The backstory: At one of Chris Christie's town hall meetings, one William Brown - a 34 year old a law student at Rutgers-Camden (paging Sandra Fluke: we have a boyfriend for you!) - asked the governor a question regarding the potential merging of two different sate law schools. Christie couldn't get a word in edgewise, as Brown kept interrupting him and speaking over him.
Big mistake, says APP columnist Bob Ingle:
Christie, irked, said if Brown were going to be a lawyer he needed to change his behavior or would wind up in jail and punctuated the sentence with “idiot.” Officers escorted him from the room and on the way out Brown informed all he was a former Navy SEAL. I respect and admire those guys — and everyone who serves in uniform — but the people I have known in military special ops usually don’t say it to just anyone, let alone an audience. Conversely, Brown didn’t mention he ran for the Assembly on Jon Corzine’s ticket or for the Mount Laurel council.
Brown and others demanded an apology from Christie.
Let's dig deeper into that:
Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-6), a prospective 2013 challenger to the governor, who demanded that Christie issue a personal apology.
“Unless Governor Christie is using his town hall meetings to audition for a spot on the Real Housewives of New Jersey, he should apologize immediately for his immature and nasty remarks," Greenwald said.... Governor Christie should personally apologize to Mr. Brown immediately.”
“I lay the rules out in the beginning,” the governor said. “If you give it you’re going to get it back. I’m going to give it right back to you. The fact that he’s a Navy SEAL doesn’t give him the right to be a jerk. I honor his service. …But that does not give you a right to be an idiot."
“Don’t forget, this guy was a Democratic candidate for the Assembly in the 8th district,” he said.
"You want to punch me, I’m going to punch you back," Christie added. "He can cry his crocodile tears, but he came in there to accomplish something."
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Evil Republican Chris Christie versus a war veteran and the sainted Democratic establishment of New Jersey?
It was a no-brainer, and apologies were issued. But not by the governor. Politco thought it had a big story, but alas:
The ex-Navy SEAL that Gov. Chris Christie called an “idiot” last week has apologized for his behavior at the town hall meeting, saying he didn’t mean any disrespect to the New Jersey governor.
“I’m not too thrilled about being known as an idiot, or being known as a jerk. That’s not what I want to be known for. I don’t want to be known as that guy,” 34-year-old William Brown told a local New York Fox affiliate. “I apologize if I came across disrespectful to the governor
Here is the video, with the incident and the apology. Note Mr. Brown's new haircut:
Final thoughts on the media's treatment of this incident, again from Bob Ingle:
Reading and watching the coverage of the original exchange was an exercise in how much bad media judgment exists. Fox did it right, but one cable network ran video that obviously was heavily edited to be anti-Christie and omitted the fact that Brown is a politician who ran for the Legislature as a Democrat, leading viewers to believe he was just another citizen in the audience.
It announced the video was edited by a viewer as if that disclaimer relieved the broadcasters in charge of the responsibility for what is aired. That’s like my saying this column was edited by readers — and therefore I am not responsible for misrepresentations or omissions or factually incorrect material.
What Mr. Ingle doesn't realize is that he is old-school, a throwback, a man with no specific political axes to grind save the desire to hold all of New Jersey's public servants to account for their actions. In other words, he's a journalist. Unlike the other 99% of his compatriots in the media...
One last note: Why do New Jersey voters, and Republicans nationwide, like the pugnacious governor?
“If you give it you’re going to get it back. I’m going to give it right back to you..."You want to punch me, I’m going to punch you back"
You want to beat the Obama machine in 2012? You better be able to do just that...