New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is already feeling confident about his chances in at least one presidential battleground: Iowa.
Despite the potential political damage he suffered from the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, Christie told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview today that voters — even presidential primary voters — still love his brash style.
“I think they love me in Iowa too,” Christie said in the interview, which aired on World News with Diane Sawyer tonight. “I’ve been there a lot. I think love me there too, especially because of the way I am.”
“Not in spite of, especially because,” Christie added.
The public criticism, multiple investigations into the bridge scandal, and questions they have raised about his leadership style haven’t changed his personality, Christie said.
“I am who I am,” he added. “At core, I am a passionate, loving, caring, direct, truth teller. And for some people, they love it.”
Christie said that he hasn’t made a decision about 2016 yet, and he won’t until next year. But he’s confident that the headwinds that he has faced as a result of the bridge controversy will only make him a stronger leader.
“I don’t intend to make a discussion about 2016 until a year from now,” Christie said. “But it won’t have anything to do with what has happened in the past 10 weeks.”
“What has happened in last 10 weeks, I think will ultimately make me a better leader, whether it’s governor of New Jersey or any other job I might take in the public or private sector,” he said.
Christie’s wife Mary Pat, who has largely remained out of the spotlight as controversy has swirled around her husband, concurred that the lingering political damage from the bridge scandal won’t prevent him from making a presidential run.
“Our place right now is in New Jersey and as far as the future…I think the future will take care of itself,” she said. “I certainly don’t think this precludes a future that may lead that way.”