Clearly Fed Up, Republican Accuses Recovery Watchdog Of Clowning For The Cameras

BELMAR, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday told a heckler critical of his handling of Superstorm Sandy recovery to “sit down and shut up” on the second anniversary of the storm.

A man began heckling Christie about the pace of storm recovery and interrupted the governor’s speech Wednesday in Belmar on several occasions.

“You all know me, so if we’re going to get into a debate here today, it’s going to get very interesting and very fun,” he told a protester holding a sign.

After trying to brush the man off, Christie yelled back the man didn’t know what he was talking about and was just showing off for the news cameras.

“I’d be more than happy to have a debate with you any time you’d like, guy, because somebody like you doesn’t know a damn thing about what you’re talking about except to stand up and show off when the cameras are here. I’ve been here when the cameras aren’t here, buddy, and done the work,” Christie said.

MORE: Superstorm Sandy: Two Years Later | Photo Galleries

When heckler Jim Keady continued, Christie told him: “Sit down and shut up.”

Keady, a former Asbury Park councilman, founded a group called Finish The Job, which is critical of the pace of rebuilding assistance in New Jersey.

He told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman when Christie said those five words to him, it hurt.

“I stopped work for a month. I volunteered in Belmar, the town I grew up in, every day,” Keady told WCBS 880. “You begged the citizens to give you that job; you owe them to answer questions even when it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient.”

“I’m glad you had your day to show off, but we’re the ones who are here to actually do the work.  So turn around, get your 15 minutes of fame and maybe take your jacket off, roll up your sleeves and do something for the people of this state,” Christie said to the heckler.

The governor’s comments were met with some applause as he continued to address Keady.

“There’re about 1,000 things I’ll do tonight, going to dinner with you is about 1,001,” Christie said.

Christie defended the recovery at Wednesday’s relief fund event in Toms River, but added more people still need help. He said a couple of months ago, he met with the mayor of Biloxi, Mississippi and talked about that city’s troubles after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“I asked him how long it took them to rebuild their housing. He told me eight years. Eight years to completely rebuild their housing and they didn’t lose as many homes as we lost in Sandy,” Christie said.
“So, it’s not going to take us eight years because we’ve learned a lot from that. But what it will do is make sure that we have perspective, that this is a long, long effort and we’re not going to leave anybody behind.”

What do you think of the governor’s reaction? Do you believe it was appropriate? Let us know in the comments below.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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