By Mario Trujillo - 01/17/13 11:09 PM EST
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Thursday denounced a National Rifle Association ad that referenced President Obama's two daughters as "reprehensible."
“I think it is awful to bring public figures’ children into the political debate,” Christie said at a press conference. “They don’t deserve to be there. And for any of us who are public figures, you see that kind of ad and you cringe.”
The ad released Wednesday calls the president an "elitist hypocrite” for sending his daughters to a private school with armed security while not backing the NRA’s proposal to put an armed guard in every school.
Christie said the ad demeaned the organization and makes it tougher for people to trust the NRA as a reliable source in the gun debate.
“I think it demeans them and makes them less of a valid trusted source of information on the real issues,” Christie said.
On Wednesday, The White House called the NRA ad “repugnant and cowardly.”
Christie, believing the NRA was criticizing the first family’s Secret Service detail, said Obama’s family doesn’t have a choice in receiving protection.
“To talk about the president’s children or any public officer's children, who have not by their own choice but by requirement to have protection — and to use that somehow to try to make a political point is reprehensible,” Christie said.
Earlier, the NRA defended its ad and said it was not referencing the first family's Secret Service detail but rather the elite school the president’s children attend, which provides armed security.
The governor said he does not support the NRA’s proposal to put armed guards in schools in New Jersey but said he would keep an open mind. According to recent polls, a majority of people favor the idea.
Christie did not say whether he supports a federal assault weapon ban or restrictions on high-capacity ammunition magazines. But in opening remarks during the press conference, he touted his state’s gun laws as “common sense” proposals, which include a ban on both assault weapons and clips that hold more than 15 rounds.