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. Observer

    The ads are despicable and the worse kind of misleading. First of all, Obama, or any other public person/official who receives Secret Service protection, doesn't ask for it. It is given to them. Did the Bush twins ever receive Secret Service protections, or Chelsea Clinton, or Barbara Bush? Of course they did. Calling Obama a hypocrite over the fact that his family receives protection is absolutely ridiculous. Is it possible that his family might receive this protection because they are at a much, much higher risk than the "regular" child? Who do you think a terrorist organization would value more as a target, President Obama's daughters or John Smith of Des Moines, Iowa? No one is suggesting that Obama's children are more valuable. They simply are at a much elevated risk. These commercials are just playing on weak minds.

    January 19, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Clint

    This is for Jim (who posted on 1/19 @ 10:23 AM): the difference is that the four children sitting behind the President while he signed the 23 executive orders are just ordinary citizens, not the President. Politician's families (whether by name or general reference) have traditionally been off limits for political infighting, and the NRA's specific mention of the President's children in a purely political ad is therefore in extremely bad taste.

    Because you seem to believe that President Obama is to blame for the partisanship that dominates Washington, I suggest you read a very good book called, "It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism" by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein. They're two highly respected political scientists who came to the same conclusion, namely that over the past decade or more it's primarily the Republican party that's created the partisan rancor. Obama tried to negotiate and compromise with them for four years, and that clearly didn't work. Educate yourself, my friend, before casting stones at the wrong target.

    January 19, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. DOG1

    The President AND HIS FAMILY receive daily death threats! More than any other president ever has. Many are probably from "law abiding gun owners" probably wearing their NRA ballcap. The protection of his family is a serious issue not a political tool for these fools. They always talk about how these mass shooters being criminals and they are. But remember they were, in most cases, "law abiding gun owners" who obtained their weapons and ammo"legally" until the day they started slaughtering people, THEN they were a criminal. Why is it the NRA doesn't want to find an answer to that. NRA, stop fighting CDC research into gun violence!

    January 19, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. Richard Debateur

    Gov. Christie is apparently making the argument that it is not his fault nor the President's that their children are more important than ours. He has bought into the notion that politicians and celebrities must have armed protection and the rest of us, well, are just not in their class. The NRA is saying in the ad that ALL children are equally important and should be protected. I would have to agree with that. I am sorry that Gov. Christie has shown this side of himself.

    January 19, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. mike.g.hall

    Ad point was valid. You can't argue against guns when you have guns protecting you. Christie should just make the switch to Democrats since he loves them so much. Hope he loses his election big time!

    January 19, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Andrew

    I don't get it. The presidents children require protection since their life is in danger at all times. We should all want them to have protection so that the president can make global decisions without worrying about some 3rd world thug killing his family. The average child does not require this level of protection. And what, 40% of the population think the NRA made a valid argument?

    January 19, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. RoscoeDude

    Cristie needs to tell it like it is. Cristie is planning to switch to the Democratic side! Christie planes to become a liberal as he knows the momentum is on the Dems side right now. So he will become a Liberal in Conservative clothing, a turn coat. He gets a little recognition and he wants to stay on top. The NRA ad was just and proper in todays politics. With nightmarish liberal and so called journalists like Piers Morgan, an Irish immigrant btw. PM plans to become the highest paid "JOURNALIST" in America and push Christie into the White House as a Democrat. "The world she is a changin" as a knowledgeable fellow once exclaimed. Christie is using the NRA attack upon Obama and his childish hand slapping in his speech on gun control as the fulcrum to switch sides. He wants to join the winning team as he sees it. But alas, Obama has had was to much honeymoon with the American press, it has become almost like a second honeymoon. The media has become a tool of Obama rather than the one journalistic information system.
    Good luck Mr. Christie, but beware, the media can be very fickle. The media forgets what they reported yesterday not to mention last week. Enjoy the Democratic party Mr. Christie, soon the tides will turn back as the nation tires of the Obama wars of American self suicide.

    January 19, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. Mark

    Really? And Obama didn't do anything wrong by using those kids to get an emotional response? FO Christy. The little bit of respect I had for you is now in the toilet as, again, your political tendencies outweigh your rationality.

    January 19, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. budter

    What is wrong with the truth. All major politicos get their kids protected by armed guards at school. But when we talk about the average American it is a stupid idea. And don't sling this stuff about my kids didn't ask me to be a politico. This type of criticism comes with the job Christie. Don't like it quit. But don't complain about being called to task for refusing the perks that you and your family get from your position. Do you not think every American parent would not be happier knowing their kids have this kind of protection at their schools? Quit whining or quit.

    January 19, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Pete

    To all republican posters out there ,don't be surprised if Christie does a Specter and change partys..I think he's had enough of this BS your partys been doing to America for years,the gigs up morons...Add another democrate to the list against yah ,nice ha!!!

    January 19, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. dan darnell

    Bravo Christie. The NRA and the fanatics behind it are EXACTLY like the Taliban. Crazed about one thing or another and especially owning military firearms and blasting everything to pieces.

    They are our own little Taliban. Extremists in every way.

    January 19, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Jim

    What a joke. Perhaps the NRA should do some fact checking- there ARE no armed guards at the president's kids' school, except for Secret Service- which federal law mandates. Shame on this pathetic fear-mongering group. Signed, a concealed carrying, dozen + gun owning liberal American.

