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WATCH: On Sandy Anniversary, Gov. Chris Christie Faces Off With Heckler

A man is removed by security guards while he shots slogans to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during a public event in Belmar, N.J.
Kena Betancur
Getty Images
A man is removed by security guards while he shots slogans to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during a public event in Belmar, N.J.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, known for fierce confrontations with his detractors, is at it again.

Today, during an event commemorating the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, a man interrupted his speech to complain about the pace of the recovery. reports the man in question was Jim Keady, who runs an advocacy organization called Finish the Job. He stood up and shouted, "Finish the job." adds:

"'Yeah, you do yours, too, buddy,' Chrisite shot back, and continued speaking.

"But the heckler wasn't standing down, and continued his tirade.

"'Now, you all know me,' said Christie. 'So if we're going to get into a debate here today, it's going to get very interesting and very fun.'

"He wasn't kidding.

"'I'll be more than happy to have a debate with you anytime you like, guy, because somebody like you doesn't know a damn thing about what you're talking about except to stand up and show off when the cameras are here. I've been here when the cameras aren't here, buddy, and done the work..... Turn around, get your fifteen minutes of fame, and then, maybe, take your jacket off, roll up your sleeves, and do something for the people of this state.'"

Bloomberg caught up with Keady, who has a fascinating story of his own. He used to be a councilman and in the '90s he played professional soccer — the backup goalie for Tim Howard.

He told Bloomberg he was angry that New Jersey had not distributed $800 million in aide for storm victims.

"If I'd just stood up, sat down, and been polite, you and I wouldn't be talking right now," Keady told Bloomberg. "It's necessary at times to do small and large acts of civil disobedience so people's voices can be heard. And if Governor Christie doesn't like that, he's in the wrong business."

Keady went on: "I'm a 6-foot-4, 215-pound former pro-athlete. I'm not going to be bullied by him. And when he goes into his bullying routine, it lays bare the fact that he does not want to talk about the political realities that are being presented to him."

Keady, who runs a tavern, invited Christie to dinner to talk further. Christie declined, impolitely.

He ended the confrontation by saying: "Sit down and shut up."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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