Embattled New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie was in Chicago today to attend an event that had been long in the planning. Christie came to Chicago to raise money for the Republican Governors Association, which he leads, and told a friendly group of business leaders that he is confident he can carry out his second-term agenda.
Christie was seated on a stage in a packed ballroom at the Sheraton Chicago Hotels and Towers, during a luncheon hosted by the Economic Club of Chicago, reported the Chicago Tribune.
Christie fielded questions from moderator Greg Brown, CEO of Motorola Solutions. As one might expect, Brown asked about the bridge scandal about 10 minutes into the discussion. Christie joked, "I'm shocked you brought that up. The remark drew laughter from the "Christie" friendly crowd.
"Large organizations are dynamic and incredibly creative because they’re inhabited by human beings," Christie said. "They're also inherently flawed because they’re inhabited by human beings."
He went on: "People who work for me made some significant mistakes in judgment. And when you’re the leader of that organization and you’re confronted with that, the first thing that happens to you — what happened to me — was extraordinary disappointment. Extraordinary disappointment that people that I had trusted had made such bad judgments and had not told the truth."
"I think as you look forward to 2016, our party’s priority should be on winning," Christie added. "Not winning the argument. Winning the election. … Parties tend to become pragmatic when they’re powerless. It’s time for us to get pragmatic."
For Christie, being in Chicago is a break from the media frenzy surrounding him in New Jersey, as each day a new revelations are made of his personal involvement.
He planned to attend private RGA events later Tuesday, including a fundraising dinner at the home of billionaire Chicago hedge-funder Ken Griffin.
The New Jersey leader also did not appear publicly with GOP Gov. Rick Scott in Florida or candidate Greg Abbott in Texas on recent trips.
But at least one of four Illinois Republican candidates for governor, Bill Brady, did attend the lunch and said he met privately with Christie as well. "I have no reason to not show up and support my friend Chris Christie," Brady said.
Bruce Rauner had requested a private meeting with Christie, a GOP source confirmed.
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