Chris Christie: Brash or Bully?

The governor's known blunt talk has left a trail of moments that some consider not-so-stellar.

Gov. Chris Christie has built a national reputation for being a brash, straight-talking politician whose upfront style can either charm his supporters, or chase away his detractors.

But a growing chorus of detractors have dogged Christie’s rise to national prominence charging that he uses the political strategy of a schoolyard "bully," freezing out or intimidating anyone who opposes him - charges that have gotten louder in the wake of the George Washington Bridge scandal.

During Christie’s re-election campaign, Democratic challenger Barbara Buono used the bully charge loudly and often on the campaign trail - to some, albeit little, advantage.

But after one of Christie’s top aides – whom he abruptly fired Thursday - was accused of calling for what appears to be political retribution over an endorsement snub, even Christie himself seems to be taking the bully charge seriously.

"I am who I am," Christie said in his marathon, two-hour press conference Thursday to address the bridge scandal. "I am not a bully."

Whether you call it brash or bully, there is a pockmarked trail of moments that could dog the political ambitions for the man widely expected to be gearing up for a 2016 presidential run.

Besides the now-infamous "Bridgegate" scandal, here are some others:

Navy SEAL "Idiot"

At a town hall meeting in Burlington County in March, 2012, Christie got into a minutes-long shouting match with William Brown, 34, of Mout Laurel.

Brown, a law student at Rutgers-Camden and former Navy SEAL, challenged Christie on his plan to merge Rutgers with Rowan University.

Brown interrupted the governor several times during Christie’s response before the former Iraq veteran was escorted from the event.

"Let me tell you something,” Christie said. “After you graduate from law school, you conduct yourself like that in a courtroom, your rear end's going to be thrown in jail, idiot."

"Take the bat out''

Christie in 2011 attracted national attention for a verbal slight against about state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-37.

Weinberg, who represents Fort Lee, had said Christie used a double standard in criticizing political allies. Christie responded to reporters on April 13, 2011:

“Can you guys please take the bat out on her for once?’’

"Numb Nuts"

Christie once called Democratic Assemblyman Reed Gusciora "numb nuts" after the lawmaker compared him to segregationist Southern governors. Christie refused to apologize for the 2012 remark.

"Do your job"

Christie has had a longstanding antagonism with New Jersey’s teachers union, which recently resulted in the governor yelling at a teacher asking questions about his stance on education.

On the eve of election day last year, Christie was caught on camera yelling at middle school teacher Melissa Tomlinson, who challenged him on education at an event. “Do your job,’’ Christie reportedly said.

"Are you stupid?"

Christie berated a reporter for being “stupid,’’ calling him an “idiot,’’ for asking what he considered an off-topic question during a 2012 press conference.

Helicopter Ride

Christie faced torrents of criticism in 2011 for using a $12 million State Police helicopter to travel to his son’s baseball game in Bergen County. He later reimbursed the state for the cost of the ride.

