[Update, 5 p.m.: Gov. Chris Christie’s statement this afternoon about the George Washington Bridge mess is very telling. First, the governor spends a lot of time in very little space saying that he didn’t know, that he was misled and that the behavior was not only “unacceptable,” but also “inappropriate and unsanctioned.” Me thinks the governor doth protest too much. Most telling is that Christie chose to issue a statement rather than face the press. Lame. Especially for a man who built a national profile one brusque face-to-face battle at a time.]

Upon seeing the smoking-gun e-mail from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s deputy chief of staff to one of his appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, I couldn’t help but think of this famous scene from “Ghost.”

After weeks of denying that he or his senior staff had any knowledge of or played any role in the man-made mess on the Fort Lee side of the George Washington Bridge, Shawn Boburg of the Bergen Record reports today on e-mails that show otherwise. In one minute on the morning of Aug. 13, 2013, Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s deputy chief of staff, and David Wildstein, the powerful Christie high school friend and director of interstate capital projects at the Port Authority, set “bridge-gate” into motion.

At 7:34 a.m., Kelly wrote: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
At 7:35 a.m. Wildstein responded: “Got it.”

Gov. Chris Christie (Justin Lane/EPA)
Gov. Chris Christie (Justin Lane/EPA)

All because the mayor of Fort Lee wouldn’t endorse Christie in his reelection bid last year. So petty. So vindictive. So Christie. As the New York Times chronicled on Christmas Eve, the New Jersey governor with White House ambitions has a “bully image” problem. As I’ve said before, Christie’s famed in-your-face bluster might work well along the Acela corridor, but it will prove disastrous on the campaign trail. Me thinks voters in early primary states won’t be thrilled to see that the bluster and vindictiveness affect innocent bystanders (i.e. children trapped on buses for hours on the first day of school).

Christie had one public event planned today, which he canceled after the -emails surfaced. Like all bullies, he’s running away from a real fight. And it shows that he realizes that his political standing at home and nationally is in danger.

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Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.