Christie dominates Sunday shows, but lawmakers reserve judgment

AP Photo/Mel Evans New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens to a question as he announces his "Hurricane Sandy Flood Map Regulations" Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in Seaside Heights, N.J. The town, which was featured in the MTV reality show "Jersey Shore" sustained substantial damage to homes and its boardwalk during Superstorm Sandy. ()
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's bridge scandal dominated the Sunday morning talk shows, but sitting lawmakers resisted weighing in on what it will mean for the potential 2016 presidential contender.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) along with Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) were all asked about the scandal, but each said it was too early and there was too little information available to judge the implications of the situation. Documents show top Christie aides orchestrating a multi-day traffic jam in an apparent act of political retaliation, shining a bright light on one of the Republican Party's rising stars. Christie professes not to have known of his staff's involvement with creating the traffic jam, but even that has raised questions over his management style.

"There’s certainly no issue that bothers our citizens quite as much as traffic congestion and I certainly get a lot of reports on it all the time," O'Malley said on CNN's State of the Union. But O'Malley, himself a potential 2016 Democratic presidential contender, wouldn't weigh in beyond that comment. "I don’t know that I can really shed more light on it," he said.

Rubio, another potential GOP presidential candidate, resisted delving into the scandal, too, saying "I think this is a story that's still developing and we should reserve judgment," while on CBS's "Face the Nation."

McCain, appearing on CNN, offered the most comment among the lawmakers, stating that he's "a great admirer" of the New Jersey governor. Christie should have known about his staff's involvement, and he will have to answer a lot of questions as a result, McCain said. But he withheld judgment on whether Christie's long-term prospects would be affected.

"Is this a blow to him? Obviously," McCain said. "How permanent it is, I think we will know in the days and weeks ahead."

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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