Advice For Hecklers: Don’t Mess With Chris Christie

Chris Christie was in California last night at a forum with Republican Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, and so was a heckler who got much more than he probably expected:

LOS ANGELES — True to his tough-guy persona, Gov. Chris Christie mixed it up today with a political naysayer, who heckled California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman at a political rally.

Christie was concluding a town hall meeting with Whitman when an angry audience member criticized her for not taking questions.

“What are you hiding?” shouted Ed Buck, in jeans and a light shirt in the front row of the 400-person event. “You’re looking like Arnold in a dress,” he said in a reference to outgoing California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Before Whitman could respond, Christie stepped down from the stage and got in Buck’s face.

“Hey, listen. You know what. You want to yell, yell at me,” Christie said, shutting down Buck as Christie’s bodyguards calmly but quickly approached the two men. “It’s people who raise their voices and yell and scream like you who are dividing this country. We’re here to bring this country together.”

Here’s the video:

As Ben Smith says:

I believe that “pwn” is the word for what he does to the guy.


Some people, I’m sure, find Christie’s style confrontational and off-putting. Personally, I find it refreshing.

Update Via Hot Air and The Right Scoop, here’s the full exchange:

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. DMan says:

    Judging from many of your posts, you really seem to like Chris Christie, but in a largely superficial way.  Being from outside of New Jersey, how closely are you following his policies and how they affect New Jersey school systems and their districts?

  2. DMan,

    I may live in Virginia, but I grew up in New Jersey and still have family there. I am very familiar with what’s going on there as are may family members, many of whom are paying outrageous and exorbitant property tax bills to finance an education system top heavy with bureaucrats and union contracts that are far too generous given the economic times.

    Christie is a freshest breath of air New Jersey politics have had in decades and, while I’m sure there are things he will do that I don’t agree with, I’m cheering him on from 250 miles away.


  3. TG Chicago says:

    Yeah, where has this heckler been?  Politicians don’t answer questions anymore.  How dare he suggest such a thing?

    Good thing we have big, tough guys to make sure that politicians don’t have to explain their positions.

  4. DMan says:

    I’m glad you continue to take an interest in New Jersey politics.  As you know the education system here is largely broken and needs a great many reforms.  But I hope you simply aren’t cheerleading Christie because of your belief he is fixing the system, because from all appearances he isn’t.  Christie’s approach has been nothing but radical.  He’s basically trying to strip the schools of funds without doing a damn thing to reform them.  He’s naive if he thinks the schools will reform themselves if they have less money.  Schools in New Jersey will continue to see the same wastes, just with less money to operate.  Right now it looks like the students and teachers have the most to lose from Christie’s approach.

  5. Tano says:

    The word is …thug.
    Amazing to see – a politician tries to bully a citizen into silence, and uses cheap rhetoric to try and turn the crowd against the questioner – instead of dealing with the question.
    And he gets cheered for it by political commentators who like to pretend, in other situations,  that they are on the side of the little guys against the pols…

  6. Right now it looks like the students and teachers have the most to lose from Christie’s approach.

    The biggest enemy students and teachers in New Jersey are the union bosses in the NJEA. Anyone who takes them on is okay in my book

  7. DMan says:

    “The biggest enemy students and teachers in New Jersey are the union bosses in the NJEA. Anyone who takes them on is okay in my book”

    So it doesn’t matter how he takes them on, as long as he does so? I would much rather see him do it responsibly.   Instead he’s interested in getting points for just being “tough”.

  8. DMan,

    After the years I spent being involved in New Jersey politics, I think that’s exactly what’s needed.

    The NJEA was offered a compromise during budget negotiations. They were asked to agree to pay just a small percentage of their health insurance premiums (still much smaller than any private sector employee pays) they said no. The years of living at the public trough while people like my Aunt pay five figure property tax bills every year need to come to an end, and if acting “tough” is what it takes, that’s what it takes.

  9. DMan says:

    “if acting “tough” is what it takes, that’s what it takes.”

    Acting “tough” is doing nothing but giving him prominence among Limbaugh Conservatives who think tough talk alone produces results.  In reality he is acting just as uncompromising as the NJEA, not a small feat.  The fact is Christie is bankrupting the education system without regard, and just because the NJEA is not blameless, that doesn’t take Christie off the hook.

  10. Acting tough helped rally voters to reject school budgets in more than 50% of the state’s jurisdiction. And it helped pass a cap on property tax increases that was long, long overdue.

  11. Robert in SF says:

    I was glad to read that you think the biggest enemy students and teachers in New Jersey are the union bosses in the NJEA.
    I often wonder if it’s a problem with the concept of unions themselves, or the corruption of the union bosses that bothers people.
    So, to be blunt, is it the concept of a union that you disagree with, or the implementation of the union (when it devolves into a corruptly lead organization)?
    I am not educated about the federal, state, or local laws that enforce unions onto businesses, so if you have any recommendations about educating myself on the actual laws regarding the formation of unions, I would appreciate it.

