Christie Calls for Civility After Tucson, But.....

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gestures Friday, Dec. 31, 2010, in Freehold, N.J., as he answers a question about last weekend's blizzard. New Jersey will seek federal aid to help cover cleanup costs related to the monster winter storm that dropped up to 30 inches of snow on the state. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    At a Town Hall meeting just days after the alleged attempted assassination of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie said, "the events of the last week have put a spotlight" on political discourse.

    But the blustery, popular first term governor of a state that normally votes Democrat made it clear that he will not change his policy of giving back as good as he gets.

    Some Democrats have called him a "bully" but Christie told a packed Elks Lodge in Paramus, N.J., "If somebody is gonna yell and scream at me, I'm gonna yell and scream back."

    Nonetheless, he was quick to call for more civility, and added, "We cannot play to the lowest common denominator and we can't lead out of fear."

    "In a civilized society like America, we have to treat each other civilly," Christie said.

    But if there was any doubt about his willingness to challenge anyone who he feels isn't treating him civilly, Christie also noted, "While we don't expect to be treated poorly in return, (if that's what we get) that's what (you) deserve."

    For the most part Christie got strong applause from the capacity crowd.

    Christie's State of the State this week became a major talking point in the political sphere, particularly as it related to education reform.

    Asked about the hot-button topic on "Good Morning America," he said, "This is the transformational issue that can also bring both parties together, if we just rise above the interests, the special interests that want to protect the failed status quo."

    Christie also had a few choice words for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who criticized the govenror for staying in Disney World while his state was walloped with two feet of snow during the post-Christmas blizzard.

    Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY