Earlier in the week, the National Rifle Association opened up a Pandora’s Box when it outlined a 225-page report filled with recommendations on how to prevent violence on school campuses across the country. If they are to have it their way, teachers and other school personnel will be carrying guns in the very near future to protect their students.
“I have not focused on the separate debate in Congress about firearms and how they should be handled,” said Asa Hutchinson, a former Republican congressman, who is heading up the National School Shield Program.
However, the reality is this: inner city schools, in heavily urban areas, have been dealing with armed guards and metal detectors in the schools for almost three decades now. And needless to say, the populations in these schools are predominately African American.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations, conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida and Loyola University in New Orleans with data from the National Center for Education Statistics, found that schools with security guards and guards who bear firearms have higher rates of serious violent crime than do similar schools that lack such personnel.
“Is it a good idea to have private citizens who have had a few hours of training bringing guns into schools? Probably not,” said Arkadi Gerney to MSNBC. Gerney is a Center for American Progress fellow who works on gun policy. “That may end up creating risks instead of reducing risks.”
To date, the NRA has spent more than $1 million to back the task force, which was created in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut.
“As parents we send our kids off to school, and there are certain expectations - and obviously at Sandy Hook those expectations weren’t met,” said Mark Mattiolli, the father of a child killed during the Sandy Hook shooting. “This is recommendations for solutions – real solutions that will make our kids safer.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, large metropolitan areas account for more than two-thirds of deaths by gun violence each year, with inner cities most affected. The majority of the victims are young, ranging in age from their early teens to mid-20s, and Black.
Arming school personnel is the first of eight recommendations included in the plan. Among the other ideas: an online self-assessment tool that schools can use to evaluate their facilities and safety policies; changes to state laws to allow school personnel to carry guns while they’re in training; increasing coordination among law enforcement agencies; encouraging states to make school safety part of their educational requirements; making the task force a permanent group; creating a pilot program to assess threats and mental health; and increasing federal funding for school safety.
The push to change the subject away from gun control and toward increasing the presence of guns in schools comes a week before Senate Democrats are expected to consider a package of new gun laws on the floor of the upper chamber.
Hutchinson presented the task force’s findings at the National Press Club, where he was protected by at least 10 security guards, some uniformed and some in plain clothes.
“No, there’s nothing I’m afraid of,” he said when asked about the intense security presence. National Press Club executive director Bill McGowan said after the event that the security level was “unusual” and “definitely got our attention.”
Months after the National Rifle Association first floated the idea of getting more armed staffers in schools to prevent another Sandy Hook massacre; the idea is slowly gaining traction in some states and districts. The report included a model program on how to train and arm school personnel to respond in the event of an active shooter.
The goal is to “give the schools more tools to respond quickly and reduce the loss of lives,” Hutchinson said while presenting the report.
Wayne LaPierre, CEO and Executive Vice President of the NRA, was derided by an array of political leaders when it was first proposed in December . “What’s next? Armed guards at Starbucks and Little League games?” asked California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat.
Nevertheless, polling suggests Americans are open to armed guards or staffers, and some lawmakers and school leaders are moving forward.
“The real question for me is that what we really want our children to grow up with?” said Billie P. Weiss, MPH, UCLA School of Public Health. “Until I see the research that supports such a strategy as being effective – I think it’s a terrible idea. An armed guard would not have stopped the shooter in Newtown, armed guards are not going to have military assault weapons with magazines that hold 100 rounds of ammunition, and it is foolish to think that it might.”
The Florida House Education Subcommittee approved a bill at the end of March that would arm employees by allowing principals or district superintendents to select individuals to be exempted from prohibitions on carrying firearms on school property.
Tennessee school districts would be allowed to hire additional security personnel or arm a staff member under new legislation.
“This is just an option for those schools who don’t have school resource officers,” Tennessee Rep. Eric Watson, a Republican, said to a local newspaper. “This gives schools an option to hire their own security or want staff members willing to serve in that security capacity. Of course, they have to go through a lot of series of training to get to that point.”
Watson’s bill would require that applicants pass an eight-hour handgun safety course. Critics of bills like the one in Tennessee have questioned how much training should be required before someone is allowed to carry a gun in a building full of children.
