Christie keeping low profile at governors meeting in Washington

WASHINGTON – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, his star power dimmed in the wake of the George Washington Bridge scandal, is shirking the spotlight at a meeting of the National Governors Assn. in Washington this weekend, but his support among fellow Republicans appeared secure.

The Republican dodged questions from reporters Saturday about the state Legislature’s investigation of whether his administration was behind a traffic tie-up at the key Hudson River crossing. Critics say the traffic snarl was an act of political retribution against a local mayor who had not endorsed Christie.

Christie also will skip a dinner at the White House on Sunday hosted by President Obama to honor the nation's governors and a business meeting with key administration officials the following day. And though Christie serves as chairman of the Republican Governors Assn., he won’t attend the group's sole public news conference Monday afternoon.

An aide to the governor said that Christie would leave Washington on  Sunday morning so he could return home to celebrate his daughter’s birthday and prepare for an address to the Legislature scheduled Tuesday on the budget.

Though he had little to say publicly, Christie did attend other Republican Governors Assn. events this weekend, and next week he’ll travel to Boston to headline a fundraiser for the group, where he’ll be joined by Massachusetts' former governor, Mitt Romney.

The appearance by the party’s 2012 standard-bearer is the latest indication that Christie is weathering, for now, the storm that threatened to derail his presidential ambition.

Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who faces scrutiny himself over whether employees in his county office did campaign work for him in 2010, said there was no question about Christie holding on to his leadership post.

“He faced the challenge and he dealt with it,” Walker told reporters Saturday, adding that he would be open to having Christie campaign for him this year in his reelection bid.

On Twitter: @mikememoli

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