  12. DMan says:

    So he’s cutting state aid, screwed up the states prospects at federal aid, and managed to get school budgets rejected.  Now is that targeted at fixing the schools or breaking them?

  13. Robert,

    Unless you actually have personal experience with the damage the the NJEA has done to New Jersey schools, you know not of what you speak.

    I do. I lived there. I went to the schools. I saw failed teachers who were kept on year after year while the students they taught learned next to nothing. And that was in a relatively prosperous suburban school districts.

    I don’t have a problem with unions. I have a problem with unions that protect incompetence and then enshrine it in the absurd idea of teacher tenure. And I have a problem with union bosses who sit back on their a**es and collect six figure salaries while the actual teachers wonder what exactly those dues they are forced to pay actually go for.



  14. Tom Mathers says:

    I live in NJ.  Here’s the question to ask: is NJ going to be better off with CC or Corzine making the tough decisions?  CC may be a one-trick pony (his fight vs. the NJEA/Unions), but Corzine was a lying scumball who kicked the can down the road at every turn, was owned (legislatively) 100% by the unions, and left our state in much worse condition than when he arrived.  A majority (you can look it up) think CC has NJ headed in the right direction with his tough, bullying, tactics and wouldn’t care if he publicly flogged a school teacher every Sunday night on Fox News for the entirety of his term, provided our taxes and deficits go down during his tenure.  (Relax, my parents were both teachers…)

  15. Franklin says:

    Amazing to see – a politician tries to bully a citizen into silence, and uses cheap rhetoric to try and turn the crowd against the questioner – instead of dealing with the question.

    Oh, dear Tano, please do tell.  What is the correct answer to the question, “You’re looking like Arnold in a dress?”

  16. Steve Plunk says:

    Christie is no thug.  The heckler is a long known agitator who took on a woman without civility or restraint.  Christie took the initiative and pointed out how that divides citizens.  The heckler was the bully, the thug and he certainly wasn’t a ‘little guy’ up against the politicians.
    Youtube is filling up with Christie speeches for a good reason.  He tells the hard truths that need telling.

  17. Eyes2See says:

    I think the point here is that the “house” in NJ is on “fire” and Chris Christie must first put out the fire before he can attempt to rebuild the school system.  NJ is flat broke!  You can’t keep pouring money into a system when you don’t have any money left.  Until there is money in the system, things have to be cut out of the budget.  Stomping up and down and pretending  it isn’t so doesn’t put one more dollar in the state treasury.  So teachers, like everyone else, are going to have to buck up and sacrifice with the rest of us. 

  18. Robert in SF says:

    I am a little surprised and disappointed at the tone of your comment above addressed to me. Perhaps the tone isn’t as I read it, but it comes off as though somehow I disagreed with you or actually expressed an opinion in my comment, when all I did was express admiration in your statement of belief (re: union heads), and ask for further clarification on your position. I most certainly did not comment on the issue of teacher’s unions, least of all the NJEA. So while I can appreciate the truth of it when you say, “you know not of what you speak”, I didn’t actually speak about.
    Perhaps my own tone wasn’t clear, but I was sincere in my comment. In fact, I read your blog and this blog based solely on your writing and recommendation. I agree with your point of view/opinions more often than not. I am not trying to be contrary, argumentative, or even confrontational when I comment to you.
    Reading over what I wrote after a few minutes of time away, I can see that the word choice (“enforce unions”) would allow you to reasonably infer that I was being passive agressive, so let me clarify again, sincerely, I don’t know much of anything about the laws around union forming and enforcement from the government, so I was looking for some go-to sources on those laws (not on opinion of how unions are run, or the damage/benefits they bring).
    I do have the initial opinion that unions serve a very useful purpose for representing the workers in the economy, and that corruption in the leadership hurts and distracts from their mission….just as corruption within the leadership of any business or government body does th same.

  19. Robert,

    Perhaps I misread or misinterpreted what you said. In that case, my apologies. As you can probably tell, this is an issue I feel strongly about both because I lived through it, and because I have family members who are living with the consequences of 40 years of mismanagement in that state.


  20. Robert in SF says:

    I think you might have misinterpreted it, but unreasonably so, as I can see where you were coming from in this heated comment thread about the topic.
    Passions run deep around unions, both in the conceptual and actual cases, so I imagine it’s easy to let that project onto discussions that are a little more esoteric in nature…
    Perhaps you and the other contributers here should write up a pledge of beliefs that summarize the principles you would recommend and support, with a case study or two of how those principles would apply in real life (unions, financial regulation, personal autonomy in their own body, etc.)…  (That was a sincere request/idea, using a little snark about the Republic Party Pledge topic….but just a little snark)

  21. deborah cunningham says:

    Chivalry aside, if Ms. Whitman wants to be governor, she needs to be able to handle at least one citizen voter who heckles. The heckler’s first question is anyone in the state of California’s right-to have candidates answer serious questions. The second remark was out of line.
    Aside from the fact that Ms. Whitman is a big girl who should be able to take care of herself, unfortunately, Christie just made her look like the little woman who needs protecting.