Chris Christie has an enterprising news photographer to blame for his latest PR mess. At NJ.com, Andrew Mills explains how he got images of the governor lounging on a beach he had closed to state residents because of a budget impasse. Mills didn't know for sure that Christie would be at the governor's residence on Island Beach State Park, let alone on the beach itself. "But when Sunday's weather looked good, and the governor's schedule was open except for an afternoon press briefing in Trenton, I wondered, 'What are the chances ... ?" He called a pilot and up they went. Given that Christie and his family were the only ones on the beach, they weren't hard to spot. At one point, the governor looked "me dead in the eye" as he snapped a photo, Mills recalls. Coverage:
- Defiant: Christie insists he did nothing wrong. "The governor is allowed to go to his residences and I'm at my residences," he said, per Fox5NY. The governor said he made clear last week that he'd be going to the site regardless of budget progress. "What a great bit of journalism by the Star-Ledger," he added. "They actually caught a politician being where he said he was going to be with the people he said he was going to be with, his wife and children and their friends."
- Defiant, II: In a separate defense on Good Day Philadelphia, Christie said of his critics: "Well, I'm sorry, they're not the governor. This is a residence." Time has more on the back-and-forth.
- Quite a spin: After the photos were taken on Sunday, but before they were published, Christie told reporters, "I didn't get any sun today." Asked about the comment later, a spokesman said it was true because Christie was wearing a baseball hat. That's destined for the "spin Hall of Fame," writes Chris Cillizza at CNN, who thinks that Christie has perhaps "stopped caring."
- Fitting? So he made the bad decision to use the beach, then seemed to get caught trying to deny it, writes Aaron Blake at the Washington Post. "It's a pretty perfect coda to a Christie political career that is the stuff of Greek tragedies," he writes. "It's difficult to believe this is a man who was the GOP's great hope just five short years ago."
- The memes: NPR rounds up a few choice images on Twitter, including this one.
- 'Seinfeld shutdown': So why are lawmakers at an impasse? That's the worst part, writes columnist Tom Moran at the Star-Ledger. "It is about nothing, or close to it. It is the Seinfeld shutdown." He explains the main issue, about regulations over Horizon, the biggest insurer in New Jersey.
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