Chris Christie wants to tell it like it is. For lucky attendees at a New Hampshire town hall meeting on Tuesday, that meant sitting through Christie's awkward and unintentionally hilarious sex comment, which, as jarring as it was for the unsuspecting crowd, actually set him far apart from the rest of the GOP pack. In fact, in a race full of candidates all attempting to outshine one another by making increasingly outlandish statements, Christie's comment about birth control was actually sort of ingenious.
Rather than making disturbing statements comparing the Iran deal and holocaust ovens, or flapping his arms about and making seal noises (isn't that what Donald Trump is doing?), Christie's comments were phrased with just the right amount of sass and political frankness to make a realistic impact on his campaign. With his slogan, "Telling It Like It Is," and his history of butting-heads with rivals on both sides of the aisle, Christie's comments on Tuesday actually helped his campaign.
After a meeting attendee asked the 2016 candidate and current New Jersey governor why his religious beliefs didn't bolster his resolve to end foreign wars and increase climate change dialogue, Christie remarked that those who ascribed to a certain faith should practice as they saw appropriate in their own lives, and leave the two issues — religion and politics — separate.
We should all acquit ourselves in a way that we believe is consistent with the teachings that we follow, if we follow certain teachings from a religious perspective. Me for instance, I’m a Catholic, but I’ve used birth control, and not just the rhythm method. ... My church has a teaching against birth control. Does that make me an awful Catholic because I believed and practiced that function during part of my life? I don’t think so.
In the uncomfortable moments that followed, a handful of attendees laughed off the statement as just another "Christie being Christie" gaffe, but not everyone, it seemed, was as charmed by the buoyant comment.
"Do voters really need to know this?" asked conservative media tracking website Twitchy on Tuesday. "Do voters want to know this?"
I see we've reached the "TMI" Phase of the Pay-Attention-To-Me Not-Trump-athon
Luckily, the majority of the internet got a kick out of the lighthearted comments.
But paired with Christie's previous statements on abortion, things became a bit more muddled. As Bloomberg Politics pointed out on Tuesday, Christie had previously promised to cut funding to Planned Parenthood if elected president, a sentiment reinvigorated by the recent release of anti-abortion videos which showed one of the center's executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue in a less-than-tactful manner. Christie also released a video Tuesday morning addressing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's remarks that Republicans were attempting to "cut millions off from health care" services provided by Planned Parenthood. Responding to Clinton, Christie argued:
We generously fund federally qualified health clinics throughout New Jersey, which provides excellent care for women and men in our state who need it. ... The real issue here that Secretary Clinton won’t address is the conduct of Planned Parenthood. Do you think that Planned Parenthood should be able to use federal funding to kill children in the womb in a specific way, so that they can maximize the value of body parts that they then sell on the open market for profit?
Those answers were scripted in tune with the overall GOP message, of course. And if Christie wanted to continue whatever steady stream of financing was being funneled his way by the Republican elite, he had to play along. Tuesday's comments, it seemed, were just a drop in the bucket.
That doesn't mean they weren't effective. Unlike the majority of GOP candidates who skirt any talk of birth control (let alone frank discussions on sex), the governor made clear that no topics were off limits in a Christie campaign. For a certain sect of voters, specifically the young and moderate, that's worth its weight in gold — and votes.
If nothing else came from Christie's awkward meeting on Tuesday, at least we got this guy, who was clearly unsure about what was happening with his life:
Image: Bill Preston/YouTube