Chris Christie on Thursday held his first town hall event since the George Washington Bridge lane closures became a national scandal last month. At the event, the New Jersey governor talked about Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. He talked about family law reforms. He talked about Bruce Springsteen.
He didn’t talk about the George Washington Bridge lane closures.
The topic that has dominated the last six weeks of Christie’s administration, and that has shaken his prospects for 2016, simply didn’t come up in the 90-minute event. The governor’s office told TPM Thursday that neither the questions asked at the event nor the people asking the questions had been pre-selected.
“Questions are not vetted,” Christie spokesperson Kevin Roberts told TPM in an email.
NBC News reported Thursday that at least one audience member attended the event holding a sign that read: “RESIGN CHRISTIE.” (The woman later told The Neward Star-Ledger her signs were confiscated.) But it wasn’t all serious in Middletown, N.J. One attendee asked Christie if he would destroy his Springsteen CDs.
“He’s not a friend of yours, governor,” the man said.
“What I can tell you is, despite the fact that you might be right, I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink. This is it for me, OK?” Christie responded. “I still hope as he gets older and older, he’ll say, ‘He’s a good guy, we could be friends.'”
Instead of the bridge scandal, Christie focused on Sandy recovery. According to the Star-Ledger, Christie said the state had suffered $37 billion in damage, but expected to receive $15 billion to $20 billion in aid from the federal government.
“All of you can do the math,” Christie said. “That’s anywhere from a $17 to a $22 billion dollar gap.”