New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose political hug of President Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy raised Republican hackles, has now criticized the National Rifle Assn. for the group's anti-gun control ad that referenced the president's two daughters.
Considered a potential GOP national candidate in 2016, Christie on Thursday went after the NRA, which is part of the coalition that forms the GOP’s conservative wing. The ad argues that because Obama’s daughters have armed security, regular parents deserve the same treatment in the wake of last month’s deadly rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The NRA has said it is in favor of putting armed guards in schools and opposes putting limits on owning guns and ammunition as Obama has proposed.
“To talk about the president’s children or any public officer’s children who have -- not by their own choice, but by requirement -- to have protection and to use that somehow to try to make a political point I think is reprehensible,” Christie said at a news conference in which he discussed gun control.
“My children had no choice that I wanted to run for governor. I pretended that they did. I asked them what they thought. But in the end, they had absolutely no choice in whether I ran for governor or not. And they knew that, by the way, when I was asking them, which is why they didn’t spend a whole lot of time answering.”
“But the effects on their lives are significant,” he told reporters. “And they’re a full couple of steps down from the effect that it would have if, you know, when your father’s president of the United States, and the security concerns that go along with that.”
Attacking the NRA may not disqualify Christie as a potential GOP candidate, but it is just the latest in a series of contrarian steps the pugnacious governor has taken.
After Hurricane Sandy tore through his state and others, Christie spoke well of Obama’s efforts to bring immediate aid to New Jersey, which Obama visited. The governor -- who had criticized Obama earlier in the presidential campaign and was an announced supporter of GOP candidate Mitt Romney -- explained that his responsibilities as governor trumped his politics. Christie also had delivered the keynote address at the GOP convention last year.
Then, earlier this month, Christie criticized Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) for delaying House consideration of a Hurricane Sandy relief bill that eventually passed the GOP-controlled House. The cost of the aid package was more than $60 billion.
“All I can tell you is this was the speaker’s decision, his alone,” Christie said at the time.
Christie is seeking reelection as governor. With approval ratings higher than 70%, Christie is considered a prohibitive favorite in the usually Democratic state.
However, Republicans elsewhere have taken notice of Christie’s rebellious comments.
In an interview on Friday with a conservative radio host, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, also a potential 2016 contender and heir to his father's libertarian constituency, cast doubt on Christie's chances for national office under the GOP banner.
"I think criticizing the 2nd Amendment movement and the over-the-top 'give me my money' stuff, 'I want all 60 billion now or I’ll throw a tantrum,' I don’t think that’s going to play well in the Republican primary,” Paul said.
He spoke on "The Laura Ingraham Show."