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6 hecklers disrupt town hall meeting with Chris Christie



By ANGELA DELLI SANTI

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (AP) - Six people who tried to disrupt a town hall meeting hosted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were ejected from the building in what became the governor's most raucous community gathering in the weeks since his administration became ensnared in a political payback scandal.

Police removed one protester, Rowan University student Michael Brein, after he began shouting about supposed inequities in the distribution of Superstorm Sandy aid.

Christie tried ignoring Brein by turning his back on him. When that didn't work, the Republican governor reeled around, telling Brein to sit down or be thrown out.

Local police escorted Brein from the building, and five others were shown the door after yelling about the political retribution scandal and other matters. The disruption appeared to have been loosely coordinated by citizens' groups that have opposed Christie's housing and tax policies.

The hecklers were not arrested and no charges would be filed, state police said.

Outside, the somewhat rumpled, unshaven 19-year-old Brein said he expected Christie wouldn't call on him because of how he looks. He spouted a litany of anti-Christie complaints, including that the town halls are staged affairs in Republican-controlled areas that are inaccessible to most people because they are held during work hours.

At the event, Christie told the crowd that the hecklers wanted attention, pointing to the 13 television cameras and score of reporters covering the event.

The intended focus of the town hall, state spending, was largely overshadowed. The governor did announce that average property tax bills, already the nation's highest, rose a relatively modest 1.7 percent last year, which he said is evidence that his policies are working.

Christie has returned to his signature town halls in recent weeks as he tries to shake the scandal and investigations that are dogging his administration and raising questions about his chances in a potential 2016 presidential race. The venues have been carefully scouted by the administration, and the events have mostly occurred without incident, until Thursday's, his most disruptive yet.

Re-elected last fall, Christie became known during his first term as liable to pick a fight during town halls. He famously called a Navy SEAL an idiot during a shouting match and tangled with a public school teacher who was inspired by the event to run for Congress. His staff circulated many of these moments in YouTube videos.

Security appeared to be ramped up for Thursday's town hall as well. Attendees were screened with wands, and the auditorium was ringed with local and state police, both in uniform and plainclothes.

Such security is not extraordinary with town hall crowds usually exceeding 500 people, said Capt. Stephen Jones of the New Jersey State Police.

Despite the disruptions, the audience remained mostly supportive; some booed the disrupters.

Skip Brockner of Collingswood, a retired truck driver who Christie called on to ask the final question, began by apologizing for the demonstrators.

"They could have done it more politely," he said.

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Abul March 13 2014 at 3:22 PM

Are all these politicians a bunch of thugs. Name me a single politician who is not mentally, morally or financially corrupt?

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2 replies
andrew Abul March 13 2014 at 3:28 PM

they all just look like batman villains for the most part

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Paul Abul March 13 2014 at 3:31 PM

All the ones who have passed away.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Rob Gambelunghe March 13 2014 at 2:58 PM

Christie has zero chance President....give that up!

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aljoramaggio March 13 2014 at 9:26 PM

The biggest reasons given in the local papers, why people are fleeing the tri state areas of NY, NJ and CT, are the ever escalating property taxes. The State, County and Town politicians (of both major parties) have no compunction whatsoever, to curb their reckless spending, spending, spending! They can't keep running their towns and schools on the backs of the middle class homeowners. Pretty soon, there will only be the uber wealthy and the poor left, and when the uber wealthy start feeling the pinch, they too, will flee. Without a referendum on the ballots for capping property taxes, the parties in power will continue to remain indifferent to the plight of the middle class.

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msjr703 March 13 2014 at 3:01 PM

I take it from some of the comments below that members of the My way or the Highway Bully brigade are at it again. You can tell which ones these are because their comments are mean spirited and degrogatory and of course offer no logical or commen sense solutions. As you read some of the comments it just goes to prove that it is not illegal or unconstitutional to be stupid or ignorant in this country.

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hangten1955 March 13 2014 at 3:29 PM

There’s presenting a disagreeing argument. There’s even passionately debating an opposing point of view. Then there’s rudely, antagonistically, hostilely, rancorously, discordantly, and obnoxiously interrupting while talking over anyone who holds a divergent point of view to the point of not allowing them to get a word in edgewise. The mature know the difference.

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1 reply
mike.burke99 hangten1955 March 13 2014 at 3:35 PM

tell that to your fellow teabaggerz

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2 replies
awestefeld mike.burke99 March 13 2014 at 3:47 PM

Why do socialist liberals have to use a sexual slur to describe those who dare disagree with your beloved Obama? If I called every woman who voted for him and wants his policies to outlive him a "demowhore" you'd be offended. So stop with the teabaggers routine.

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hangten1955 mike.burke99 March 13 2014 at 9:39 PM

Unlike the anti-Wall Street folks, when the Tea Party puts on a protest woman don't need a "safety tent."

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DALE March 13 2014 at 3:27 PM

Christie should resign , since when was the chief excutive not responsible for his staff's actions . The buck stops at his desk .

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4 replies
ebagroup March 13 2014 at 3:04 PM

I get the impression that many of the preceeding comments are from those who sit on there butts and yell at the world. Get a real job!

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weorion64 March 13 2014 at 3:27 PM

Just shows what is wrong now days.. A retiree apologized. For what ? An American citizen demanding answers from a politician..Who is this guy anyway ? A king? Make them accountable or our way of life goes away...

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1 reply
jim_scorch weorion64 March 13 2014 at 3:32 PM

LIKE OB ,,Make them accountable or our way of life goes away...

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theserxtremedays March 13 2014 at 11:57 PM

I really can't stand him, he wants to act like he's a conservative. More like a wolf in sheeps clothing. He isn't to be trusted for sure. The republican party will lose once again if they nominate this imbecile.

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1 reply
howdy Paul theserxtremedays March 14 2014 at 12:05 AM

I totally agree...God help us if that is the best the Republicans can do!!! Paul C

Flag Reply +4 rate up
snsndse March 13 2014 at 3:22 PM

I personally think the people who are causing all the mess is the supporters of Hillary and Jeb Bush. Would it not be funny if Jeb got the nomination and Hillary the VP slot? I don't ever want Bill Clinton back in the White House even as a janitor. Is nothing sacred anymore?

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