With his back to the wall yesterday, Chris Christie delivered "a forum on the virtues of his favorite subject: himself," observes Dana Milbank at the Washington Post. In this "apology," the governor talked about how "incredibly loyal" he is, his "reputation for honesty" and more. He used the word "I," by Milbank's count, 692 times. He said he fired Bridget Anne Kelly "because she lied to me," not, say, because she inconvenienced thousands of people.
"Even in adversity, Christie regards himself as the hero," Milbank writes. This narcissism "is what is likeliest to doom Christie's presidential hopes—more than the details of 'Bridge-gate.'" Other takes on the apology:
- Michael Barbaro at the New York Times, on the other hand, saw Christie exhibit "an entirely new vocabulary of self-doubt." Whereas other politicians would apologize robotically, Christie did it his way: "excessively, vaingloriously, in large, vivid, and personal terms."
- In the same article, former Romney adviser Mike Murphy remarks that the nearly two-hour event showed "all of the strengths of Chris Christie and all of the weaknesses. He just does not come in small doses."
- The New Jersey Star-Ledger's editors, meanwhile, complain that some of Christie's professions of ignorance "stretch the bounds of belief." Did he really make no inquiries when staff emails were subpoenaed? "Did he prefer to read about it all in the papers?"
- Peggy Noonan at the Wall Street Journal thought Christie "acquitted himself well … and emerged undead." She, too, thought "there was a lot of 'I' and 'me' even for a modern politician," but ultimately he'll be fine if everything he said proves unimpeachable. Otherwise? "He'll be finished as a national figure."