Pete January 13, 2014 at 04:55 PM
I love Christie because he put the teachers union thugs in their place, among other things. I’ll overlook his liberal stance on social issues as long as he keeps running the state like a business. If he is so bad, why was he re-elected by such a margin? MANY smart democrats voted for him. If Barb Boner were living in Drumthwacket, the state would now be back in the old democrat down-hill spiral of death.
Frank Pagano January 13, 2014 at 05:53 PM
Judge on the record. Can never please anyone. 2% property tax cap was step in right direction. Local people have to watch local politicians. Thats not his job. Is it not time we had a candidate from NJ for president? I would not mind some of those federal dollars coming here instead of going to Boston for the Big dig and Chicago for god knows what. How about we make NJ transit a real train to attract some larger employers to shore.That spells jobs~
Bob Smith January 13, 2014 at 06:01 PM
I loath Christie. he never did shit with the school unions. They are still raping us taxpayers left and right as well as all of these towns with their over blown civil servants lists. My taxes keep going up and up if only that 2 percent cap you were talking about was real. Its not. There are so many exclusions on that list that its meanlingless to all of us. Health insurance premiums are excluded bonding programs are excluded etc etc etc and the list goes on and on. This whole state is corrupt believe me I know I founded a citizens group several years ago and we were tearing up the crap that these crooks have been stealing from all of us. Christie is worse then them all as he pretends to be something that he is not. He could care less about the middle class and we are the majority in this state. i cant wait for him to resign in disgrace or be impeached and thrown in jail...
Bob Smith January 13, 2014 at 06:04 PM
I so love this comment. I was at the town meeting that Christie the jerk demoralized and Navy Seal because Christie Knows it all and when someone calls him out all he can do his call names. If I ever see him again treat anyone with disrespect I would too make sure he never did it again. He is a creep Brash OR Bully? He's both. And it's that second one that is the problem. When Chris Christie goes to church on Sundays, he should thank God that I don't live in New Jersey. Why? Because I take no crap whatsoever from politicians. As such, if he EVER spoke to me the way he does to others so often, I'd rip him a new one so big, traffic on the George Washington Bridge could be diverted through it. I would remind him in the most Christie-like manner that he's OUR lackey. OUR servant! OUR employee! OUR elected SUBORDINATE! And if a majority of New Jersey voters come to understand that, Christie will be loaded onto the back of a dump trunk and dropped off at the nearest private sector landfill. He makes me sick
J.JONES January 13, 2014 at 06:13 PM
I still would vote for Christie better than who we have now Obama and his lie's and obamacare is killing us ..
CTA January 13, 2014 at 06:54 PM
It's interesting that when occupy Wall Street blocked streets for political means , they ended up in jail......the governors office blocked streets for political reasons. Wonder if any one is going to jail?
Frank Pagano January 13, 2014 at 07:03 PM
Bob I agree about corruption. It is a huge issue in NJ. I see it clearly and it really needs to be dealt with at local level. I have a case filed with attorney general about one of these and i am anxious to see how it gets handled!
Ridgewood Mom January 13, 2014 at 07:18 PM
ed mays January 13, 2014 at 11:12 PM
Mark Ira Kaufman....I sure like your post. I`m a very conservative republican twice voting for Christie. He has to go and he will soon when the ones he threw under the bus throw him under there also.
suz January 14, 2014 at 08:48 AM
Hummm...don't think so. He will be cleared of all involvement. Kelly and Wildstein are power driven, loose cannons. Oh, by the way, the emails that transpired are available online for your reading pleasure. Not one single bit of evidence regarding Christie in this fiasco.
Mac January 14, 2014 at 08:52 AM
good morning suz - I see you opened a new box of Wheaties this morning
Ridgewood Mom January 14, 2014 at 09:12 AM
And what about this…"Feds investigate Christie's use of Sandy relief funds" http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/13/politics/christie-feds-investigating-sandy-ads/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_allpolitics+%28RSS%3A+Politics%29
proudnot2bliberal January 14, 2014 at 09:37 AM
