New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said today he believes that any new gun control measure that makes it through Congress will have to be a "comprehensive package" that also addresses mental health issues, substance abuse, and violent video games that "desensitize" kids to killing.
"You cannot tell me that a kid sitting in a basement for hours, playing ‘Call of Duty’ and killing people over and over again does not desensitize that child from the real life effects of violence,” the Republican governor said MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Christie balked at the idea of new laws aimed only at more gun restrictions, saying that unless lawmakers deal "with these other issues . . . you're just being political."Christie cited a report in the Connecticut Post that Adam Lanza, the gunman who killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14 had often played violent video games for hours.
"I believe there has to be a complete package. Deal with the weapons that you need to deal with," he said. But he added, " You're not going to eliminate the problem or reduce the problem in my view," without address mental health issues.
"We need to get people treatment. It's a disease," he said, likening it to cancer or other serious ailments people would normally seek help for.
Christie also addressed his own rising popularity in the Morning Joe interview. A new poll released today show him with a 73 percent approval rating, a political windfall that he said he hopes to "spend down" quickly.
"The whole idea of putting political capital together is to spend it down," he said. "Spend it down and, hopefully, do something good with it that allows your numbers to go back up again. And then spend some more.
But Christie, who has risen in popularity for both handling of the Hurricane Sandy crisis and his willingness to compromise with Democrats on a number issues, said it's important that whatever decision he makes are carried out "wisely and effectively."
"If you get things done you earn more [political capital]. If you don't get things done then people get frustrated," he said.
Extending that comment to his own Republican Party, Christie said the difference between how well the 30 Republican governors appear to be doing across the nation compared to the low-standing that GOP leaders on Capitol Hill appear to have at the moment is because the governors don't view compromise as a "dirty word."
"That I think is what the public is really hungry for, is to see things get done, and that's why Republican governors are doing well," he said.
"We're governing . . .That's the difference. We're governing," he added.
But Christie was quick to note that President Barack Obama had failed to establish the kind of relationships needed with Republican leaders to help make governing easier. Without the development of personal relationships, he said, there can be no trust.
"I think there's a people problem," Christie said, referring to the failure of Democrats and Republicans alike to establish relationships that help pave the way to compromise.
"The fact that Vice President [Joe] Biden had to sit with [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell [to fiscal cliff deal] is in an indication that he isn't getting it done," Christie said, citing Obama's shortcoming as an example of the problem. "And he's lucky he has Vice President Biden, who has those relationships, or else the White House would have no relationships on the Hill."
Christie also was asked in his round of the morning shows about a possible bid for the presidency in 2016 against Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
During an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America," he said he thought his chances of winning were "as good as the prospects of anybody else." But he said anybody who tries to make plans now to run four years from now "is crazy."
But he did leave the door wide open. "I will be more ready than I was in 2012 [ to run] because I will have done my job for longer and, hopefully, gotten better. But that will be a decision me and Mary Pat will make if and when the time comes,” he said.
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