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Christie: Bridge scandal won’t affect 2016 decision

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (John Gress/Reuters)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) says in a new interview that his administration's bridge scandal won't impact his decision to run for president in 2016.

Asked about the potential baggage from the controversy, the characteristically brash governor shrugged it off.

"If you don't have baggage, they'll create baggage for you," Christie says in an interview set to air on Fox News's "The Kelly File." "That’s politics in America today. That’s the way it goes. In the end people don't judge you on that stuff. People look into your eyes and they try to decide what’s in here and that’s how they vote."

Christie has maintained his innocence in the matter, and an attorney he hired to investigate the scandal said in a report last week that Christie was not involved.

Asked about why he appears closer to running for president this time around, Christie said he's more prepared now.

"I’m older and more experienced and it’s certainly something I’ve said to everybody that I’ll consider," he said.

Asked about his potential opponents, Christie played up the chances of other Republicans more closely aligned with the GOP establishment rather than the tea party.

Asked about the top three contenders, he named former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Rep. Paul Ryan. But Christie also said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), with whom he has tangled on privacy and national security issues, would be a "credible" candidate and that he would campaign with him.

"I’d campaign for whoever the Republican nominee is," Christie said. "Because I'm a Republican, and whatever differences I may have with any one of those people I just named myself because there are differences between me and those folks, it would be minor compared to the difference I would have with whoever the Democratic nominee is."

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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