    January 19, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. Jay R

    Holy Cow people! Why isn't anyone criticizing Obama's "bringing children into it." He is riding every child he can. From those who died, to letters from children, to even bringing children on stage with him. Obama uses children as body shields and then sends his cronies out to cricize the NRA for discussing children. THIS WHOLE DEBATE IS ABOUT PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN!!!

    January 19, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. maple syrup

    This man is the real deal...republicans should be wetting their pants in exitement knowing this guy will probably run for president. I think he is awesome...he is middle of the road with his social views and outlook but conservative with his fiscal outlook. Embrace him boys and girls...this guy will be good for the good ole USA.

    January 19, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Diane

    Do you have to see the children's bodies to know we need common sense gun laws?

    January 19, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. Charles

    Doug Christie's comments hit the center of the target, and I'm glad he has the guts to speak honestly even if it is not approved by his party. The NRA ad is simply the equivalent of a political attack ad – it is hitting below the belt. The President of the United States and his family have Secret Service protection because he is the highly visible leader of the most powerful country on earth, and is the target for countless threats and real risk. To argue that his kids have armed security yours don't is like saying the President is elitist because he has a private jet and you don't.

    I had to sit through an hour of the Hannity show on Fox last night because I was stuck on the elliptical machine and didn't want to get off to change the channel, and it was like watching a mean-spirited infomercial. Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the NRA was his guest, and they kept talking about how the "elite" politicians and celebrities all have access to armed security, and it is only fair for the rest of the country to have the same. That is hogwash – celebrities pay for their own security, so if you want it and are willing to pay for it, then do so. Politicians are provided security – at least at certain levels – and it's part of the job description, because they are highly visible, and there are a lot of angry, unstable people out there. Just look at the discussion thread on a typical gun rights article and you can see a lot of them.

    The gun rights issue is complex, and there is no simple fix. You need to look beyond the extreme elements on both sides and put together a multi-faceted solution that respects the 2nd amendment but provides a process to obtain and operate guns that is consistent with the responsibility that owning a gun entails.

    January 19, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. dman

    First of all, Obama's children don't get protection, the President of the United States children get protection. Smart people will understand this distinction. Second, no one is stopping any school district in the country from putting armed guards in their schools, so I don't understand the argument. However, thinking armed guards are the end all solution is foolish. After exchanging shot with the armed guard at Columbine, Kleebold and Harris went into the library where they then murdered 12 and wounded 13, so clearly the armed guard (a sheriff's deputy) didn't work there. In fact, a school of that size might need 4 or 5 armed guards to protect it. I have a problem with the idea that you could just let teachers carry guns to keep the children safe. Without the required rigorous training, this plan would be disasterous. Police officers undergo a huge amount of training, and yet there are still incidents of innocent people getting caught in the crossfire.

    January 19, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. alec

    A Republican with balls!!! How refreshing!!!

    January 19, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. DE

    President Obama knows there are a lot of looney gun owners who wouldn't think twice if they had an oportunity to harm the Obama children and is just taking precautions to protect his children from those gun nuts.

    January 19, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. Brian

    I'm a democrat, but if Chris Christe Runs for President, I would vote for him. He doesn't play this stupid game that every other politician seems to stuck too.

    January 19, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. chuck

    Christie need to stop calling himself a Republican, I wanted so bad for him to run for President, but then are started looking what he stood for and how he votes and his stances on conservative issues, and I realized that he is a RINO, (Repulican in name only) I am from Florida and he reminds me of our x Governor Charlie Crist. Ran as A Republican because it was the easiest way to get on the ticket, but was not a republican, and has since switched parties.

    January 19, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. Daydreamer

    David Keene, your ad about Obama targeted Obama, not all the rich people who, you say, have bodyguards for their kids. The ad was a direct response to President Obama's initiatives announced earlier this week to control gun violence. And by the way, if rich people have protection for their children, it's because they've received threats, because their "richness" has made them high profile and a target simultaneously. Honestly, Mr. Keene, with morons like you producing the arguments in favor of guns, it's incomprehensible to me that you have prevailed thus far.

    January 19, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. bobpitt

    Is not right to go after a persons family because you don't agree with the policies.. I said that during attacks to Sarah Palin kids, and I say the same thing now. Attack the idea not the person or his or her families.

    January 19, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Nevenka

    He is highly popular, and he is a maverick. He is honest and exactly for these attributes, he maintains he is popularity. If he doesn't run as the Republicans he can run as an Independent, or even Democrat, but he is not going to change his open attitude. That is what he is and what makes him attractive politician. If you analyze his announcements and his interviews, you'll see that whatever he says makes common sense. So, for these reasons I would vote for him, even never before I thought so. I know conservatives do not like his attitude, but grass root might pick these qualities as very appealing.

    January 19, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Jane

    @DC: 'anti-gun propaganda'????? So, DC, you're willing to go on record saying it's okey doky to have killing machines available to whoever. And they are killing machines, it's not like people will use an AK47 (or a Glock for that matter) as a paperweight. What's it going to take? Is it going to take someone with easy access to these things to shoot up a room full of NRA Board Members? Or your kids, DC?

    January 19, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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