Transcript for Gov. Christie Apologizes for Traffic Snarl on George Washington Bridge
As one of the country's most colorful political leaders makes an apology tour in the middle of a firestorm. Governor chris christie, already considered a leading contender in the next presidential race, said, today, he is humiliated, that someone on his staff apparently decided to create an epic traffic jam just to play politics. So, he traveled to the scene of the snarl to face the music. And here's abc's white house correspondent, jim avila. Reporter: A political walk of shame on what he called his worst day as governor. Chris christie has made a national reputation for bold, often heated, aggressive politics. Today, stepped back and meekly visited ft. Lee, new jersey, to ask for forgiveness and tell the mayor he's sorry. I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team. Reporter: Gone are christie's deputy chief of staff, bridget anne kelly, and his political guru, bill stepien. She was doomed by the release of this e-mail. Time for some traffic problems in ft. Lee, came after ft. Lee's mayor opposed christie. Commuters tried to cross the george washington bridge to manhattan. Choked at a 12-booth toll place after christie's aides and allies shut down two of the only three toll booths, serving cars leaving from ft. Lee. Backing up streets and creating city-wide gridlock. Crippling emergency response. I had no involvement in its issue, its planning or its execution. And I am stunned by the abject stupidity. I'm not happy I was blind sided. I'm not proud I was blind sided. Reporter: It went on and on like that. Mea culpa, contrition, emotion, from sadness to shock. And of course, humility. Heartbreaking to me. Reporter: The governor taking question after question. But after nearly a full two hours, some struggling to remember who got hurt her. Ft. Lee or chris christie. Are you the victim here? I'm telling you, that when i ask for an answer from a member of my staff and they lie, they're gone. So, I never had the underlying conduct. If you lie when I ask you a question, you're fired. That's it. Reporter: Christie says his bold, personal style, often characterized as bullying by opponents, should not have paved the way for this retribution by underlings. I am who I am. But I'm not a bully. Reporter: But before he left, a little of that ready to give as good as he gets chris christie. Did you ever, for even a brief moment, entertain the idea that, perhaps, you should resign? Oh, god no. No. That's a crazy question, man. Reporter: Governor christie said before today, he couldn't pick the ft. Lee mayor out of a lineup. He just wasn't on his radar. But after tonight, 30-minute face-to-face meeting, with a public apology accepted, the mayor said, I guess I'm on his radar now. Diane? All right. Jim avila reporting. Thank you, jim. We turn to the anchor of "this week," co-anchor of "good morning america," george stephanopoulos. Is it over? It's not over. But the press conference was close to textbook. The apology came out of the gate. It was unequivocal. It was unhedged. He took action. He exhausted all of the questions over those two hours. This is not over. There's still criminal investigations to go here. There's inspector general inspection to go here. There's subpoenas. A lot more information could come out on this. Christie's denial has to hold up. But here's the question. He said, of course, he didn't know anything about it. But should you have to tell your staff you would be appalled if commuters are hurt? Definitely not. And that's the big, big problem here. There's a culture here that told people this was okay. It also undercut his credentials as a bipartisan. It undercuts his credentials as a manager. And there's opportunity costs here. This was supposed to be the year that he builds towards a presidential race. At best, it's going to cost him time, energy and a lot of goodwill. Thanks so much, george. It gets stranger and stranger sometimes in politics. Thank you.
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