Chris Christie rails against NRA, calls ad 'reprehensible'
January 17th, 2013
06:31 PM ET
5 years ago

Chris Christie rails against NRA, calls ad 'reprehensible'

(CNN) – Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey skewered the National Rifle Association Thursday for referencing the president's children in a political attack commercial.

Speaking in a press conference, the outspoken governor decried the move as "reprehensible" and argued the group lost some credibility by making the ad.

"And I think for any of us who are public figures, you see that kind of ad and you cringe. You cringe because it's just not appropriate in my view to do that," he said. "They've got real issues to debate on this topic. Get to the real issues. Don't be dragging peoples' children into this. It's wrong."

Video of his comments were posted on the governor's official YouTube page.

The NRA ad, which blasts President Obama as an "elitist hypocrite," asks why he opposes the idea of placing armed guards in every school–a proposal pushed by the NRA–despite the fact that his own children attend a school with similar security.

"Are the president's kids more important than yours?" a narrator says in the 30-second ad. "Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools, when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school."

Released Tuesday night, the ad only airs on the Sportsman Channel, but has gained strong media attention, both on the airwaves and online.

Christie, a father of four, said the commercial went too far.

"My children had no choice realistically in what I've decided to do with my career and what effect that's had on their lives," he said. "The president doesn't have a choice and his children don't have a choice of whether they're going to be protected or not. The reality is our lives in American society don't lead to that, and I think it's awful to bring public figures' children into the political debate. They don't deserve to be there."

Defending the ad, NRA President David Keene said Wednesday on CNN that the ad wasn't specifically about Obama's two daughters, but about all children who attend schools with private security.

"What we're talking about is folks who have protection for their own children…and then pooh-pooh the idea that the average American's children shouldn't have the same sort of protection," he said on "The Situation Room."

Christie's comments will no doubt spark some criticism from certain conservative circles that chided him for appearing too close to Obama in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which destroyed large chunks of the New Jersey shoreline. The two appeared together to survey the damage, and Obama was the subject of high praise from Christie.

While Christie has spoken out in the gun control debate, he has yet to take a firm stance on either side, saying rather the country should have a discussion about a comprehensive set of solutions rather than focusing solely on guns.

But the governor, considered to be a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, pulled no punches in expressing his thoughts about the NRA's actions, adding that such a move "demeans them."

"It makes them less of a valid, trusted source of information on the real issues that confront this debate," he said.

Filed under: Ads • Chris Christie • NRA
soundoff (862 Responses)
  1. RDB

    WOW!.....Profiles in Courage.......

    January 18, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. City Teacher

    I teach in an urban high school in an area with a high crime rate. Armed teachers is the dumbest idea ever. All it will take is one student knocking out a teacher and stealing their gun before the bullets and the lawsuits start flying. The liability issues would be enormous.

    January 18, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. Bill

    Interesting comments by Mr. Christie. I guess I'm confused...did the president not include children during his recent announcement of gun laws? I find that to be EXACTLY what the NRA said it was. Hypocrisy!

    January 18, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. Roger

    Gov. Christie once again has shown he is a true leader and one who should be taken seriously. He is the most rational republican around right now and I hope he continues to separate himself from all the whack jobs that have taken over the republican party. I don't know if I could ever vote for him as some of his views really conflict with my beliefs, but this is a man I have great respect for and would trust should he ever be elected POTUS.

    January 18, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. JAW

    To Rush Lanbaugh: You are correct when you say Christie is not a "real republican". A "real republican" today is a far-right Tea Partier, anti-gay, anti-minority, anti-woman lackey of the NRA, who will vote against the President no matter what. In 1999, Ronald Reagan proclaimed that he was a gun owner and NRA member, but he supported the Brady Bill. When he was governor, he stated that there is absolutely no reason for a person to walk the streets with a loaded weapon. President G.W. Bush declared his support for universal background checks for all prospective gun owners. I have been a registered republican for nearly 30 years, and it has gotten to the point where I am embarrassed to admit it.

    January 18, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Alicia

    The ad never attacked the presidents children and anyone that thinks so is reading into something thy want to re-interpret into. It's a qualitative statement and not unfair.

    Christie has a lot more to do than stick his nose into a "fight for our lives right now" clean up his own weather ravaged, toxic filled state. besides, I highly doubt Obama cares about other people's kids when he kills them in drone strikes and lists them as collateral damage. That, in itself is criminal.

    January 18, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Getagrip

    Okay, we agree that it was inappropriate for the NRA to use the children of the President in their ads. However, isn't it just as inappropriate for the President to parade the children (and thier families) from Sandy Hook in front of the media when he announced his gun control policy???? Just asking.

    January 18, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. Parsons

    Whats the difference between President Obama using children in his speech outlining his gun control and the NRA using children in their tv add . None . Our children deserve protection also. The more Governor Christie speaks , the more I dislike him.

    January 18, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Frank

    Chris, move over to the Democrat party already, you are doing the GOP no good and you have lost your values for which it stands. Totally embarrassed that you still try to call yourself a Republican!
    On the contrary, he may bring some sanity to the Republican party. I think he should stay with his current party affiliation.

    January 18, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Ben

    I wonder what he said when Obama used children to make his push to violate the Constitution?

