By Audrey Hudson
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Sunday said Gov. Chris Christie showed more transparency and openness about the temporary lane closure on the George Washington Bridge than Barack Obama has about numerous scandals that have engulfed his presidency.
“Americans are a forgiving people, but they’re forgiving when you take ownership, when you admit mistakes you take corrective action, and that’s what Chris Christie showed,” Priebus said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“He stood there for 111 minutes in an open dialogue with the press,” Priebus said of the New Jersey Republican’s press conference after the revelation this week that an aide had participated in the decision to shut down numerous bridge lanes for several days last year.
“Now if only Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would give us 111 seconds of that, would we find out some things we want to find out about Obamacare, Benghazi the IRS — I mean Chris Christie has been open here,” Priebus said.
NBC Host David Gregory argued that if Obama set the tone for the IRS scandal, as his critics have maintained, then the same should hold true for Christie.
The difference is that “Chris Christie gave us almost two hours of open dialogue and really, cross examination with the press (wherein) you can judge a person’s character, and we had an opportunity to do that,” Priebus said.
“The president never offered that open dialogue so the people could determine the character with the president,” Priebus said.
Gregory also questioned whether Christie had set the tone for petty political retribution within the governor’s office. Emails revealed that the lane closures were for political retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, for refusing to endorse Christie’s reelection last year.
The lanes were closed without notice, slowing emergency vehicles and school buses, and were blamed for the death of a 91-year-old woman whose transportation to a hospital was delayed in the traffic.
“He trusted people that lied to him, and he fired those people. The president doubles down on Eric Holder, he doubles down on Hillary Clinton and Lois Lerner and Susan Rice, it’s the opposite,” Priebus said.
The Republican chairman also addressed the new tell-all book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates called “Duty,” and an assertion that Clinton’s opposition to the 2007 surge in Iraq was purely political because she was facing Obama in the primary.
“I think she’s a political person,” Priebus said.
“And I think what this country is starving for, are real authentic people who want to serve this country with a pure heart. And when they read these things about Hillary Clinton, when they examine her life, they question it … is she real, is she authentic, is she genuine, does she want to serve this country with a pure heart?” Priebus said.
“I think she’s political and I think Robert Gates’ book shows that once again.”
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