(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.
Chistie is not the " almighty voice of the people" he should just govern and be quiet ... sometimes you just need to stop changing the lime light. Also i do not think that the NRA was attacking the Presidents children, they were just comparing them to your kids and mine. ...protecting is protecting no matter if they are the Presidents kids or ours.
What is the difference between President Obama using children on stage with him to get support for gun control and the NRA using children on a tv add . None . Our children deserve protection just like politicians children do. Governor Christie might as well switch to a Democrat . The more he speaks , the more I dislike him.
All of those trying to claim it was ok for the NRA to bring children into it because President Obama did when he had his speech on gun control are forgetting one thing – those children got to decide whether they wanted to be there. Obama's children were brought into the ad unwillingly. It's sad you can't see the difference.
Christie is one of the few Republicans smart enough to realize that if you keep shifting your message further to the right and catering to those with extreme views, and alienating more moderate people. Your party will continue along with the NRA will continue to become more irrelevent, and not part of a rational adult conversation about solving problems
The NRA is a brillant business institution. They have managed; to pay for an ad on a small cable network and get national attention, help sell out gun retailors inventory, and increase its membership. Of course, they have lost a huge amount of credibility but hey they can just hire a PR firm to take care of that.
@ryan_c_f. You really don't get it. The NRA ad makes a ridiculous comparison.
1. The presidents are a potential target of every nutjob and terrorist and are being protected by highly trained professionals.
2. Putting teachers / volunteers in schools with guns is asking for disaster. Who defines the rules of engagement? Who protects the kids from the volunteers? How big guns do they need? Should they have RPGs to deal with intruders with long-range rifles? How many kids will die in unnecessary crossfire?
I specifically don't want anyone who wants to strut around with a gun around my kids, especially NRA members.
If the democrats dont have a viable candidate in 2016, Chris Christie will be the first republican (and only the second) that I have voted for in decades. He is fair, honest and balanced. Thats a lot more than I can say about those other rabid beavers in his party. He calls it like it is while staying true to his convictions. He doesnt seek to take cheap shots at the president because of his race (which all the others are obviously doing under the cover of politics). If he has a true beef with the president, he states that as passionately as when he supports him. That is what built America and this is what will keep her going, working together for the good of all.
It's very refreshing to see any politician providing an honest and frank assessment of the situation. While I have voted Dem the past few years, mostly because of the Repub extremists views these days, I'd certainly take a very serious look at the Governor if he were to run for President because he isn't scared for his job or to tell the truth!
I do admire Christie's pragmatic, common sense approach and his clear desire to do/say what is right rather than just what will score political points. Democrats and Republicans need more people like him...we might actually get things done in Washington if people had his "get things done" approach.
The photograph of kids behind the President signing executive orders beefing up background checks in the name of gun control sends an unmistakable message, in my opinion, of thought control for the future. The issue here is not guns, but the right to speak your mind without fear of retribution from the government-OR the NRA. What the USA sorely needs, that we used to have in the past, but not any more-are politicians of moral courage who have the statesmanlike ability to suspend their core beliefs and compromise with their opponents across the aisle for the good of the country. Yes, the right to bear arms is a constitutional right, but the other side of the equation seems to be conveniently forgotten-with rights come responsibilities. The NRA has forgotten the responsibility side, the government has forgotten the rights side. Come on, now, enough is enough. Work it out!!!
The NRA has jumped the shark so far with their stance and messages.
The irony here is that when Obama used kids in his anti-gun ad, it was perfectly fine. But the moment the NRA does the same, it's "dragging peoples' children into this".
Well, it looks to me like Christie sees an opening for a real Republican leader and he is taking it. Before the tea-party-whipped rest of them catch up, he'll be long gone for the 2016 run. I'm not a Republican, but I admire his strategy a lot. Good program, Gov.
Why is it that the NRA (which represents about 1% of the US population) seems to have more power than the 99%? Oh wait... I get it!
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
The fact you even have to ask this question tells you how badly informed you are. Get informed first, then see if you think the NRA is right about anything. You'll find reality makes a lot more sense once you step outside the echo chamber.
The NRA is just revealing itself for what it is. Now that they're being called out publicly, they're trying to take the hard edge off it. But only because they're getting pushback. Pathetic.
Christie is just running for President a little early. I don't trust him
He's sure making a push to put himself in a position to run for the Presidency. Sad that simply speaking a few truths that the extremists of your party won't like is groundbreaking, but it is in our current climate.
I don't know why there is not more outrage about the NRA. Lawrence O'Donnell in "The last word" revealed who are at the top of this organization: CEO's of the weapon industry, absolutely disgusting.
Does the NRA not know that Obama put money aside for cops in schools?
See if he feels different when a home invasion happens to one of his family?
I like Christie...at least he doesn't pander to his constituents or his party...he calls it the way he sees it regardless of which party..he's one of the few rational Republicans left in this country.
Christie should change parties already. He will, eventually.
Christie is the new John McCain. that's good since John McCain is the new Jim DeMint
the only Republican with the guts and spine to come forward like this, all the rest are spineless cowards going on bended knee to the disgusting creatures at the NRA