New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was at a campaign event in Belmont, New Hampshire, last week when he shared an intensely personal pair of anecdotes that he said helped shape his views on addiction. We need to treat addicts, instead of judging and jailing them, Christie said.
The Republican presidential candidate first spoke about his mother, who took up smoking as a teenager and tried to quit multiple times before she was diagnosed with lung cancer at 71, and then about a close friend whose life was destroyed by a painkiller addiction.
"No one came to me and said, 'Hey listen, your mother was dumb. She started smoking when she was 16, and even after we told her it was bad for her she kept doing it, so we're not going to give her chemotherapy, we're not going to give her radiation, we're not going to give her any of that stuff. You know why? Because she's getting what she deserves,'" Christie told voters. "No one said that."
He went on to draw a parallel between his views on abortion and his views on addiction.
"I'm pro-life, and I think that if you're pro-life that means that you have to be pro-life for the whole life, not just the nine months they are in the womb. It's easy to be pro-life for the nine months they're in the womb. They haven't done anything to disappoint us yet. They're perfect in there! But when they get out, that's when it gets tough."
The life of an addict, Christie went on, "is just as much a precious gift from God as the one in the womb, and we need to start thinking that way as a party and as a people and the president needs to say those things."