Chris Christie Explains Chemical Weapons to Children

Matt Berman

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a likely 2016 presidential contender with a history of using colorfullanguage, faced one of his tougher challenges this week: fielding questions from elementary-school students.

Christie visited the Robert L. Craig Elementary School in Moonachie, N.J., on Thursday to help reopen the school after it was significantly damaged during last year's hurricane. While there, he spent about 40 minutes running a Q&A with the school's kids. And they came prepared.

Take this question, from a child named Jacob McCray, that riled up seemingly everyone.

Apparently, children are thrilled by tax policy.

Responding to a question on Syria from a 12-year-old who watches "a lot" of CNN, Christie said that chemical weapons are "an awful thing," but that the situation is "complicated." The governor may've been toning down his language to speak to a preteen, but the rest of his answer on Syria really isn't so different from what we've heard from other politicians who are on the fence when it comes to a missile strike:

I think the president is having a hard time figuring exactly what it is he wants to do. We'll see what the president and Congress come up with, but the use of those weapons is a bad thing and it's not something that we should permit folks from countries around the world to do.

Even the "bad thing" line isn't so different from the "bad guys" Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told us about this week. Either Christie is particularly adept at talking with children like they're adults, or—at least on Syria—many politicians have been talking to adults like they're children.

Christie kept up the "bad things" talk when he got a question from a student on "illegal guns." There's no solution that can prevent all violence, Christie told the kids, because "the truth is that bad people do bad things."

The governor, at least according to The Record, enjoyed himself at the Q&A, and answered every question that came his way. That includes a response confirming that, unlike Senate candidate Cory Booker, Christie has never saved anyone from a burning building. And Christie didn't build any of the trailers the school had used as temporary classrooms, because it's a "challenge" for him to "build anything that really matters." 

And how about his job? "I love being governor. You should try it one day."