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. Jesus Christ Superstar

    What I don't understand in this whole thing is that it is ok for the president to surround himself with other people's children when he is presenting his proposal and use them as props and a photo-op. but for the NRA to mention that his daughters go to a school with armed guards is "reprehensible".

    Jeff, it's the difference between voluntary & mandatory. The children who were on stage with President Obama wrote him letters & volunteered their time to his cause. Obama's daughters, who were in the NRA ad, did not give permission & do not support the NRA's cause. It's silly this needs to be explained to you.

    January 18, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. maine liberal

    3. Of course, every right thinking citizen will hope that the American sense of justice and fair play will prevail in this case. It will be a sad day for this country–both at home and abroad-if school children safely attend their classes only under the protection of armed guards.


    January 18, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  3. John Ross

    .it must be terrible to live in a country with this much fear..

    January 18, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  4. Juliemac

    Life time member this month myself.
    The NRA does a great job teaching gun safety, sets standards of safe shooting and organizing events.
    They help instill self reliance and self confidence of the junior members.
    If you are not a shooter, then you would not know that. Thats why you cant tell the difference between an assault weapon and a 22 caliber rifle.
    NRAILA is a separate branch that protects the 2nd amendment not the now much maligned NRA.

    January 18, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Ray

    No different then the president parading children around all day to further his agenda.

    January 18, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. Keith in NJ

    Go get em Chris. Finally a republican with some brass ones who is not afraid of the NRA. Chris is not afraid of anyone. We are NJ.

    January 18, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  7. Ancient Texan

    Christie is becoming more and more irrelevent.

    January 18, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. desert_buckeye

    I hunt and own guns and believe responsible people have the right to purchase and own firearms. With that being said, I still have not heard a good argument why the public should own automatic weapons. Guns frequently fall in the wrong hands and do deadly harm. No one other than law wnforcement officers or military personnel should own an assualt weapon. Machoism and self-centered lack of regard for the rest of society is all I can come up with? The NRA keeps trying to change the subject and not address the real problem.

    January 18, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. rs

    Good for Christie- It is utterly crazy for the GOP to defend the status quo on guns and gun laws- it simply shows they are completely out-of-step with the vast majority of Americans. More than 1,000 Americans have died because of guns since the Newtown Massacre. Only a blithering idot can think that is "normal" or acceptable.

    January 18, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  10. Edwin

    Christie has his own opinions, not those spoon-fed to him by the GOP/conservative leadership. If he continues to actually think for himself they will push him out of the GOP like they did governor Crist of Florida.

    January 18, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  11. JC

    NRA lacks common sense and this is the problem with our inability to have a serious debate about serious issues. Any major politician and their family needs armed protection due to the extremist in our society. A normal American doesn’t have extremist looking for any way to prove a point. Thank you Gov Chrisite for bring back common sense logic.

    January 18, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The NRA has one product only: they sell fear ..."

    Here's hoping that after 12 years of selling fear, the RNC ... oops I mean the NRA ... has finally come to realize that America has gotten beyond the sleeping under their bed and actually wants a Republican political party that is ready and able to come up with solutions for all America ... not just the zombies living under their beds America has come to know really do exist - aka TeaPer led fear.

    January 18, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  13. PuzzledInPeoria

    If Christie isn't careful, he's going to start making sense.

    January 18, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  14. Sane in Maine

    So if the NRA gets their way, schools will have one or two retired cops in their 70's with a 38 on their hip and probabaly while they're napping will be the time when several gunman (or gunwoman or gunteenagers) bust into the schools with automatics and blow them away right in the middle of their nap. If teachers are required to be armed, then why not doctors and nurses in hospitals too – and why not the patients? JeeWizz according to the NRA that best thing that could happen to America is that we all carry guns – all of us! That would surley lead to less gun violence – RIGHT? Is anyone listening to what they are saying? Everyone Armed = Less Gun Violence – RIGHT?

    January 18, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  15. Draka

    I voted for president Obama,I have own guns since I was sixteen,and I support background checks and the ban on magazines over 10 rounds . The commercial makes a fair comparison and and a good point. I am about to join the NRA and If president Obama reaches to far I will vote republican for the rest of my life. Before you label me a toothless coward I am a registered nurse , come do my job

    January 18, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  16. enuff

    And Palin responded...

    January 18, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  17. Draka

    And yes I should have typed owned instead of own

    January 18, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  18. luke,az

    The NRA is making the Republican party more irrelevant as each day passes. GOP(Guns over People). An appropriate acronym for a dying party.

    January 18, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. sasss31

    Chris Christie has really been impressing me lately for standing up to what's right; and against the bullying of the hard right. He should leave the Republican party altogether and become an independent.

    January 18, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  20. Nimrod

    I've seen the ad and don't find it even a little bit offensive. The clear point of the ad was that many of the people calling for the disarming of the "common folk" are rather hypocritically surrounded by armed guards. The purpose of the ad is to show the hypocrisy of anyone whose children attend schools where there is an armed presence to provide security saying that having armed guards in schools is NOT a good idea for others. Of course, the children of the "elite" might be seen as choice targets for people intent on doing harm, but if Sandyhook showed anything it is that being the child of a celebrity is not a prerequisite to be a target.

    January 18, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. ST

    I do not mean to be rude but am forced to be. NRA you are stupid people or you have very little brains. You are selling guns and yet you dare to make an offensive Ad on the presidents kids. Stop selling your guns and nobody will care to guard presidents kids. They are guarding them because of the guns you are selling to people with no limit. I do think you are testing people how they do think.

    January 18, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  22. The Other Dale

    The frustration Christie is having with the NRA is the same one he had near the end of the Presidential election – namely that these groups are doing everything in their power to drive people away. Who in their right minds think that a sitting-president's children shouldn't have armed guards nearby? So the NRA ends up looking like a much of incompetent morons who don't understand the world at all.

    The thing is, gon-owners do have something constructive to say in the area of gun-control and most gun-owners are sensible about it, but the NRA is quite prepared to make them all look like ignorant yaloos who are preparing a coupe if even a bullet is suggest to be harder to get. There's a reason Republicans and Conservatives are seeing their numbers dwindle – it's not that people don't want to be Republicans and Conservatives, it's that they're embarrassed to be one right now.

    The NRA really could have taken the ball and done some good here. Instead, they're pretty much setting the stage for restrictive gun-control because no one wants to be associated with them. Well, except Mark C and his imaginary 25 friends.

    January 18, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  23. GOP is for the rich

    Putting guards in the schools has a slight chance of working.....until the guard goes nuts and becomes the shooter!
    Seriously,the guard will be the first one shot in an attack. A person planning an attack targets any armed guards first. This is not hard to understand.

    January 18, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  24. rs


    Life time member this month myself.
    They help instill self reliance and self confidence of the junior members.
    Teaching people to be scared so that they "need" the crutch of a gun- instead of being able to "live" without one DOES NOT teach self-reliance.

    January 18, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  25. Jeff

    JC, I completely agree that politicians and there families need protection, but I would think the victims of Newtown, Aurora, VT, etc. would hace liked protection from those extremists proving points by shooting as you say "normal Americans". Have you every wondered why none of the victims are politicians and their families? probably because they are protected by good guys with guns. Violence is the issue, not guns.

    January 18, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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