Amid controversy, Chris Christie focuses on N.J. Super Bowl

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, seen here during a visit to the Super Bowl security operations center Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, predicted a win for the Denver Broncos.  (AP Photo/Mel Evans,pool) AP

Updated at 2:45 p.m.

Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., who’s dealing with controversy as well as sinking poll numbers and whose state is hosting Super Bowl XLVIII, predicted a win for the Denver Broncos when they take on the Seattle Seahawks this weekend.

“I believe Denver is going to win the game. I think it’s going to be a close game and a good game, and I think Seattle will give them every ounce of effort they can. In the end, I like [Peyton] Manning and [Knowshon] Moreno,” Christie told WIP radio Thursday.  

He’s also hoping that this year’s game – tug-of-war between New York and New Jersey over who is the true host (the game is taking place at MetLife Stadium, which is located in East Rutherford, N.J., a suburb of New York City) – will open up opportunities for northeastern states to host future outdoor games despite the cold February weather.

“Yes, I do [see it happening again] and I think that what they’re going to see, what they’ve seen this week and what they’re going to see on Sunday, is there’s absolutely no reason that football can be play in this type of weather in November, in December, and early and mid January, but somehow can’t be played in the first week of February,” he said. “These cities, other cities beside New York, New Jersey area, places like Boston and Chicago for instance, are major cities that have a lot to offer and could put on a wonderful experience for the fans and the teams for the Super Bowl. We’re happy to be the guinea pigs.”

The hosting gig comes as Christie’s administration is under investigation for shutting down the George Washington Bridge lanes in Fort Lee, N.J., as political retribution against the city’s mayor. Other allegations have complicated the original scandal, including one from the mayor of Hoboken, N.J., who said Christie’s lieutenant governor, Kim Guadango, threatened to withhold Superstorm Sandy relief if the mayor didn’t move forward with a development project. 

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said on WABC Thursday that the odds are "fifty-fifty" that Christie did not know his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, had ordered the shutdown of the access lanes to the bridge.

"It leaves you with no possible way of knowing did she discuss it with him or didn't she discuss it with him," said Giuliani. He defended the governor, saying he was being "unfairly treated."

But Giuliani has moderated his defense of Christie in recent weeks. Earlier this month, he said in an appaerance on "Meet the Press" that, "There are no facts on the table that contradict Gov. Christie...Every fact seems to indicate that Gov. Christie is telling the truth."

A New York Times article published Thursday  details the pressure that the mayor, Dawn Zimmer, felt from attorneys for the developer and the Christie administration to move ahead with the business and residential project.

The scandal has opened Christie up to several investigations about how he uses his political power. A separate article in the Bergen Record notes that Christie’s brother, Todd, who was active in the gubernatorial campaigns, bought and sold a number of properties close to the PATH station in Harrison that was about to undergo a $256 million renovation Christie had promoted.

Meanwhile, a lawyer who once worked in Christie’s counsel’s office and at a law firm that used to employ Christie has been named to lead the state Ethics Commission. In that role, she will have the power to decide which ethics investigations to pursue, including any complaints filed against

Christie administration officials, many of whom are tied up in the ongoing investigations of the bridge scandal.

The lawyer, Susan Guerrero, is widely respected and was approved by the bipartisan ethics commission, Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts said.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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