In case you didn't know, Chris Christie is from New Jersey — and he makes no effort to hide that fact about himself on the debate stage. On Tuesday, the governor of New Jersey stood with eight of the other leading Republican candidates to participate in the fifth GOP primary debate, hosted by CNN. When asked about how he'd handle relations with Russia and working together with frenemy nations in the Middle East, Christie delivered the attitude-packed insult of the night, right after reminding everyone that he's from the great state of New Jersey.
It all started when debate moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Christie if he'd be willing to risk a war with Russia by shooting down a Russian plane that encroached on a no-fly zone over Syria. Christie bluntly said that he would do just that — because, after all, "a no-fly zone means a no-fly zone." Amidst a fair amount of applause from the audience, Christie continued, "Maybe because I'm from New Jersey, I just kind of have this plain language hang-up." His New Jersey comment was even met with some mild laughter, a welcome emotion in the otherwise tense debate setting.
The rest of Christie's response was no joke, though. He went on to insult President Obama by calling him a "feckless weakling." It was, perhaps, the most memorable insult of the action-packed night.
Christie really insulted both Russia and Obama in one fell swoop, saying that he would shoot down Russian pilots "stupid enough" to enter a no-fly zone.
...Yes, we will shoot down the planes of Russian pilots if in fact they were stupid enough to think that this president was the same feckless weakling that the president we have in the Oval Office is right now.
"Feckless" isn't a word you hear every day, and it's not a word that many people would expect to hear Christie use about Obama. Twitter users were quick to point to a particular photo of Obama and Christie embracing happily, which reportedly came shortly after the 2012 election. Other tweeters raised the point that Obama didn't seem to lack initiative when Christie needed emergency relief in New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy.
Ultimately, Christie needed a memorable moment to leave voters with after this debate. He returned to the primetime debate stage on Tuesday after being downgraded to the undercard debate last time around. He's gaining ground in the polls, but now more than ever, it needs to be enough to surpass the growing strength of opponents like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.