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NJ Governor Chris Christie Apologizes for Remarks on Civil Rights

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who faced criticism over remarks he made last week after calling for a voter referendum on same-sex marriage, in which he suggested African-Americans pursuing their civil rights would have wanted a voter referendum, apologized yesterday on a radio show. reports:

Christie“Anybody who was offended by what I said, if you’re listening out there tonight, I apologize for that,” he said on New Jersey 101.5’s monthly radio call-in show. “I didn’t mean to offend anybody, and if I did I’m sorry.”

Politico has more:

"I also recognize that my job, one of my jobs as Governor, is to clearly communicate to people what I’m thinking, every time I open my mouth. And I try to be very good about being very direct about what I say so that there’s no ambiguity but obviously when I was talking last week at the town hall meeting about the civil rights movement in the South, I wasn’t clear enough. I just wasn’t.

"And what I did was, by saying those things, I left them open to misinterpretation and obviously there are some folks out there whose feelings I hurt or sensibilities I offended. And I apologize for that, because that’s my job. My job is to clearly communicate all the time. And so to those folks out there who were somehow offended or concerned about the ambiguity in my statement, I apologize for that because very clearly what I was trying to say, I said yesterday at the press conference about 5 or 6 times." adds:

The apology immediately sparked this statement from Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex): "The governor rightfully acknowledged the hurtful and insensitive nature of his remarks. Going forward, I now trust and expect that, as the legislature moves toward implementing marriage equality, the governor will respect the serious nature of the constitutionality of civil rights and equal protection under the law."

Christie also commented on his use of the term "numb nuts" to describe openly gay Assemblyman Reed Gusciora:

“I thought it was a pretty light slap at a guy (Gusciora) who compared me to George Wallace and Lester Maddox – who were two absolutely vile people in the political history of our country...I am not a scripted politician and so sometimes I am going to use an adjective that you don’t like – let me tell you, there’s a lot of other adjectives that I could have used that would have been a lot less appropriate…my Chief of Staff says he wants to sit down with me – and I’m happy to sit down with Reed – we worked together on medical marijuana when there was all kinds of blocks in the Legislature on it- and worked well together…I’ll always sit down and talk with Reed – Reed’s a good guy- but I think he was out of control on this issue…I think what he said was stupid.”

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  1. No matter how sincerely the Governor meant his apology, he still gave a non-apology. Any so-called apology which begins with the disclaimer "if you are offended" misses the point. This style of apology has been boilerplate in politics lately, but it is NOT an apology. There is not a question of "if." His words were shameful and hurtful whether one was offended to not.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Feb 1, 2012 8:26:29 AM

  2. As is so typical with politicians who say something vile and then recoil when they're called on it, Christie only apologized to those he may have offended by his insensitive civil rights comments. He didn't refute the basis of his argument on the matter. I suppose you'd have to consider this really a non-apology for being so stupid in the matter of how minorities should achieve their civil rights protections just like those enjoyed by the white (straight) males in this country. THIS WAS NOT AN APOLOGY.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Feb 1, 2012 8:32:04 AM

  3. I hope this destroys his administration, and ruins any chance of his reelection.

    Booker 2013.

    Posted by: Rich F. | Feb 1, 2012 8:37:07 AM

  4. Hopefully it doesn't just ruin his chances for reelection as governor, but any presidential aspirations he may have. He has zero sense of fairness or what fighting over civil rights is about. Maybe this episode has given some New Jerseyans buyers' remorse.


    Posted by: Rob from VA | Feb 1, 2012 8:56:21 AM

  5. the classic non-apology apology. I'm sorry if *YOU* were offended. I love how he blabs on and on about how he should have been clearer BUT NEVER CLARIFIES! In the long run he's making an even stronger case for equality under the law regardless of public opinion. Give'm enough rope and they hang themselves.

    Posted by: andy | Feb 1, 2012 9:14:31 AM

  6. Apology/shmapology, he still hasn't explained why a referendum should be used in determining whether there should be marriage equality. He's wrong about African-American civil rights, he's wrong about marriage equality. SIGN THE BILL, YOU NUMBSKULL!

    Posted by: Hue-Man | Feb 1, 2012 9:14:59 AM

  7. Few people have noticed a central problem with Christie's claim that "African-Americans pursuing their civil rights would have wanted a voter referendum". Blacks living in the 11 states of the old southern confederacy during the 1950s and early 1960s would not have been able to vote in the so-called "referendum" - UNLESS they wanted to die.

    Posted by: elg/edwin | Feb 1, 2012 9:30:01 AM

  8. Christie's a racist and therefore a perfect candiddate for Republican Vice President.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Feb 1, 2012 9:45:44 AM

  9. "Reed’s a good guy- but I think he was out of control on this issue…I think what he said was stupid.”

    Even though you admit that you were wrong and his criticism was valid. Apologize, Sack O'Lard.

    Posted by: TJ Parker | Feb 1, 2012 9:46:47 AM

  10. Where's his non-apology to the gay committee for offending us? We have to do a better job politically that it's not okay to vote on our rights either!

    Posted by: Mike | Feb 1, 2012 9:48:57 AM

  11. "who compared me to George Wallace and Lester Maddox – who were two absolutely vile people in the political history of our country..."

    And just wait 50 years and those who symbolically stand in the door preventing marriage equality will be considered equally vile.

    Our Gov. Douglas of VT will be at the top of that list. But we had a super-majority in both houses to override his bigotry.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Feb 1, 2012 9:53:25 AM

  12. He's only sorry because he has to be.

    Posted by: Jack M | Feb 1, 2012 10:00:35 AM

  13. non apology apology

    he is sorry people got upset, not sorry he said what he did

    Posted by: say what | Feb 1, 2012 10:33:03 AM

  14. truly a crass pig republican bully, and below the dignity of the office of governor

    Posted by: h | Feb 1, 2012 10:47:23 AM

  15. Did anybody else catch that he said "There are worse things I could have called him?"

    I'm sorry, that aimed at a gay man is also truly offensive.

    Yes governor, points to you for not calling Reed a f*ggot

    Posted by: qj201 | Feb 1, 2012 11:53:52 AM

  16. He should be sorry for the content of what was said, not whether or not he offended anyone. This makes the apology insincere. If you are sorry than you are sorry for whay you said, NOT sorry for how I or anyone else would have viewed what you said. The apology is not heartfelt and worthless if it is not to apologize for what was actually said as opposed to the reaction... just saying.

    Posted by: Javier | Feb 1, 2012 3:56:23 PM

  17. As a Republican hes Really sorry his comments may have lost him some votes from the black community from the gays: meh not so much

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Feb 1, 2012 6:38:32 PM

  18. Chris Christie is just an arrogant bully that appeals to NJ's increasingly dwindling conservative population. The only reason he is governor is because Democrats were disillusioned with Jon Cozine. Thats basically the only way a Republican wins in the northeast.

    Another non-apology apology from the guy with a sever case of foot in mouth disease.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Feb 2, 2012 12:23:54 AM

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