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Story highlights

Chris Christie wouldn't say whether Syrian refugees already in New Jersey should be removed

Christie said laws banning people on terror watch lists from buying guns should be made by states

Washington CNN —  

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie lambasted President Barack Obama’s handling of ISIS, saying Sunday that Syrian refugees shouldn’t “have to leave their country in the first place.”

But he wouldn’t say whether the reported 75 Syrian refugees already resettled in his state should be forced out in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

Christie said the United States should implement a no-fly zone in Syria and take a tougher line against Russia. That way, he said, Americans wouldn’t have to “this crisis that (Obama) created.”

“This is not an issue we should even have to be addressing inside the United States,” Christie said.

Republicans have attacked Obama in recent days for sticking to his plans to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2010, after at least one of the Paris attackers reportedly entered Europe as a refugee.

Christie took a shot at New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, who had criticized Christie over his refusal to support allowing even Syrian refugees who are women and children into the United States.

“Maybe he should be mayor of Damascus,” Christie said.

He also declined to offer his support for a proposal to ban people on terrorism watch lists from buying guns, even though he signed into law a measure doing just that in New Jersey. He said the decision should be left to states to decide for themselves.

Christie also said he believes the Republican presidential race, led now by Donald Trump and Ben Carson, will shift as a result of the attacks – and touted his experience as a U.S. attorney who prosecuted two terrorism cases.

He said he’d like to rebuild the National Security Agency’s bulk metadata collection program.

“We need to rebuild the morale of our intelligence. We need to support law enforcement, which this administration has not been doing,” Christie said.