Citing his own experience as a father in the public eye, Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hammered the National Rifle Association Thursday for referencing the president's daughters in a "reprehensible" and "awful" web ad.
"To talk about the president's children or any public officers children who have -- not by their own choice, but by requirement -- to have protection, to use that somehow to try to make a political point I think is reprehensible," he said at a news conference in Trenton.
Christie, who has four children, said that his kids had "no choice, realistically" in his decision to become a public figure and themselves be subject to the media spotlight.
"I think it's awful to bring public figures' children into the political debate," he said. "They don't deserve to be there. And I think for any of us who are public figures, you see that kind of ad and you cringe."
The web ad, released Tuesday night, questions the president's skepticism of the NRA's proposal to put armed guards in every school in America even though the First Family has Secret Service Protection.
"Are the presidents’ kids more important than yours?” a narrator asks in the short video.
Christie, who was criticized by some on the right for praising the president in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, is up for re-election this year. He is commonly cited as a possible 2016 presidential contender for the GOP.
The popular governor said Thursday that the controversial advertisement undermines the NRA's credibility as an advocate for gun rights.
"Don’t be dragging people’s children into this,” he said. “It’s wrong and I think it demeans them and it makes them less of a valid trusted source of information on the real issues that confront this debate."