Giuliani Compares Bridge Scandal to Benghazi, IRS Scandal

By Melanie Arter | January 13, 2014 | 1:04 PM EST

Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City (AP)

( – Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous” on Sunday compared the bridge scandal plaguing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration to the IRS scandal and Benghazi in the Obama administration.

“The reality is, things go wrong in an administration. And frankly, you know, he was in campaign-mode at the time, during campaign-mode you miss a lot of things. You're not paying as much attention. We see that with Benghazi,” Giuliani said in defense of Christie.

As previously reported, Four Americans were killed on Sept. 11, 2012 – including Ambassador Chris Stevens – in a terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. In the days to follow, then U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice blamed the attack on a YouTube video, mocking Mohammed.

In September, two of three lanes of road leading to the George Washington Memorial Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., were closed, causing massive traffic jams. Democrats contend that the lane closures were political retaliation against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, because he did not endorse Christie.

David Wildstein, the governor’s appointee to the Port Authority, said, the closures were due to a traffic study. But last week, it was revealed that a top Christie aide e-mailed Wildstein prior to the closures, saying, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Christie announced at a press conference Thursday that he fired Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Ann Kelly, author of that email.

“I want to go back to September – four days, thousands of Fort Lee residents are stuck on that bridge. Chris Christie is the governor of that state. I can’t imagine you as New York mayor not saying, ‘What the heck is going on over there? Forget that traffic study.’ And yet, Chris Christie didn’t do that,” Martha Raddatz, host of “This Week,” told Giuliani.

“You know, Martha, that's always kind of simplistic after something like this happens, you know, how could it happen, how could you not have known? How did President Obama not know about the IRS targeting right wing groups? You know, massive numbers of right wing groups,” Giulani said.

“But this is traffic. This affects everybody. This seems very different,” Raddatz said.

“Well, that affects a lot of people,” Giuliani said of the IRS scandal, adding that when politicians run for re-election and “something goes wrong below them,” the media asks, “How do they not know? How did they not realize.”

“Well, let's talk about the culture of that office. Obviously he's dismissed his aid Bridget Anne Kelly, Bill Stepien. But what about the culture of that office? What does that say about Chris Christie that they would think they could do something like that?” Raddatz asked Giuliani.

“But this is what happens in political operations. I mean, people get wrong messages. It happens all the time. It happened, again, I go back to the IRS scandal. The people in the IRS thought President Obama wanted them to do this. President Obama didn't want them to do this, but they got the sense because of that culture that they were supposed to target right wing groups. It was totally wrong,” Giuliani said.

As previously reported, in May 2013, the Treasury Inspector General for the Tax Administration, J. Russell George, testified before Congress that allegations that the IRS targeted conservative groups seeking tax exempt status were true.

Giuliani said Christie handled the scandal the best way possible.

“He's held a press conference, he's flatly denied it. If for some reason it's not true, the man has put his political career completely at risk. If it turns out that there's some evidence that he knew about it, he's taken the complete risk that his political career is over,” Giuliani added.