Christie Says Scandal Scrutiny Has Been ‘Awful’

But adds 'I'm not growing a new personality'

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Julio Cortez / AP

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivers his State of the State address at the State House in Trenton, N.J., on Jan. 14, 2014

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie candidly acknowledged Monday that the harsh media spotlight shining on him following a high-profile traffic scandal has taken a personal toll.

“I don’t think anybody knows what it feels like to have the kind of attention that I’ve had in the last nine days until you go through it,” Christie told Yahoo News. “It’s awful. Listen, it’s awful. I can explain to you as vividly as you like, but you won’t get it.

“I’m trying to get my arms around an awful situation,” he added, “and understand it, and then address it, and then resolve it.”

Christie has apologized and fired a top deputy for the scandal in which aides snarled traffic in a north Jersey town in an apparent political payback ploy against the town’s mayor for not endorsing his re-election campaign.

The governor was interviewed Friday, before the mayor of Hoboken, N.J., added to his political woes by claiming his administration threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy relief funds unless she supported a development project. Christie’s lieutenant governor denied that Monday.

“I will learn things from this,” Christie told Yahoo of the traffic scandal’s fallout. “I know I will. I don’t know exactly what it is yet that I’ll learn from it. But when I get the whole story and really try to understand what’s going on here, I know I’m going to learn things.”

But even as he was introspective, the likely GOP presidential candidate said the party’s 2016 nominee will probably be a governor, and that he doesn’t foresee any radical changes within himself because of the scandal: “I’m not growing a new personality at 51.”