“This is a very bad idea,” said Carole Lieberman, child psychiatrist and Best Selling author of Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them, and When to Leave Them. “More kids will die inadvertently from giving guns to teachers and security guards than from random shooters like Adam Lanza. Studies prove that homes with guns have an increased number of deaths from gun accidents, suicide and homicide. This will be even worse for schools with guns. The Sandy Hook and Batman shooters wouldn’t have been stopped by gun control. Both of them were addicted to violent media and needed psychiatric treatment. Arming teachers and security guards isn’t the answer! Banning violent video games and improving the mental health system is the answer.”
MSNBC contributed to this report.
Zack Burgess is the enterprise writer for The Tribune.
After a week of serious deliberation, the Supreme Court seems to be moving toward striking down the federal law that denies legally married same-sex spouses a wide range of benefits offered to other couples.
The court wrapped up its arguments over gay marriage and looks as if a majority of the justices signified that they will overturn at least part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
And while it is evident what a serious decision will do for mainstream America, it has yet to be seen how it will affect the African American community.
“The debate is a blessing to us all in that it challenges the church to promote the scriptural denotation of marriage while at the same time accepting those of the LBGT community,” said Bishop Nerrick Jackson of The Grace of God Ministries in Florence, KY. “The doors of all churches should be open to everyone as the Bible instructs that ‘whosoever will let them come,’ however, it is the will of God that those who come to him, become more like him.”
It’s no secret that both African Americans and gays have been denied equal access to the rights, responsibilities and protections that the Constitution is supposed to provide. In February 2012, Maryland became the eighth state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. And Washington state joined them shortly thereafter, which has some among the African-American clergy scratching their heads.
“The church cannot endorse what is being debated, nor can we encourage the lifestyle,” said Jackson. “Our position must be to bring about change through the love of God -- which is not to reject them but redirect them towards holiness. We are at best in handling this issue when we collectively bring our flaws to the throne of God and acknowledge before him our shortcomings. After all, we've all fallen short of the glory of God.”
“The African-American community's longstanding plethora of homophobia stems from a deep-rooted connection to traditional Christian/Southern values,” said Farrrah Parker, a strategic marketing & public relations consultant. “We have served as the target of unbelievable racism throughout our very long history in America – the church views homophobia as an avoidable target. Coupled with religious beliefs, image has always played an integral role in the Black community.”
Karen Golinski was legally married to her partner of more than 20 years in California in 2008. But when the federal employee applied for health benefits for her spouse, she was denied thanks to DOMA. Same-sex unions also were legal in California for nearly five months in 2008 before the Proposition 8 ban.
And when President Barack Obama announced his support for gay marriage last May, it was considered a bold and audacious political move, considering for so long he was vague on the issue. But now that the issue is before the Supreme Court, it’s obvious that the president’s attitude has overwhelmingly changed the conversation. Obama’s backing of gay marriage has helped to shift opinion in one of the last parts of a sector of society tough on gay marriage: African-Americans.
“Just as the heterosexual whoremonger must desire to change, just as the alcoholic must desire to be sober and work towards sobriety, just as the drug addict is welcomed but expected to change and be delivered from addiction, those who are prescribe to sexual behavior outside of the guidelines and boundaries of scriptures are expected to work towards becoming what God has ordained for them to be according to his word,” said Jackson.
While polls differ on the exact level of Black support for gay marriage, almost half of African-Americans in Maryland backed the provision allowing gay marriages there last fall, and opposition to gay marriage has dipped below 50 percent among Blacks nationally, according to the Pew Research Center. And Obama’s statement made it easier for influential African-American organizations, such as the NAACP, also to voice their support for gay marriage, as well as professional athletes, even if some influential pastors in many Black communities still opposed it.
“As it relates to the LGBT community, Black families have a history of encouraging youth to hide "gay" behaviors in avoidance of becoming a target,” said Parker. “As a result, the Black community has a swelling population of gay men and women who suppress their emotions and live life in the shadows. This startling trend weakens the community in that you have an entire segment living in the shadows - often times leading double lives leading to physical and emotional disconnection.”
As the case was argued before the Supreme Courts, the split during the nearly two hours of oral argument largely fell along traditional conservative - liberal lines, with Justice Anthony Kennedy potentially holding the middle ground.
Kennedy joined the four more liberal justices in raising questions about a provision of the marriage act that is being challenged at the court.
