New Jersey Governor Chris Christie retains a following of voters who would like to see him get the VP nod from Mitt Romney, but there are plenty more who would like to see him removed from contention. Those in the latter group may have another complaint to add to their lists following a rather brusque confrontation down at the Jersey Shore between Christie and some anonymous heckler.
Gov. Chris Christie got into a heated argument on the Seaside Heights boardwalk Thursday night, according to the website TMZ.com.
In a video posted to the website, Christie, seen holding an ice cream cone, grew angry at a passerby on the boardwalk who TMZ said shouted criticism of Christie’s education policy. The website said the confrontation happened last night as Christie was “hangin’” with his family in Seaside Heights.
“You’re a real big shot,” Christie said as he walked towards the man. “You’re a real big shot shooting your mouth off.”
The Governor concluded the encounter by repeatedly telling the heckler to, “keep walking.” Doug Mataconis thinks this may prove to be a trend of temperamental incidents which will keep Christie off the ticket this fall.
Considering the fact that TMZ just happened to get the video, it’s possible this was a set up. But, guys, a confrontational style like this might work in New Jersey (and, trust me, it does) but it will not play well on the national scene.
Doug has the video of the encounter, so click through and watch for yourself. But he does point out a couple of things about this incident which are noteworthy. First of all, it’s kind of a stretch that somebody just happened to be there to capture the encounter for the use of TMZ from beginning to end. But then again, he is the Governor, so it’s not all that unlikely that somebody would be filming him when he’s out having an ice cream on a hot summer night with the family.
Another possibility is that Christie reacted this way in a very deliberate manner to keep up his image as a no-nonsense, take no prisoners kind of guy who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Whenever he takes somebody to task, such as calling a reporter stupid, I can’t help but feel that he not only enjoys it, but that it’s a very purposeful move with political strategy in mind. But this ice cream incident looks a bit more off the cuff and angry than a calculated display of righteous indignation with the stupid. That kind of thing actually could call into question how ready he is for international diplomacy.
But even if it was a set-up by Democratic opponents, Christie is a governor and somebody widely held to have aspirations to even higher offices. You’ve got to be ready for encounters like this and walk a rather delicate line between forcefulness and anger. Too many of these types of displays won’t do anything to help him land a spot in the White House or anywhere near it.