Now it looks like the Garden State's own sloppy homework is to blame, CBS News Correspondent Elaine Quijano reports.
It was the rant heard around the political world.
"Anybody in Washington, D.C., have a lick of common sense?" Republican Gov. Chris Christie told reporters Wednesday. "Are you guys just down there checking boxes like mindless drones?"
Christie publicly blamed the Obama administration for New Jersey's failed bid to get a $400 million federal education grant.
"This is the stuff that makes people go nuts," said Christie. "This is the reason why people want to throw everybody the hell out of Congress. This is why people are angry at the president of the United States."
But a day later, the Education Department fired back, releasing a video showing Christie's top education officials unable to answer questions about their incomplete application.
"Can you explain how or where this information was presented in your application?" a federal official asked.
"No, I cannot; I don't …," a New Jersey official said.
New Jersey officials apparently never produced the information and missed the cut by three points.
On Friday, Christie fired his education chief, saying he got bad information.
"I was extremely disappointed to learn that the videotape … was not consistent with the information provided to me," Christie said in a written statement. "I regret this mistake was made."
It's a major embarrassment for the rookie governor widely viewed as a rising Republican star.
"People go to the videotape now," said Glenn Thrush, a White House reporter for Politico. "There's very little that can't be verified, so if you're a public official and you're going to say something controversial, you better make sure there isn't a videotape out there contradicting you."
For Christie, it's a public lesson on the importance of doing your homework in the age of modern media.