    January 18, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. sativa619

    Time to make an organization other than the NRA for protecting the 2nd Amendment. They've gone way too far to the right. Needs to be a gun rights organization that isn't hellbent on gun sales and possession, but is there to promote REAL responsibility with firearms. Look out NRA, the sane people will force you out of management if you're not careful. We don't need more wack job organizations spending $$ to convince you of their point. My new years resolution will be this "If you have to spend any amount of money to convince me of your point, you're automatically wrong."

    January 18, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. RC

    I agree.
    Children should not be used for politics Mr. President (Oh Lord and Savior)

    January 18, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Anonymous

    "The president doesn't have a choice and his children don't have a choice of whether they're going to be protected or not."
    Well actually if his children are being protected by armed guards, I am pretty sure that he is the one that ordered them there. So yeah, he had a choice.

    January 18, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Rob

    The NRA add reminds me of the Seinfeld episode, "The Package," where Jerry and George debate who is more bombable. The NRA has no idea what course to take, so it is just resorting to throwing Hail Mary passes. You know how to win an argument with the NRA? Don't say anything and let them do all of the talking.

    January 18, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. NC Mom

    I'm so disgusted with the NRA. The president's children must have Secret Service protection. I are deeply about our children but can't imagine every school being treated as an armed encampment. That's just sad. It's better to get to the root cause and prevention. There is a problem with the ATF since the ability to act on issues has been legislated away by our Congress. That needs to be fixed so that they can act on the laws in place. Reporting of violent offenders, and people with mental issues pointing to serious instability is a good start. Mostly, I don't want to see our criminals armed better than our police. I don't want to take away guns from people who use them for hunting or security, I want to be sure those who can acquire guns will use them with discretion.

    January 18, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. v_mag

    Charles said: "They do have a point though!!!!! Why can our children not have as close to the same security at our childrens schools that the Presidents children have?"
    Let's do a thought experiment. The President is just a man like I am. He has a whole Secret Service to protect him night and day. So, why can't the government fund the same level of protection for me and every other man in the United States?

    If the answer to the above is not blatantly obvious, then poor Charles is a lost cause.

    January 18, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. Steven Colo

    Good. The NRA owed it to us to be a representative for all Americans regarding the use of firearms. Instead, they became a one-sided advocate for guns no matter what the situation. While I do appreciate them being a voice to ensure we consider the 2nd Amendment, they've been too strident, too resistant to rational discussion, too willing to prolong the status quo of everyday shootings in order to hold onto their guns.

    January 18, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. Capn Kirk

    The NRA needs to reflect a few months back. The negative, personal attacks on the President that would rather paint an "US Vs. Them" picture, rather than sit down and find some common ground and compromises, seriously hurt the GOP in the latest Presidential bid. Such attacks allowed the Democrats to paint the GOP as mean and out-of-touch. I mean, seriously, the NRA cranked up the propaganda and called the President an elite hypocrite before he even announced his proposal. That makes the NRA look completely unwilling to even discuss the issue.

    January 18, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  19. eli

    An advice for NRA. Join the discussion about Gun safety and stop acting like a bully before you become obsolete. Also right wing talk show hosts like Bortz etc should be ashamed of themselves.

    January 18, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. GS

    Christie is just playing politics to try to get his state more money from the feds for hurricane relief. He needs to go on a diet if he ever wants to be any kind of role model.

    January 18, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Bobby

    I don't get it. Everybody is up in arms about an add which makes REFERENCE to a FACT that the pres sends his kids to a school with armed guards yet wants gun-control for eveyone else. Also, the add NEVER specifically used images of the pres's kids.

    However, the pres DID parade children on stage while promoting his plan for gun-control and the need for executive orders. If that wasn't a clear attempt at emotional politicising I don't know what is. What's the difference people?

    Personally, I'm glad the NRA has the guts to come into the ring fighting. Why pull punches? Is what they showed in ther add a lie? NO!!! It is fact. So unless you can prove their message was based on lies...shut up and take the heat when it comes exposing the truth. My kids deserve the EXACT SAME protection his kids do. Don't yours?!

    January 18, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. rs

    I love the NRA defenders here- They can't tell the difference between a veiled threat against the children of the President of the U.S., and having children present to announce potential laws that will protect them, and the NRA that seeks to protect the rights of those who shoot children.

    January 18, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. SPOT

    Christie is the only Republican I will listen to. All of the others are not worth my time. Why does he want to be
    identified as a Republican. Seem like the NRA owns all the others. What a cheap SHOT at the Presidents family. Shame on you all who don't have the guts to say how wrong it was to their (NRA) face. Come on, do you really need more children as targets for the NRA'S?

    January 18, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Damian X

    Christie is right! He's one of the few Republican's that makes any sense.

    January 18, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Ben Yaweh

    The NRA is and was wrong to say that teh President is an elitist hypocrite because his children are protected by armed guards. what a stupid and lame argument and ad! We all know that the children and close family members of and President, Republican or Democrat, are easy targets for enemies of the state and therefore they must be protected. The children don't like it, but because of their father is the President of the USA, armed Secret Service protection is not something that they can opt out of. When Pres. Obama was a senator or even before that, neither he nor his children had armed security. NIce article on teh subject in today's washington Post by pres. Eisenhower's daughter.

    January 18, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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