Chris Christie Explains Chemical Weapons to Children

At an elementary school Q&A, the governor expounded on everything from tax policy to his building skills.

Gov. Chris Christie talks to a family in Moonachie, N.J., Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013.
National Journal
Matt Berman
Sept. 6, 2013, 8:05 a.m.

New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie, a likely 2016 pres­id­en­tial con­tender with a his­tory of us­ing col­or­ful lan­guage, faced one of his tough­er chal­lenges this week: field­ing ques­tions from ele­ment­ary-school stu­dents.

Christie vis­ited the Robert L. Craig Ele­ment­ary School in Moon­ach­ie, N.J., on Thursday to help re­open the school after it was sig­ni­fic­antly dam­aged dur­ing last year’s hur­ricane. While there, he spent about 40 minutes run­ning a Q&A with the school’s kids. And they came pre­pared.

Take this ques­tion, from a child named Jac­ob Mc­Cray, that riled up seem­ingly every­one.

Ap­par­ently, chil­dren are thrilled by tax policy.

Re­spond­ing to a ques­tion on Syr­ia from a 12-year-old who watches “a lot” of CNN, Christie said that chem­ic­al weapons are “an aw­ful thing,” but that the situ­ation is “com­plic­ated.” The gov­ernor may’ve been ton­ing down his lan­guage to speak to a preteen, but the rest of his an­swer on Syr­ia really isn’t so dif­fer­ent from what we’ve heard from oth­er politi­cians who are on the fence when it comes to a mis­sile strike:

I think the pres­id­ent is hav­ing a hard time fig­ur­ing ex­actly what it is he wants to do. We’ll see what the pres­id­ent and Con­gress come up with, but the use of those weapons is a bad thing and it’s not something that we should per­mit folks from coun­tries around the world to do.

Even the “bad thing” line isn’t so dif­fer­ent from the “bad guys” Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry and Sen. John Mc­Cain, R-Ar­iz., told us about this week. Either Christie is par­tic­u­larly ad­ept at talk­ing with chil­dren like they’re adults, or — at least on Syr­ia — many politi­cians have been talk­ing to adults like they’re chil­dren.

Christie kept up the “bad things” talk when he got a ques­tion from a stu­dent on “il­leg­al guns.” There’s no solu­tion that can pre­vent all vi­ol­ence, Christie told the kids, be­cause “the truth is that bad people do bad things.”

The gov­ernor, at least ac­cord­ing to The Re­cord, en­joyed him­self at the Q&A, and answered every ques­tion that came his way. That in­cludes a re­sponse con­firm­ing that, un­like Sen­ate can­did­ate Cory Book­er, Christie has nev­er saved any­one from a burn­ing build­ing. And Christie didn’t build any of the trail­ers the school had used as tem­por­ary classrooms, be­cause it’s a “chal­lenge” for him to “build any­thing that really mat­ters.” 

And how about his job? “I love be­ing gov­ernor. You should try it one day.”

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4425) }}

What We're Following See More »
FRENCH IS A LAWYER, VETERAN
Kristol Recruiting National Review’s David French for Third-Party Run
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Two Republicans intimately familiar with Bill Kristol’s efforts to recruit an independent presidential candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have told Bloomberg Politics that the person Kristol has in mind is David French -- whose name the editor of the Weekly Standard floated in the current issue of the magazine.

French is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the website of National Review, where French is a staff writer, he is a constitutional lawyer, a recipient of the Bronze Star, and an author of several books who lives in Columbia, Tenn., with his wife Nancy and three children."

Source:
CALIFORNIA VOTES IN A WEEK
Jerry Brown Backs Clinton
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

California Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed Hillary Clinton today, calling her "the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump." While praising Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign, Brown said "Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee. ... This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other. The general election has already begun."

Source:
GLASS CEILING STILL HARD TO CRACK
Clinton Says Voters Still Hung Up on Gender
15 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a New York Magazine profile, Hillary Clinton said she still encounters misogyny at her own events: “‘I really admire you, I really like you, I just don’t know if I can vote for a woman to be president.’ I mean, they come to my events and then they say that to me.”

Source:
CHANGE WE CAN’T BELIEVE IN
Trump Vows Not to Change
15 hours ago
THE LATEST
Source:
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
4 days ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

×