Chris Christie: ‘I am not a bully’ — LOL

Gov. Chris Christie at today's press conference. (Mel Evans/AP)

Gov. Chris Christie at a Jan. 9 news conference. (Mel Evans/Associated Press)

During his 107-minute me-me-mea culpa over the traffic fiasco that plunged his national political fortunes into chaos, Gov. Chris Christie said something that was LOL funny. It came in response to a question from NBC News’s Kelly O’Donnell: “Your critics say this reveals that you are a political bully, that your style is payback,” she asked the New Jersey Republican known for his love of rhetorical fisticuffs and penchant for retribution. “Are you? And does this compromise your ability to serve?”

GOV. CHRISTIE: No, I’m not. Hey, listen, Kelly. Politics ain’t bean bag, okay? And everybody in the country who engages in politics knows that. On the other hand, that’s very, very different than saying that, you know, someone’s a bully. . . . I don’t hide my emotions from people. . . . Now, that has always made some people, as you know, uneasy. Some people like that style, some people don’t. And I’ve always — I think you asked me the question day after the election, are you willing to change your style in order to appeal to a broader audience? And I think I said no because I am who I am. But I am not a bully.

Try telling that to Gail, the New Jersey caller who asked him if his children went to public school. “It’s none of your business,” Christie bluntly told her. Try telling that to Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle. She questioned his use of state helicopters (“Choppergate”) to go to his son’s baseball game and then a political dinner. “I mean she should really be embarrassed at what a jerk she is for saying something like that,” Christie said. And then there’s what happened to me on “Morning Joe” in 2012.

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Christie: Jonathan, first of all, I used to be a prosecutor so I’m not going to be cross-examined by you this morning. Secondly. . . .

JC: I’m having fun trying.

Christie: And you’re going to lose so let’s just move on.

JC: I would love for you to answer the question. . . .”

The New York Times highlighted some of the governor’s other moments in petty last month. But addressing the callous e-mails about the misery inflicted by his aides on the people of Fort Lee, Christie told Kelly, “[T]he language used and the conduct displayed in those e-mails is unacceptable to me, and I will not tolerate it. But the best I can do is when I see stuff like that [is] to end it.”

What’s that saying? Oh, yeah, do as I say, not as I do. LOL.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

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