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Christie Makes First Public Appearance Since Bridgegate Erupted

N.J. Governor Briefly Addresses Controversy At Chicago Appearance
Gov. Chris Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at an appearance in Chicago. (Credit: CBS 2)

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CHICAGO (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was in Chicago Tuesday, making his first public appearance since the scandal at the George Washington Bridge came to light.

Christie spoke at the Economic Club of Chicago, and questions over the controversy followed him there.

As WBBM-TV, CBS 2 Chicago Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reported, Christie once again blamed the massive traffic jams around the George Washington Bridge on errors in judgment by people who worked for him and have since been fired.

“If you’re a leader, you have to try to get a handle on the story and then take decisive action, which we did, by letting people go, and then talking to the public about it,” Christie said.

Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, spent most of his Chicago visit meeting with GOP donors. He was expected to raise $1 million for Republican gubernatorial candidates in Illinois.

At the Economic Club of Chicago event, Christie said he had moved on and continues to govern the traditionally Democratic state of New Jersey. He told the GOP hopefuls in Illinois they could do the same.

“Have faith baby, I won twice in New Jersey. That’s what I would say to them, it can happen,” Christie said.

Only one of the four candidates, Bill Brady, was in attendance at the event. Brady lost to Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010.

“Frankly, I don’t know why the others weren’t here, but I’ll leave that up to them,” Brady said.

WBBM-TV reported a couple of months ago, a photo op with Christie would have been prized in Illinois — and may yet again be prized down the road. But right now, Bridgegate is the subject of state and federal investigations and Christie himself neither took questions nor posed for many candidate pictures.

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