Chris Christie Gets Emotional on the Campaign Trail
On a cold winter night in New London, New Hampshire, recently, a man rose to his feet at a town hall meeting to appeal to Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie for solutions to blunt the scourge of mass shootings in the United States, brimming with frustration as he revealed that he knew two people killed in two separate mass shootings.
Sitting down on the stool in the center of the room, the New Jersey governor at first acknowledged that “gun violence is a threat to our safety and security” before launching into a minutes-long explanation of his opposition to stricter gun control measures, making the case that the true culprit is untreated mental illness.
“Whether it was the kid at Virginia Tech, or the kids in Columbine, or the kid at Sandy Hook, every one of them there were signs,” he said. “And you remember the interviews afterward, they are like, ‘Yeah we knew there was a problem.’ Well, we need to do something about it.”
Over the course of the event, Christie would draw the audience’s undivided attention time and again -- to laugh and even to cry -- in traversing the full spectrum of emotion within the stretch of a two-hour-long question-answer session.
Christie’s ability to captivate his audiences on an emotional level is at the heart of his strategy to move voters into his camp, with the campaign now seeking to capitalize on some of their candidates most powerful moments with a new video series titled “True Heart,” which is named after Christie’s answer to a debate question in which the candidates were asked what their Secret Service name would be.
The first video, released this week, features an exchange Christie had with an Iowan man who suffered from a severe stroke and aphasia.
“I can see in your eyes the frustration and the sadness that this brings to you and it touches my heart,” Christie tells the afflicted man in a video released by the campaign from a Coralville, Iowa, town hall. By the end of his extensive answer, as Christie thanked the stroke victim for his bravery to ask the question, the stroke victim rose to his feet, eyes glistening, to shake Christie’s hand.
And as if to seal in the emotional impact of his town halls, Christie often closes with the story of his mother’s death, recalling that he cut a work trip short to rush back to his mother’s deathbed in the final days of a battle with lung cancer.
“She reached over she grabbed my hand and said to me, ‘Christopher go to work, it's where you belong, there is nothing left unsaid between us,’” Christie says, causing more than a few eyes to well up in the audiences. “Other than the birth of our four children it was the single most powerful moment of my life. My mother was giving me permission to let her go.”