Watch: Did Christie Really Call Pro-Lifers “Divisive”?

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

I wrote a few days ago about Chris Christie’s New Hampshire town hall in which The New York Times reported he called some pro-lifers “divisive.”

A video has now emerged of the event.

Christie clearly didn’t intend to indict the whole pro-life movement, and he specifically says he doesn’t think you should walk up to a pro-choice person and call them a “baby-killer.” Well, of course I agree. My problem is that I don’t know any major pro-life spokesman who does that.

Was my post unfair to Christie? I know that pro-lifers are extremely tired of being tarred with the extremist and divisive label, and he should have thought twice before going there. But here’s the link (it starts just after the 27-minute mark) and the transcript. You decide:

So that’s the way I feel about that, and I think that as a party — and part of what you’re getting at is this, maybe, and if I’m wrong, tell me — but I think that when we talk about these issues, our party at times and members of our party have been extraordinarily divisive about it and not tolerant. So, for instance, if I’m pro-life, she’s pro-choice, and um, I go up to her and say, ‘are you pro-life or pro-choice?’ And she says, ‘I’m pro-choice,’ and I say, ‘you’re a baby killer and you’re going to hell.’ Well, you know, that’s kind of a conversation-ender.

You know, we can’t then talk about taxes or national defense or homeland security or any of these other things because she believes that I believe she’s an awful person, so you can’t have a conversation on that. If I acknowledge that we have a difference of opinion on that issue, and that I hold mine firmly, you have a right to know my view and you know what, you have a right to express yours as well, and on that one we just have to differ and we move on to other issues. That’s the way I think we need to approach the politics of this — to speak out for things we believe in and acknowledge what we believe in, and as a candidate I need to inform you of what I believe in so you know when you’re deciding who you need to vote for. But I should not be saying to you, on an issue like that, and I think that’s part of what your question gets at is, you know, it divides us in a way that we don’t need to be divided.

Good people can have a difference of opinion on those kinds of issues and still work together on a whole bunch of other issues that are good for our country and good or our families, and that’s what I want to see us try to do. And so that’s why I feel that way about that issue.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.