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Hunter Walker

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

Articles by Hunter

"Mayor Ford, I have an award for you!" I shouted as Rob Ford stood in his glass-walled office at Toronto City Hall Friday morning. "Would you like to come get your Golden Duke?"

My first attempt to present Ford with TPM's Golden Duke award for the best scandal of 2013 had come a few minutes earlier as he disembarked an elevator and entered his office ahead of a council meeting. A team of burly bodyguards and lines of velvet ropes kept a crowd of reporters who shouted questions away from the mayor.

"Mayor Ford, I have an award for you," I had called out as he and his
entourage walked past, adding, "It's for your scandal."

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I am coming to you live from the elevator in front of the mayor's office. We just attempted to hand Mayor Rob Ford the Duke award as he disembarked surrounded by security. He did not respond. He must not have seen the beautiful statue. We are waiting here for him to leave again.

I am proud to report that we were joined by two TPM readers, Ed and Greg. We also gave some interviews to the Canadian media, who are clearly excited about the Duke awards.

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After a day spent in search of embattled Mayor Rob Ford, TPM's Toronto delegation may have found his soul -- in a steakhouse.

This tale begins with the traditional Canadian staple of poutine, a combination of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy that based on police documents, is a favorite of Ford's. Knowing Ford's fondness for poutine, when I spotted a food truck serving the dish in front of City Hall Thursday evening, I knew I had to investigate.

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This evening, the TPM Toronto delegation toured crucial locations from
Rob Ford's life and works.

We began by driving to his house in the suburban neighborhood of Etobicoke in the hopes we might see the mayor and be able to present him with his Golden Duke award. We did not have a close encounter of the Mayor Ford kind, but we did notice there was a branch of Canada's beloved coffee, pastry, and breakfast chain Tim Horton's in a gas station a block or so from his house. This seemed like a place Mayor Ford might frequent so we stopped in.

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First responders were delayed in responding to at least four medical emergencies due to the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in September that have been linked to one of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) political feuds.

The delays were detailed in a letter from EMS coordinator Paul Favia to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. It was obtained by the Bergen Record and dated Sept. 10, the second day Fort Lee was consumed by gridlock due to the lane closures.

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Correct The Record, a group dedicated to defending Hillary Clinton ahead of a potential 2016 presidential bid, pounced on Wednesday's revelations that an aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) communicated with officials involved in the order to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge last September. Some Democrats have alleged the lane closures, which led to days of gridlock in Fort Lee, N.J., were ordered as retaliation against a local mayor who did not endorse Christie's re-election bid.

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New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chairman John Currie issued a statement Wednesday in which he said newly-revealed emails and documents show Gov. Chris Christie's (R) "vindictive political motivations" were behind lane closures on the George Washington Bridge last September.

Some Democrats have alleged the lanes were shut as revenge against a local mayor who declined to endorse Christie's re-election bid. The emails show officials in the governor's administration communicated with his appointees at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which oversees the bridge prior to the order to close the lanes.

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Updated: January 8, 2014 11:31 AM

One of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) closest aides was involved in the discussion about the order to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September, snarling traffic in the town of Fort Lee.

Documents obtained Wednesday by TPM show that Christie's Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, Bridget Anne Kelly, talked about the closures with the agency that oversees the bridge weeks before they ocurred.

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