Kindergarten Teacher Urges Christie to Tone it Down

OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (AP) -

A kindergarten teacher on Tuesday urged Gov. Chris Christie to tone down his combative style, warning the potential presidential contender that his temper wouldn’t play well across the country.

Christie, who built his national reputation as a straight-talker unafraid to mince words, said in part that people are looking for honesty in their leaders and that people will always know what he thinks.

But during a town hall at a high school, Cheryl Meyer, 45, told Christie that she’d had trouble explaining to her students why it was fine for the man who holds the highest office in the state to use words like “shut up” and “idiot” when they can’t.

“How do you defend that?” she asked.

The governor sounded an introspective note, thanking Meyer for her question and talking about how, as a public official, people are constantly trying to push his buttons and that rarely — though sometimes — they succeed.

“Sometimes I just want to do it,” he said, adding that he knows to expect grief from his wife when he gets home. Other times,  “you just have a bad day.”

But even if he tries to limit his blow-ups, he said, he’ll never become “vanilla” or say things only because it’s what people want to hear.

Among those in the audience was Jim Keady, the man Christie famously told to “sit down and shut up” last year. Keady, who is now running for state assembly, said he found Christie’s answer to Meyer unconvincing.

“Of course you have the urge. You’re a human being. … But it’s called self-control, it’s called respect for your office,” Keady said.