NBC host David Gregory suggested on Sunday that Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was guilty of “some deflection” after he tried to turn New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) bridge scandal into and indictment on President Barack Obama over Benghazi.
In an interview on Meet the Press, Priebus argued that Americans would forgive Christie after his administration closed part of the busiest bridge to hurt his opponents because “we all make mistakes.”
“They’re forgiving when you take ownership, you take corrective action. And that’s what Chris Christie showed,” the chairman explained. “He stood there for 111 minutes in an open dialog with the press. Now, only if Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would give us 111 seconds of that, would we find out some of what we want to find out about Obamacare, Benghazi, the IRS. I mean, Chris Christie has been totally open here.”
Gregory pointed out that Priebus had accused Obama of setting a tone that allowed scandals to happen and wondered if the same was true of Christie.
“Did he set the tone because that’s what you said the president did?” the NBC host said.
“He trusted people that lied to him and he fired those people,” Priebus argued. “The president doubles down on [Attorney General] Eric Holder, he doubles down on [former Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton and [former IRS official] Louis Learner and [National Security Advisor] Susan Rice. It’s the opposite effect.”
“There’s some deflection going on here, and I respect your position,” Gregory observed.
“You can judge a person, you can judge a person’s character,” Priebus replied. “We had an opportunity to do that [during Christie's press conference]… The president never offered that open dialogue.”
President Obama repeatedly answered questions from members of the media about health care reform, the terrorist attacks in Benghazi and the IRS scandal. At one press conference in May of last year, he took questions on both Benghazi and the IRS.
Watch this video from NBC’s Meet the Press, broadcast Jan. 12, 2014.