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January 15, 2014

PARKER: Maybe Christie could use an Obama hug

In the days since revelations surfaced about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office orchestrating the now-infamous George Washington Bridge lane closings, I’ve had at least four different reactions.

Listed in chronological order, they were: He’s dead; maybe not so bad if he didn’t know anything; OMG, an elderly woman died! He’s gone. Latest and hardly least, Christie may emerge relatively unscathed as the media displace him as villains.

To stipulate, we recognize that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio made the sanest observation when asked Thursday to comment. “I think the right approach is to be a bit prudent here and not jump to conclusions,” Rubio said. “I don’t know anything about this. So for me to comment beyond that would just not be, you know, appropriate.”

Ahem, well, fine. There you have the difference between a senator in line to replace Christie as the leading Republican presidential candidate and — everybody else.

On the train from New York to Washington Thursday, two words continuously rose above the din: Chris Christie. The best summation of how the scandal is playing politically came from two high-profile consultants who happened to be on the same train — Republican Mary Matalin and Democrat James Carville.

“[Not a big deal],” said Matalin when I asked her thoughts.

“May I quote you?”

“Yes.”

Carville, somewhat less concise, said he gave Christie a C-minus on his two-hour news conference, down from an initial B-plus. The lower grade followed further consideration that revealed contradictions and fuzzy details that didn’t add up, he said. As just one example, also notably mentioned by Rush Limbaugh, Christie said he hadn’t slept for a couple of days, but he had just found out about his staff’s involvement the day before.

Slip of the tongue, or vagueness in the service of subterfuge? Perhaps more to the point of Christie’s future, Carville noted that Limbaugh and other high-profile conservatives aren’t defending the governor.

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