Chris Christie says he’s ‘huggable,’ ‘lovable’ but defends confrontations

Rachel Rose Hartman

What adjectives come to mind when you think of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie?

During an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" this weekend, Christie described himself as "huggable and lovable."

Host David Gregory asked the GOP star--who has a well-known history of being blunt and aggressive--if he thinks he's too abrasive, stubborn and tough on his critics. Christie replied with a smile: "I'm huggable and lovable, David. I am not abrasive at all."

You can watch the exchange below, via NBC:

Christie said in Sunday's interview that he's simply "honest" and wishes more politicians would follow his lead.

"Everybody sounds the same," Christie said of today's politicos. "I don't sound the same. And you know why? Cause I say what I believe from my heart. And if some people are offended by that, I'm sorry."

Christie has developed a tough-guy reputation after a number of public confrontations with everyone from hecklers to teachers to journalists. This month, he hit back at critics who questioned his decision to send his children to private instead of public schools at the same time he's been cutting funding for public schools in the state.

"It's none of your business," he told a questioner named Gail on a New Jersey public television program. "I don't ask you where you send your kids to school. Don't bother me about where I send mine."

While critics deride Christie's attitude, this persona has helped make the politician a national star among the GOP faithful, who continue to urge him to run for president in 2012.

Christie has repeatedly denied interest in a presidential campaign. But some suggest he could be a vice-presidential pick.

Christie laughed off that suggestion during his "Meet the Press" interview, noting the recent confrontation over his children's education.

"David, can you imagine?" Christie asked. "The person who picked me as vice president would have to be sedated. Forget it."

"You also saw the answer I gave to Gail. That's who I am and I don't think that's vice-presidential material."

(Photo of Christie taping his "Meet the Press" appearance: NBC News/William B. Plowman via AP)