RE ringworm ill type very slowly so you might have a chance to follow this is all being done to clear the way for hialry in 16 just like the media attacked who ever lead in the '12 election w/the scandal of the week which disapeared as quckly as it appeared once the candidate dropped out. Yet the same media STILL refusses to investigate obomas ties to terrorists (bill ayers or the radical rev wright) or the many far left he has in his admin like van jones & other avowed communists. Yes dan I did call names but they pale in caparison to the vulgar names the left used against pres Bush or dare I mention the tizzy when sarah palin is mentioned? And where were the so called feminists to her defense? But Im getting off track. As for the commercial (that proved to very successful) try to think (I know for you libs itll be a 1st) to NO & katrina or esp. to the gulf oil spill 7 how despite the beaches being ready for tourism no one went because the media only reports bad news. Not about teh beaches being clean & ready for tourists. As for the Gov "staring" in the ads like it or not people around the country know him as the face of NJ. Would you have preferred to have the scumbags from white trash at the jersey shore? "yo snooki hey the beaches are open at the shore" good mike lets go sleep with the other r1/2 of the us we havent already & degrade NJ more than we already have. plus how much would bon jovi or springstien charged? and anyone under 40 who isnt from Nj would ask who are these old fosils
Mac January 14, 2014 at 10:02 AM
@proudnot2bliberal - how much did the Governor and his family get paid for starring as the bold face of the NJ beach patrol?
Laura January 14, 2014 at 10:27 AM
Hey, Proudnot At least we liberals can spell and construct a cogent paragraph. If you want someone other than a conservative to read your entire paragraph, please take the time to construct one. I will to decipher it and post my take on it. Obama's ties to Bill Ayers is laughable. The only term I can think of to call Bush would be stupid. (Christie used the word stupid, so I guess that's acceptable) Think of his bushisms. Think of the Iraq war. How is Iraq doing now? Women's rights and Sarah Palin together, in my opinion, could be called an oxymoron. If you think that the pollution from the oil spill in the gulf is completely corrected, you must be watching Fox. While I never watched them, I would venture to guess that Snooki brought more money into NJ and Seaside than those narcissistic ads did. I do believe, that Springsteen or BonJovi would have done ads for free, if asked. (Do you live in a bubble created by Fox?) How the heck old are you? I do hope that you actually know that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. We were lied into a war and it cost us 4,486 men and women who gave their lives for this country and our President's futile pursuit. (remember Mission Accomplished) No charges brought against Bush or Cheney for war crimes. Now back to Christie, when he states he is not a bully, that in itself, means he is. His demeaning retorts reinforce the stereotype that people outside NJ believe about the residents of NJ. It appears to outsiders that we are all thugs and uneducated. While reading some comments on here and other sites, it would appear that some of that is true. It is not true for all NJ citizens. I would leave it to readers of these comments to figure out which posters are thugs or uneducated.
forREALNJ January 14, 2014 at 11:23 AM
You can like his ways or NOT. The Problem is , hes catholic, white, married & over 40. He has everything against him if he wants to speak the truth. Speaking the truth is only called " racist" or being a bully when have those things " against" you. If he were black gay & 28 people would LOVE the way hes outspoken ... Sorry ! but true.
grace January 14, 2014 at 12:05 PM
Amen @ sister suz
Jim January 14, 2014 at 12:28 PM
Liz, I have indeed noticed the remarkable lack of over 40 white married men in public office and on the news. It is shameful that that minority is treated so badly. I like that Christie speaks his mind, I like it better than the doublespeak I hear from almost all other politicians, but don't paint Christie as being oppressed. That wrecks your message.
forREALNJ January 14, 2014 at 12:36 PM
Its not about men in office, I ts about he's a " target" for being him. Media likes to call him a bully , Meanwhile they are the 1st ones to " bully" him for his believes & life style, again if he was gay black & Under 30 everyone would be praising him sometimes I agree with him. sometimes I do not, But I value that he is true to who he is. JMO
suz January 14, 2014 at 01:36 PM
Mac, yep...wheaties with a energy drink instead of milk! Liz, you have a good point. Ridgewood mom, get off of it already with your links. Grace, Hi.
Alex C January 14, 2014 at 05:22 PM
The only people here not living in a bubble are the ones who are open minded enough to admit that politicians with power are the problem, not one political party or the other. The parties are just two wings on the same bird. Christie is a bully, Obama is a bully, and Bush was a liar or at least didn't want to know the truth.
grace January 14, 2014 at 06:23 PM
@ suz wasnt everything bushes fault???lol
suz January 14, 2014 at 06:56 PM
Good one Grace...
Ridgewood Mom January 14, 2014 at 07:07 PM
Here's a link for you suz ;) http://www.csuzberry.com/csuzColoringLinks.html
Ridgewood Mom January 15, 2014 at 06:18 AM
suz January 15, 2014 at 08:18 AM
No thank you. I am able to do research myself without your (petty) help.
grace January 15, 2014 at 12:17 PM
hey @ suz guess you havent finished those wheaties yet? lol! love it!!!
suz January 15, 2014 at 12:36 PM
Grace, eat them everyday! Actually don't really need them because my passion is what I sometimes strive on. :)
JOSEPH G MATTERA January 15, 2014 at 12:39 PM
suz January 15, 2014 at 12:45 PM


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