Ohio Senators Divided On Chris Christie Traffic Scandal

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UPDATED: Thursday January 9, 2014 3:51 PM

Ohio's two U.S. Senators, a Republican and Democrat, have divided opinions on embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.  

On Thursday, Christie fired his Deputy Chief of Staff after emails obtained by reporters suggest that she orchestrated a massive traffic snarl on the George Washington Bridge to settle a political vendetta.

"I haven't followed it closely, but I know Chris Christie," said Republican Sen. Rob Portman.  "I know he has a great record as governor of New Jersey. Frankly, the voters think that too.  He was just re-elected by an overwhelming margin by Independents, Republicans and Democrats who all supported him."

Both Portman and Christie had been considered to be Mitt Romney's running mate in 2012.

Polls have shown Christie leading the pack for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.  Portman has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.

"I don't focus on 2016 right now," Portman told 10TVs Jim Heath.  "I am focused on 2014 and trying to get the senate majority because I think that's really important for the country.  I think if we had a Republican majority in the House and Senate, we could actually get a lot more done."

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown was less kind in his assessment of Christie, who at a press conference Thursday had to answer questions about whether he is a bully.

"I never really liked this style of someone who it's kind of all about him," said Brown.  "I think a governor should just do his job.  If he did what it's alleged he's done, it's a pretty serious abuse of power."

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman has now opened a probe into the lane closure.

Brown said Christie's style was bound to get him into trouble.

"I think this larger than life governor doesn't always play so well," said Brown.  "It ought to be keep your focus on the job and do your job."

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