Hostile to Christie, Big Talker WPHT/1210-AM radio host Dom Giordano yesterday was squawking for Christie's scalp, calling him too moderate for the conservative host's taste, calling him a "traitor."
Giordano also doesn't like Big Boy's style, calling him not just a RINO (Republican In Name Only), but a "charging RINO" because of his supposed bully tactics.
The question regarding the scheme by Christie aides to block traffic from Fort Lee to the bridge to punish its mayor is: What did Christie know and when did he know it? That's a fair question.
The other element of the attack is, "If he didn't know, he should have known, and that disqualifies him from leadership." That's unfair.
When Democrats harpoon him with that, I will ask them when Barack Obama knew that the NSA was reading German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mail, when he knew the IRS had targeted conservative groups, when he knew his Secret Service detail was using prostitutes in Colombia.
If there is no proof Obama knew - and, so far, this is the case with Big Boy - then the fair question is what the leader does once the foul play is revealed.
In a marathon news conference yesterday, Big Boy said his aides acted without his knowledge or approval, he apologized, he said he was "humiliated" and "heartbroken" by the stunt, which was a "rogue political operation." He fired his deputy chief of staff.
"I believe Christie took appropriate responsibility and action," said strategic- and crisis-communications professional Dan Gross, a Daily News columnist before launching Gross Communications. "The extent to which he disavowed prior knowledge of the closures supports his credibility because he knows he's screwed if new info emerges to contradict him."
I looked for telltale signs at the news conference. It was a stressful situation but Big Boy didn't sweat, he looked questioners in the eye, his own eyes didn't dart or deflect, he gave the impression of a man who was sorrowful, chastised and sober. His contrition came off as believable.
The scandal has revived the "bully" charge against him and he engaged in mild introspection. "What did I do wrong to make these folks think it was OK to lie?"
Are we seeing the early makings of a kinder, gentler Chris Christie?
That would change his brand, but another part of his image took the biggest dent - that of a no-nonsense governor above the pettiness of politics. That's why he hugged Obama when he arrived at the Jersey Shore with a federal bag o' aid. The tea party still chokes on that image.
As for national aspirations, Big Boy still has the tea party to deal with (no small issue in early primary states), but he has two long years to recover from this mess.
While Dems will use BridgeGate as a convenient dog whistle, we know two things about American voters. They are forgiving - and they are forgetful.
It ain't over until the fat man bellows.
On Twitter: @StuBykofsky