When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got in front of a microphone Wednesday on the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, the Republican came face to face with a force decidedly less daunting: a heckler.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tells heckler Jim Keady to "sit down and shut up" during a event marking the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Belmar, N.J. (AP/Mel Evans)
As Christie began speaking on a street in Belmar — a shore town hit hard by the superstorm — activist Jim Keady held aloft a sign reading in part, "Finish the job."
Jim Keady holds up a sign and shouts at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during a event marking the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Oct. 29, 2014, in Belmar, N.J. (AP/Mel Evans)
Keady used his mouth as well, NJ.com reported: "Do your job!" he yelled at the governor.
"Yeah, you do yours, too, buddy,” Christie began, and then added a warning: "Now, 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."
Keady didn't take the gargantuan hint, and then Christie lit into him.
“I'll be more than happy to have a debate with you anytime you 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," Christie said. "I've been here when the cameras aren't here, buddy, and done the work … I'm glad you had your day to show off … So, turn around, get your 15 minutes of fame, and then maybe take your jacket off, roll up your sleeves, and do something for the people of this state."
But Keady wasn't giving in, NJ.com reported. The lifelong resident retorted that he "was here for a month after Sandy, and — "
It was more easy pickings for Christie, who completed the man's thought: "— and there's been 23 months since then, when all you've been doing is flapping your mouth and not doing anything. So listen, you want to have the conversation later? I'm happy to have it, buddy."
Christie capped it off, saying with force: "But until that time, sit down and shut up!"
The crowd, which had been applauding Christie's dialogue with Keady, erupted into cheers.
Undeterred, Keady invited Christie to dinner for further discussion.
"There's about a thousand things I'll do tonight," the governor replied. "Going to dinner with you is about number thousand and one"
Christie soon calmed down, NJ.com reported, motioning to Keady while noting "characters" like him are "why I love this state … Good; I'm thrilled for him. Stand up, yell and scream, do your thing. But here's the bottom line. You gotta do work."
Keady was interviewed later Wednesday by MSNBC's Chris Hayes and said the governor's comments were "unfortunate" and that Christie shows "so little respect to the citizens of New Jersey" and to his office "when he acts like he did today." Keady then went on the attack with what he said is Christie's lack of action with regard to Sandy cleanup: