Chris Christie's latest town hall—the first since it was revealed that members of his administration had organized a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge—was reportedly pretty awkward. What was once a forum for Christie to effortlessly interact with his constituents turned into a slightly contentious affair.
In his four years as governor, Christie has hosted more than 100 town hall meetings, with his staff often splicing the best bits to put on YouTube later. It became an integral part of his administration's public relations strategy. But now, as The New York Times puts it, "The man who once commanded these rooms just by walking into them seemed unmistakably mortal."
The conversation mostly focused on ongoing Sandy recovery. One audience member told the Times that she resented Christie for invoking her daughter as a way to score points when talking about the recovery. Another audience member grabbed the mic back from Christie in order to continue speaking. Nobody actually asked Christie about the bridge scandal, although one audience member who brought a sign reading "RESIGN CHRISTIE" had it taken away from her.
Bruce Springsteen, the governor's not-at-all-secret love, ended up being a topic of the discussion. At one point, a man asked the question on everyone's mind: "When you go home tonight would you please destroy all of your Bruce Springsteen CDs? He’s not a friend of yours."
"The CDs could be destroyed," Christie responded. "I have it all on my iPhone now." Ya burnt? I guess? The governor went on to add that he hoped that he and Bruce could patch things up eventually. Springsteen had famously brushed off the governor until the Hurricane Sandy recovery when they finally came together—for Jersey's sake. Then Fort Lee happened, and Springsteen made fun of Christie on Late Night, and that made the governor sad. Now, the two men compose America's foremost "will they or won't they?" couple.
The town hall was certainly not a total disaster. According to WNYC's account, the governor still managed to win over the crowd. Yet Christie, post-scandal, has shown more vulnerability than ever, and the crowd was clearly seizing on it.