GMA Hypes Christie’s ‘Very Personal Attack’ Against Former Staffer

Supposed new revelations have emerged in the “Bridgegate” scandal by former New Jersey Port Authority official David Wildstein claim that Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) knew about the George Washington Bridge lane closures earlier than the governor claimed. Despite Wildstein’s failure to provide any evidence for his claims, ABC’s Good Morning America pounced and played up the Christie “bully” angle once again.

Appearing on GMA on February 2, co-host Dan Harris introduced the show by claiming that Governor Christie had launched “a very personal attack at a time when he should be celebrating the first ever Super Bowl in his state.” [See video after jump.]

Once the segment began Harris again noted how Governor Christie was “booed at a pregame event overnight at a pregame event overnight in Times Square. This as he’s taking a hard and very personal run at a former staffer…” Reporter Reena Ninan struck a similar tone and pointed out how “This morning David Wildstein is wiping the mud off his face slung by Christie’s office.”

Ninan continued her report by using charged rhetoric and portrayed Christie as someone who “is on the attack. Taking aim at former ally and transportation official, David Wildstein… And even mudslinging from the 70s, writing that Wildstein was accused of deceptive behavior by his high school Social Studies teacher.”  

The ABC reporter didn’t stop there, and continued to peddle the “personal attack” narrative in her story:

Christie's bottom line, David Wildstein will do and say anything to save David Wildstein. But some wondering how the New Jersey governor could now be attacking so aggressively the man he trusted and put into a position of power. Much like the game on this field, the psychological warfare can't be ignored with new attack ads.

The ABC crew continued to double-down on their characterization of Christie with Harris noting once last time how Christie went “really personal” before discussing the situation with GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos. The GMA and This Week host struck a much more reserved tone and observed that, “This is all going to come down to what exactly Wildstein’s testimony is to all these investigations and whether he can prove that Christie wasn't telling the truth.”

While Stephanopoulos was initially cautious in his comments, Bianna Golodryga couldn’t hold back playing up ABC News’ Matt Dowd’s outrageous comparison that “the chances of Christie now becoming President of the United States are about the same as Amanda Knox going on vacation in Italy. So pretty low.”

Following up the onslaught on Christie, Dan Harris concluded by asking Stephanopoulos, “if one of the perceived problems for Christie is that he's a bully, why put out a memo like this, which does in some ways look like he's bullying Wildstein? Bringing things up from when he was 16 years old.”

The segment finally concluded when Golodryga shot Christie down one final time by saying that this was “Clearly not the way Christie wanted to spend super bowl weekend.” Taking one final shot at the Republican governor, Stephanopoulos brought up one final time how Christie was booed at a pre-Super Bowl event.  
 

 

See relevant transcripts below.


ABC

Good Morning America

February 2, 2014

DAN HARRIS: Plus pre-game jeers. New Jersey's governor caught in a political scandal and booed at a Super Bowl rally.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Good afternoon everybody. You have already heard enough speeches. Enough speeches of the same thing.

HARRIS: Now his administration is launching a direct and very personal attack at a time when he should be celebrating the first ever Super Bowl in his state.

 

8:06 a.m. Eastern

DAN HARRIS: One man who’s already having a tough Super Bowl, the Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie who was booed at a pregame event overnight in Times Square. This as he’s taking a hard and very personal run at a former staffer who’s now accusing the governor lf lying about the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal that has really engulfed his administration. ABC’s Reena Ninan is on the story. Reena good morning.

REENA NINAN: Good morning to you Dan. He was once dubbed the eyes and ears for Christie at the Port Authority, but this morning David Wildstein is wiping the mud off his face slung by Christie's office.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Good afternoon everybody. You’ve already heard enough speeches. Enough speeches of the same thing.

NINAN: This wasn't the Super Bowl weekend welcome New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wanted. Now Christie is on the attack. Taking aim at former ally and transportation official, David Wildstein, who alleges there's proof Christie knew the GW bridge lane closure earlier than he claims. In an email to friends and family obtained by ABC News, the governor's office went after Wildstein, claiming a controversial tenure as mayor of Livingston who made moves that were not productive. Christie piled on the political power, quoting fort lee mayor Mark Sokolich who highlighted what he describes as Wildstein’s credibility issues. And even mudslinging from the 70s, writing that Wildstein was accused of deceptive behavior by his high school Social Studies teacher. Christie's bottom line, David Wildstein will do and say anything to save David Wildstein. But some wondering how the New Jersey governor could now be attacking so aggressively the man he trusted and put into a position of power. Much like the game on this field, the psychological warfare can't be ignored with new attack ads.

CHRISTIE: Maybe the folks in Washington, D.C. should tune in their TVs right now.

NINAN: Some think the damage is done.

BRIGID CALLAHAN HARRISON: The governor really thought that this would be his crowning achievement. That he would really kick off his presidential campaign essentially at the Super Bowl.

NINAN: And the Christie camp’s attack of Wildstein claims that as a 16-year-old kid he sued over a local school board election. And that Wildstein was an anonymous blogger known as “Wally Edge.” And I'm quoting here, had a strange habit of registering web addresses for other people names without telling them. Dan and Bianna it’s getting down right personal.

HARRIS: Really personal. Let's talk more about this now with GMA co-anchor and the host of ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. George Good morning. Rita raised this question, but how effective are these attacks likely to be given that Christie hired Wildstein in the first place?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s an excellent point. But it really all depends on what Wildstein has. Remember that letter from his lawyer on Friday said that evidence exists that Christie wasn't telling the whole truth at that press conference about what he knew about the traffic. Doesn't necessarily say he has the evidence. This is all going to come down to what exactly Wildstein’s testimony is to all these investigations and whether he can prove that Christie wasn't telling the truth.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Meantime, he was seen as a front-runner for the Republican Party for 2016. Yesterday we had ABC News analyst Matt Dowd on the show, and he said that the chances of Christie now becoming President of the United States are about the same as Amanda Knox going on vacation in Italy. So pretty low.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Pretty low but not that low. There's no chance that Amanda Knox is going to go vacation in Italy. Chris Christie’s not completely out of this yet; it's all going to depend on what happens over the next year. Listen, he's going to lose the next year. He's going to be tied up in all these investigations. If he's not telling the truth, clearly he's done. But if he gets through the investigations, can rebut these allegations, he’s going to have time to get back into this because the Republican field is an absolute muddle right now. You know, three months ago, he was the front-runner. Now he’s just part of the pack, but he’s not completely out of it.

HARRIS: Interesting perspective. And let me ask you a question that Bianna was asking during the break, which is, if one of the perceived problems for Christie is that he's a bully, why put out a memo like this, which does in some ways look like he's bullying Wildstein? Bringing things up from when he was 16 years old.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I got to say I was surprised by it. But I think it shows the potential damage of the kinds of charges he's raising. You know, when he's saying that Christie didn't tell the truth at that press conference we see there, that's an incredibly damaging, possibly fatal charge. They have to muddy up his credibility. But I was surprised they went all the way back to high school.

GOLODRYGA: Clearly not the way Christie wanted to spend super bowl weekend.

HARRIS: Nope.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No, and not those boos last night either.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.