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The Post  
NJ Gov. Chris Christie and Veteran Get in Shouting Match over Rowan-Rutgers Camden Merger; 'Idiot'
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 03/09/12 5:53 pm | updated: 03/09/12 5:53 pm

New Jersey Chris Christie and former Navy SEAL William Brown got into a heated verbal argument on Thursday. This occurred during a town hall meeting held in Roebling, Florence Township, Burlington County, where Christie was fielding questions about his plan to merge Rutgers-Camden and Rowan University.

Brown, 34, who is a Rutgers-Camden law student and former Democratic Assembly candidate and opposes the merger became upset after Christie told him that the school would definitely be folded into Rowan. Eventually, the yelling match ended with Christie calling Brown an 'idiot' and officers having to escort Brown out of the building.

However, It seems like some of the media accounts, as usual, don't give the situation a fair account and isolate the 'idiot' quote out of context and play up the veteran status of Mr. Brown.

Here is the back and forth account culled from sources:

The governor snapped at Brown after he kept interrupting him. Christie was trying to explain why he was going to go ahead with the merger despite opposition.

"Listen, pal, I sat here and listened to your story and your position . . . and if you decide what you want to do is put on a show today, let me tell you something, I can go back and forth with you as much as you want," said Christie.

The governor said that not everyone at Rutgers was against the merger and that he was "providing opportunities for a bigger and better university."

Brown replied: "Nobody at Rutgers wants it, nobody in South Jersey."

Christie responded louder: "And let me tell you something, if, after you graduate from law school, you conduct yourself like that in a courtroom, your rear end's going to be thrown in jail, idiot."

Brown, who was wearing an Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America T-shirt, was then removed by police officers and spoken to outside by a plainclothes officer for several minutes.

"It's freedom of expression," he told the officers. "This is America."

Brown was not arrested and was told he could return if he maintained decorum.

Brown could have chosen a better way to approach this town hall meeting, but he did get his message heard. He is worried that the merger would make it harder for non-traditional students to get higher education opportunities.

Brown said that he thought both Christie's response and the police actions were "inappropriate."

"I think he's a bully sometimes," Brown said. "I was disappointed the governor couldn't have a debate."

Christie says he gets it from his mother.

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