Last October, Chris Christie's brusque personality was on full display. The New Jersey governor shot back at a nurse who threatened to sue for quarantining her for Ebola even after she tested negative for the virus. "Whatever, get in line," he said.
Christie's tough attitude was nowhere to be found, however, on whether parents should vaccinate their kids against measles. The government needs to "balance" the needs of public health officials and parents' choice, the potential Republican presidential candidate told reporters on Monday.
Christie said he and his wife vaccinated their children and that "we think that it’s an important part of being sure we protect their health and the public health," according to The Washington Post.
“I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well, so that’s the balance that the government has to decide," Christie said during a visit to the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, President Obama said unequivocally that parents should have their children vaccinated. He acknowledged that some families have concerns about immunizations, but he said the science behind them is "pretty indisputable."
"You should get your kids vaccinated," the president said Sunday during an interview with NBC News.
Public health officials are worried about a large outbreak of measles. There are already over 100 reported cases in 14 states and the director of the Centers for Disease Control, Tom Frieden, said Sunday there could be more.
Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children are receiving blame for the spread of the disease, which would have otherwise been preventable.
Christie received heavy criticism for his comments. Much of the evidence used by the anti-vaccine movement, such as a link between vaccination and autism, has been debunked.
Here's Republican media consultant Rick Wilson:
And conservative columnist John Podhoretz:
Christie's office issued a statement seeking to clarify his remarks.
Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.