Kennedy said the law appears to intrude on the power of states that have chosen to recognize same-sex marriages.
When so many federal statutes are affected, "which in our society means that the federal government is intertwined with the citizens' day-to-day life, you are at real risk of running in conflict with what has always been thought to be the essence of the state police power, which is to regulate marriage, divorce, custody," Kennedy said.
Since the federal law was enacted in 1996, nine states and the District of Columbia have made it legal for gays and lesbians to marry.
Kennedy raised questions last week about a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman for purposes of federal law.
It affects more than 1,100 statutes in which marital status is relevant, dealing with tax breaks for married couples, Social Security survivor benefits and, for federal employees, health insurance and leave to care for spouses.
If the court does strike down part of DOMA, it would represent a victory for gay rights advocates. But it would be something short of the endorsement of gay marriage nationwide that some envisioned when the justices agreed in December to hear the federal case and the challenge to California's ban on same-sex marriage.
Still, the tenor of the arguments over the week reflected how quickly attitudes have changed since large majorities in Congress passed the federal DOMA in 1996 and President Bill Clinton signed it into law.
In 2011, President Barack Obama abandoned the legal defense of the law in the face of several lawsuits. Clinton, too, has voiced regret for signing the law and now supports allowing gays and lesbians to marry.
“I realized that I was, you know, over 60 years old,” President Clinton told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “I grew up in a different time. And I was hung up about the word. And I had all these gay friends. I had all these gay couple friends. And I was hung up about it. And I decided I was wrong.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Zack Burgess is the enterprise writer for The Tribune. He can be contacted at zackburgess.com and followed on Twitter @zackburgess1.
It is not talked about much within the African American community – the sexual abuse of women.
A study conducted by Black Women’s Blueprint found that 60 percent of Black girls have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 18. Furthermore, more than 300 African American women nationwide participated in a similar research project conducted by The Black Women’s Health Imperative seven years ago, where they found that the rate of sexual assault was approximately 40 percent.
The universal nature of this suffering could translate into an amplified threat for Black women and girls to experience depression, PTSD and addiction, common symptoms experienced by many survivors of rape.
“It’s a darkness I would not wish on my worst enemy,” said an African-American woman, a rape survivor, who wished not to be identified. “But what are you supposed to do? You tell your mother or an adult and for the most part … people think you are lying and fabricating a story. I’m sorry – love should not be that blind for a man. For me it was my mother’s boyfriend.”
The Department of Justice estimates that for every white woman that reports her rape, at least 5 white women do not report theirs; and yet, for every African-American woman that reports her rape, at least 15 African-American women do not report theirs.
There are many reasons why Black women may choose not to report incidences of sexual assault. Survivors of all races often fear that they will not be believed or will be blamed for their attack, but Black women face exceptional challenges.
Historically, law enforcement has been used to control African-American communities through brutality and racial profiling. It may be difficult for a Black woman to seek help if she feels it could be at the expense of African-American men or her community. The history of racial injustice (particularly the stereotype of the Black male as a sexual predator) and the need to protect her community from further attack might persuade a survivor to remain silent. Unfortunately, there still is not enough research to fully understand the scope of violence against Black women and the barriers they face in receiving adequate support services.
“No race, ethnic group, or economic class is spared from sexual violence or the myths and misinformation that complicate the healing process for survivors. But in addition to our higher victimization rate, African Americans are less likely to get the help we need to heal,” says Lori S. Robinson, author of I Will Survive: The African-American Guide to Healing From Sexual Assault and Abuse to Forbes Magazine.
The movement to end sexual violence in the lives of Black women in the U.S. is intimately connected to the Civil Rights movement. Yet the issue has not been effectively discussed in the Black community.
Robinson points out that in studies of Black women’s sexuality conducted by psychologist Dr. Gail Elizabeth Wyatt, half of the women who had experienced childhood sexual abuse never told anyone and less than 5 percent ever got counseling. “African-American women are raped at a higher rate than white women, and are less likely to report it. We have suffered in silence far too long,” she said.
Rosa Parks is remembered as the NAACP organizer who sparked the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and helped give birth to the Civil Rights Movement, but she was an anti-rape activist long before the boycott. “Decades before radical feminists in the Women’s Movement urged rape survivors to ‘speak out,’ African-American women’s public protests galvanized local, national and even international outrage and sparked larger campaigns for racial justice and human dignity,” says Dr. Danielle L. McGuire, author of “At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape and Resistance (A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power).”
