Christie says he went 'too far' in calling Navy SEAL an 'idiot'

William Brown is removed from the auditorium in Roebling after his confrontation with Gov. Christie. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

Gov. Christie shouldn't have called a Navy SEAL an idiot.

So says the governor himself, in a rare moment of quasi-contrition. 

Esquire magazine today published an interview with Christie in which he speaks of the town hall meeting in Florence Township when he got into an argument with a Navy SEAL about the Rutgers-Rowan merger -- and ultimately called that Navy SEAL an idiot.

In the interview, Christie said:

I let him speak, I was trying to answer, but he kept interrupting me. And he told me he was a law student. So I told him, If you conduct yourself in court like that, you're gonna get your rear end thrown in jail by a judge. Now, I should have stopped right there. But then I said, "Idiot." He was acting like an idiot, but if I had the chance, I would have just ended it at telling him not to interrupt...Every once in a while, you go a little too far.

He also tugged at the heart in the interview: 

Last Saturday, I brought my first child to college. That night I was putting my twelve-year-old son to bed, and as I was tucking him in, he said to me, "Dad, do you miss Andrew?" And I said, "Sure." I said, "Do you?" And he said — this is a twelve-year-old — he said, "More than I have words to describe." Whew. So I tucked him into bed, and I said, "Well, listen, if you need to talk, you know you can talk to Dad." And he said, "Sure. You're my man." And I go to walk out of the room and close the door, and he said, "Dad, come here for a sec." So I came back in, and he said to me, "And Dad, if you need anything tonight, I'll be right here."

I'll be on Name-Calling Watch at 3 p.m. today, when Christie returns to South Jersey for a town hall meeting at the Mount Laurel in YMCA. Stay tuned.