Chris Christie calls Obama decision to ‘politicize’ shootings ‘obscene’

Updated 4:00 PM EDT, Thu October 8, 2015
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Story highlights

Chris Christie called President Barack Obama's decision to "politicize" the Oregon school shootings "obscene"

Christie has faced criticism from the families of the victims of the Newtown school shootings for refusing to meet with them

(CNN) —  

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday called President Barack Obama’s comments after the Umpqua Community College shooting “obscene” and blasted the President’s statement that the incident needed to be “politicized” in the wake of continued widespread gun violence.

“I think what the President did last week, quite frankly, was obscene,” Christie told a town hall audience in Manchester, New Hampshire. “I would not have gone out into the White House press room and railed about how this should be politicized. Because I’ll tell you what I would be thinking about. What I would be thinking about are the parents, the spouses, the children, the relatives of those nine people. And I would be thinking, if they were sitting by the television set that moment, what they would want to hear from their president was, ‘We’re thinking of you.’”

Obama bemoaned the “routine” nature of mass shootings – and the fact he has had to address them frequently – last week after a gunman killed nine people and wounded nine more.

But Christie himself has faced criticism in the gun control debate for how he handled the families of shooting victims. Families of the victims in the Newtown school shootings hit Christie last year for refusing to meet with them before he vetoed a new gun control measure.

Mark Barden, who lost his 7-year-old son Daniel in the Newtown shooting and who serves as the advocacy director for Sandy Hook Promise, said he repeatedly tried to meet with Christie during the summer of 2014 before the governor vetoed legislation that would have limited the size of ammunition clips from 15 rounds to 10 rounds.

“No one told me he had no intention to meet with us,” Barden told CNN last year. “I beg to wonder why he didn’t just tell me that.”

A request for comment from the Christie campaign was not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.

At the time, Christie defended himself, saying, “I met with Newtown families a year ago and talked about the full range of gun control issues they were concerned about. … I didn’t feel it was necessary to meet with them again, especially after I had made the decision.”

CNN’s Jason Kravarik and Sara Sidner contributed to this report.