NJ Democrat Swears He Didn’t Mean To Fist Bump With Christie

ASSOCIATED PRESS

New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) is disavowing a fist bump he gave to Gov. Chris Christie (R) during last year’s State of the State address.

Sweeney, who has enjoyed an unusually cozy across-the-aisle relationship with Christie, appeared Wednesday on WNYC radio’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” to talk about this year’s speech and the growing bridge scandal. Host Brian Lehrer began by inquiring about the absence of a Christie-Sweeney fist bump at the address signaled a change.

“I didn’t see any fist bump this year,” Lehrer said. “Have things changed?”

Sweeney encouraged Lehrer not to read too much into it.

“Last year I was sick, Brian, and I don’t believe in shaking peoples’ hands when you’re sick,” Sweeney explained. “You know what I mean? So the fist bump was just trying not to spread a germ.”

Lehrer pressed the point and, noting Sweeney’s “reputation as somebody who has worked with the governor very closely,” asked if things are “different” in the wake of the bridge scandal.

“They’re different because we got the distraction of this bridge — this ‘Bridgegate’ situation or, you know, that’s what we’re calling it. But you know, at the end of the day, to me, we still have the work of the people to get done,” said Sweeney. “We’re trying to minimalize (sic) this distraction of this bridge issue because, you know, the people, people expect to see progress.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hunter Walker is a national affairs reporter for TPM. He came to the site in 2013 from the New York Observer. He has also written for New York Magazine, Gawker, the Village Voice, Forbes, The Daily, and Deadspin. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com

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