Filmmaker and activist Aishah Shahidah Simmons, speaks out on the issue of sexual violence. Her ground-breaking film, “NO! The Rape Documentary” was a part of her own healing process as a survivor of sexual assault.
She said, “It’s mandatory. “NO!” saved my life. I have my own stories of child sexual abuse and rape. “NO!” was my cultural activism. In “NO!” the women’s stories were different, and yet similar to my own. Getting involved in this movement has healed me.”
In addition to her anti-rape activism, Simmons recommends the tools she uses on her healing journey, which include therapy with a licensed clinical psychologist (or a licensed social worker), Vipassana meditation and the Buddhist practice of loving-kindness “so you don’t become the very entity that you are trying to fight,” she said. She also emphasizes the importance of community, “Find community that will not re-victimize you. Connect online to survivors who are doing this work. Faith communities are important, but they are not a substitution for therapy.”
Simmons acknowledges that African-American women face barriers to finding the healing resources they need. “Because of the history of racism and sexism in America, in many instances, you are already presumed guilty,” she said to Forbes Magazine. “It is assumed that we are always wanting, willing, and able. Sometimes women call the police and the police decide a rape didn’t occur because of their race. You wonder if you will you be treated with respect. If your community is held hostage by the police, how can you trust the police? Where do you go?”
Through the filmmaking process, she discovered that racism played a significant role in survivors’ reactions to rape. “There was a level of trust with perpetrators because (as in the majority of all rape cases, regardless of race/ethnicity), the women I interviewed were raped by acquaintances. They would ask, ‘How do I come forward?’ because they were advocating against racism in their communities and didn’t want to send another Black man to jail. We are trained as women not to betray the Black race.”
“This country has a virulent history of racist violence perpetuated against Black Women, yet we have tried to protect Black men from racism. Like Black men, Black women have been horribly impacted by white supremacy. Yet, there is often not the same outcry in our communities when a Black woman is raped,” Simmons said.
Forbes Magazine contributed to this report.
Zack Burgess is the enterprise writer for The Tribune. He can be contacted at zackburgess.com and followed on Twitter @zackburgess1.
For almost two centuries now, historically Black colleges or HBCUs as they are often called, have been educating the best and the brightest.
So, when Barack Obama broke the glass ceiling of electoral politics and became the first African American to serve as President of the United States, many hailed his accomplishment as an important sign of racial progress and equality of opportunity – feeling that African Americans had finally arrived.
At the same time, some looked toward historically Black colleges and universities, institutions established in a time of overt segregation and restricted educational opportunity, and asked, "Are HBCUs still relevant to the nation's future?"
The reality today, however, is that there's no shortage of traditional colleges willing to give Black students a chance. When segregation was legal, Black colleges were responsible for almost all Black collegians. Today, nearly 90 percent of Black students spurn historically Black colleges.
"Even the best Black colleges and universities do not approach the standards of quality of respectable institutions," wrote economist Thomas Sowell. "None has a department ranking among the leading graduate departments in any of the 29 fields surveyed by the American Council of Education. None ranks among the 'selective' institutions with regard to student admissions. None has a student body whose College Board scores are within 100 points of any school in the Ivy League."
Sowell wrote in an academic journal in 1974, yet with few exceptions the description remains accurate. These days the better Black schools—Howard, Spelman, Morehouse - are rated "selective" in the U.S. News rankings, but their average SAT scores still lag behind those at decent state schools like the University of Texas at Austin, and lag far behind Ivy League schools.
In 2006, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the six-year graduation rate at HBCUs was 37 percent. That's 20 percentage points below the national average and eight percentage points below the average of Black students at other colleges. A recent Washington Monthly magazine survey of colleges with the worst graduation rates featured Black schools in first and second place, and in eight of the top 24 spots.
“I don’t think you can judge a historically Black school by the numbers,” said Dr. Ben Gilbert, a Philadelphia-based dentist and Howard University graduate. “They give you confidence, help you understand who you are, and give you a plethora of lifelong friendships that are valuable beyond your wildest dreams. I have a network of friends all over the world because of my Howard experience. Therefore, my kids are now at Howard, enjoying that same experience.”
