Christie Admits ‘Political Climate’ Prevented ‘Referendum’ On Civil Rights, Calls Lawmakers ‘Numnuts’

Chris Christie responded to the growing outrage over his claims last week that New Jersey residents should decide whether gay and lesbian people should be allowed to marry by admitting that public opinion may not be receptive to extending civil liberties to minorities. Christie took particular umbrage at African American leaders who condemned his suggestion that “people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.” Here are his comments from this morning via Andy Towle:

“Political members of the state legislature comparing me to Lester Maddox and George Wallace shows how desperate the Democrats are,” Christie said…. “The question was raised to me by the mayor of Asbury Park,” Christie recalled. “I think afterwards they all understood and affirmed to me that I was not being critical of the Civil Rights movement. They knew exactly what I meant, which is that the political climate didn’t give them a chance for a referendum.” […]

Christie said “numnuts like (Assemblyman) Reed Gusciora should be ashamed of themselves” for comparing him to Maddox and Wallace.