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TODAY   |  January 09, 2014

Todd: Christie cannot be quiet over bridge scandal

NBC News chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd says that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie must get out in front of the political scandal brewing over claims of an intentional bridge delay orchestrated by members of his own staff for political reasons.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

chuckgood morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, matt.

>> one question has been answered, this was political retribution, two of those e-mails prove that. the question is did chris christie know that and did he order it? how will the answer to that question impact his political future?

>> reporter: matt, there's no good answer at this point. there's either one of two things that are going on, either chris christie knew and he's lied in that statement or you take him at he is word and he doesn't have control of his own chief deputies, that there is a culture in his office where doing something like this, political retribution, is acceptable behavior. the point is, matt, is that this undermines one of, one of his great assets that a lot of republicans and a lot of independent voters think could be something that he could bring to the presidency, which is this idea that he works across the aisle, that he doesn't get involved, that he doesn't get mired in this petty, polarized politics and yet this is sort of the worst of the worst of petty politics.

>what does he have to do to try to get his arms around or get control this story?

>he's got to own this and obviously, somebody's got to get fired. obviously he says he doesn't know this was unsanctioned behavior. how is it this person hasn't been fired yet? we already have two resignations at the port authority

> and chuck, the story already has a life of its own on one side, but you have to take the other dynamic in this as well. he is a political star for the republican party . he's now the head of the republican governor's association, a lot of power there, so democrats are going to work this story for a long time.

>> absolutely. this is, welcome to the nfl. this is, he's gotten a lot of benefit as being this republican rising star in the new york city media markets, he gets a lot of access to media attention and access to national media. and so he's had a free ride, if you will. well now, welcome to the vetting process. now that he's essentially shown interest in being a presidential candidate, this is what life is like. this is what happens when the bright lights start burning. so i think that that's why he can't sit here and be quiet anymore. he's got to get out in front of this and out in front of this in a hurry.

>> chuck todd at the white house this morning. as always, thanks very much.