Kean Sr. on Christie's GWB Scandal: "So Wrong and So Stupid"

The former governor says his protege can "change and grow" from the experience

By Brian Thompson
|  Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014  |  Updated 9:46 PM EDT
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Former New Jersey governor Tom Kean Sr., who took Chris Christie under his political wing more than three decades ago, said he thinks his protegee can learn from his current political ordeal. In an exclusive interview with NBC 4 New York, Kean called the actions that caused gridlock for four days in September

NBC 4 New York

Former New Jersey governor Tom Kean Sr., who took Chris Christie under his political wing more than three decades ago, said he thinks his protegee can learn from his current political ordeal. In an exclusive interview with NBC 4 New York, Kean called the actions that caused gridlock for four days in September "so wrong and so stupid." New Jersey reporter Brian Thompson reports.

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Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, Sr., who took Chris Christie under his political wing more than three decades ago, said he thinks his protege can learn from his current political ordeal.

In an interview with NBC 4 New York, Kean called the actions that caused gridlock in Fort Lee for four days in September "so wrong and so stupid."

Kean acknowledged that politics can be rough, and that Gov. Christie's administration has a reputation for rewarding friends and now, punishing opponents. But he said "My hope is that if that's been a calling card of this administration, that it'll stop."

See a timeline of the scandal here

Christie, who won re-election by 22 points in a Democratic-leaning state, hopes to regain his footing after being shaken by revelations that key aides orchestrated massive traffic backups by closing the lanes. Four Christie loyalists have been fired or resigned for the apparent political vendetta against a Democratic mayor who wouldn't endorse Christie.

The governor apologized, and during a lengthy news conference last week said he was "blindsided" by his staff's involvement.

VIDEO: Christie apologizes for GWB Scandal

Kean, who believes Christie was telling the truth when he denied knowledge of the shutdown and apparent cover-up, said Christie can "change and grow" from this experience.

But he also said he's not ready to endorse him yet in Christie's expected bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

"I'm gonna look at that other side" of Christie's character, Kean said. "And I think people in the country are too." 

Kean was the most popular governor in New Jersey history, winning re-election in 1985 by carrying all but three small municipalities in the state, along with a majority of the African-American vote.

He said nothing like the bridge scandal would have happened in his administration, then added "I suspect there are a few more people involved."
 

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