Randy Mastro, once Giuliani's chief of staff and Deputy Mayor for
Operations, was at least the eighth Giuliani staffer to join Team
Christie over the years, and the choice showed the close ties
between the governor and the former mayor.
Mastro, with the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP law firm, will lead
Christie's internal inquiry into revelations that his top aides
created a days-long traffic snarl-up by a key bridge into Manhattan
in apparent retribution against a local Democratic mayor.
The political fall-out has undercut Christie's status as one of the
front-runners for the Republican candidacy for U.S. president in
The two politicians from neighboring states have much in common — both are former prosecutors who made their names as brash,
practical, socially moderate Republicans with predominantly liberal
Giuliani was a leading national mainstream figure in the Republican
Party before his own bid for the presidency fizzled out in early
2008 and many of his former staffers are appearing in various roles
in Christie's current political drama.
Christie's deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, whom he fired
for helping orchestrate the traffic jams, senior advisor Michael
DuHaime and communications director Maria Comella all worked on
Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign.
Close Christie ally Tony Carbonetti was also a Giuliani aide, as was
Bill Stepien, Christie's former campaign manager who was dismissed
from a political position with the Republican Governors Association
when the traffic scandal erupted.
Matt Mowers, a former Christie staffer who is now an executive for
the New Hampshire Republican Party, and Amanda DePalma, Christie's
former deputy campaign manager and now the executive director of the
New Jersey Republican State Committee, also worked on Giuliani's
"Nothing like this (the traffic imbroglio) ever happened under the
Giuliani administration, but there are lots of similarities between
the two, which I suspect is part of their friendship," said Fordham
University political science professor Bruce Berg.
The governor denies knowledge of the traffic plot, apparently a
stunt to lean on the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, for
refusing to endorse Christie in his re-election bid last year. But
he has pledged to cooperate with federal and state investigators.
[to top of second column]
The staff overlap is no surprise given the political similarities
between Christie and Giuliani, Berg said.
"There's a very small pool from which to pick (when choosing aides).
You want someone who is ideologically sympathetic, you want someone
who has had a degree of political experience, and you want someone
who can play on, and has experience on, a national level," he said.
Christie's office did not respond to a request for comment about
ties to Giuliani. A spokeswoman for Giuliani also did not respond to
messages requesting comment.
Giuliani, the mayor of New York City between 1994 and 2001, was one
of few high-profile Republicans to come to Christie's defense in the
days after the scandal broke.
"He says he didn't know. I think it's pretty darn credible,"
Giuliani said of Christie on ABC News on Sunday.
The two have campaigned and raised money together, largely relying
on Wall Street donors.
Some political analysts question whether help from Giuliani's aides
will ensure the political survival of Christie, a Republican in a
predominantly Democratic state.
"What can (Giuliani) give to Christie? Given his terrible run in
2008, who knows?" said Berg.
But Republican strategist Kevin Madden said: "There's nothing that
teaches you how to run and win a national campaign like running and
losing a national campaign."
(Reporting by Gabriel Debenedetti and Mark Hosenball;
David Storey and Andre Grenon)
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