revenge against the town's mayor for declining to endorse the governor for re-election.
Not only did Christie say that he never personally asked for such an endorsement from Sokolich, a Democrat, he added that "until I saw his picture last night on television, I wouldn't have been able to pick him out of a line-up.
"I don't remember ever meeting Mayor Sokolich," Christie said at Thursday's news conference. "Certainly, I never did in that context," he said, referring to the rumored request for an endorsement.
(Christie did seek to clarify: "I'm sure I met him at some point at an event in Bergen County.")
It was the quest for revenge on the part of Christie aides, including his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, that originally set in motion the traffic situation on the George Washington Bridge last September. Christie announced the firing of Kelly at the event on Thursday and declared himself "stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here."