Chris Christie smacks down heckler

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Upshot
Chris Christie takes on a heckler at a Meg Whitman campaign event.
Chris Christie takes on a heckler at a Meg Whitman campaign event.

More Republican candidates may be soon angling to have New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in their corner. Christie's "tough guy" persona was on full display in a showdown with a heckler at a Wednesday campaign event in California for GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, CNN reports -- and in the aftermath of the encounter, Christie's Internet renown has soared, with Yahoo! searches for the conservative icon nearly doubling over the past 24 hours.

Whitman was speaking onstage when a man in the audience began to yell, complaining about her refusal to take questions at the event. "What are you hiding? You're looking like Arnold [Schwarzenegger] in a dress," heckler Ed Buck shouted at Whitman.

Christie is known for his blunt, confrontational demeanor -- his past heated encounters have included run-ins with  teachers, unions and journalists. So as the heckler was berating Whitman, the New Jersey governor approached him.

"You want to yell? Yell at me, but don't give her a hard time," Christie said into his microphone. But Christie didn't stop there: "It's people who raise their voices and yell and scream like you that are dividing this country," he said. "We're here to bring this country together, not divide it." The audience roared with cheers and applause.

Watch the video:

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