But economists Roland Fryer of Harvard and Michael Greenstone of MIT have found Black colleges are inferior to traditional schools in preparing students for post-college life. "In the 1970s, HBCU matriculation was associated with higher wages and an increased probability of graduation, relative to attending a [traditional college]," they wrote in a 2007 paper. "By the 1990s, however, there is a substantial wage penalty. Overall, there is a 20 percent decline in the relative wages of HBCU graduates in just two decades." The authors concluded that "by some measures, HBCU attendance appears to retard Black progress."
Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have urged HBCUs to improve their graduation rates - Duncan has said they need to increase “exponentially” - but the administration has brought little pressure to bear, and is offering substantial financial assistance to keep them afloat. Howard and Spelman have endowments valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but a large majority of Black colleges have very small endowments and more than 80 percent get most of their revenue from the government.
“The reality is this…if you want it, that’s success, it’s out there for you to get no matter where you go to school,” said Rodney Cohen, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Students at Yale University and a graduate of Clark University in Atlanta. “I wouldn’t trade my experience at the AU Center for anything. I have seen how lonely these kids are who attend schools with people who do not look like them and act like them. I have so many friends today who will often say to me how they wish they had attended an HBCU. You come out of them ready for the world. Often the kids who attend HBCU’s are the first to go to college in their family, so they come out of them with a different kind of hunger. They are still very relevant for our kids today.”
Consider the fact while the 105 public and private HBCUs make up only 3 percent of today's colleges and universities, more than 20 percent of all African-American college graduates attended an HBCU. Particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), where Black students are woefully under-represented in most predominantly white institutions, HBCUs have demonstrated great effectiveness in fostering academic success. In fact, according to the National Science Foundation, almost a third of all doctoral degrees awarded in the sciences to African Americans went to men and women who attended HBCUs as undergraduates.
Spelman College is leading the way, having sent more African Americans (150 women) on to earn Ph.D. degrees in the STEM fields in the ten years between 1997 and 2006 than Georgia Tech (32), Emory (24), Duke (34), and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (54) combined.
“Most importantly you are taught to pay it forward. To mentor and be an inspiration to someone else,” said Mark Christie, a businessman, who attended Hampton University. “It’s ingrained in you to give back, because you don’t get to a certain level of success without help. And for me, it started on that Campus back in Hampton, Virginia. Definitely they are still needed. Black schools help you find your identity. And to be Black in America, that’s very important.”
Zack Burgess is the enterprise writer for The Tribune.
For politicians, it’s always about the next election.
It’s an interesting notion that New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who is often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2016, despite his denial of such aspirations, is more popular among Democrats than he is within his own party.
According to Public Policy Polling, Christie’s favorability is strong: 51 percent to 23 percent. He stands +29 with Democrats (52 percent to 23 percent), compared to +21 with Republicans (48 percent to 27 percent). But it’s among independents that Christie is most popular: 52 percent to 18 percent.
According to PPP, “Compared to a month ago, he’s up a net 12 points with Democrats and down a net 11 points with Republicans.”
The governor also currently holds a 73 percent approval rating from his own state’s registered voters — with 61 percent saying the state is moving in the right direction. Those giving rave reviews include 62 percent of Democrats and seven in 10 women.
According to pollster Tom Jensen, Christie’s change in popularity with members of both parties most likely stems from a nationally televised press conference where he slammed House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, for delaying a vote on aid to recover from Hurricane Sandy.
“I think the change from last month is probably mostly about the Boehner stuff, but I think the longer term change is certainly all the positive national publicity he got for how he handled the hurricane — but also specifically how he dealt with (President Barack) Obama,” said Jensen to NewJersey.com.
Jensen said his organization will release a poll soon on the potential field for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. He said Christie does well among moderate Republicans, but has virtually no support from the tea party members.
Among all voters, Christie is more popular than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the National Rifle Association.
The automated telephone poll of 1,100 registered voters was conducted from Jan. 3 to Jan. 6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Ever since Hurricane Sandy destroyed parts of New Jersey, and Christie welcomed the president with open arms in the latter days of a very contentious presidential race, he has been in what many see as the political doghouse with his own party. There are those who believe that his actions influenced the outcome of the presidential race.
In New Jersey, Christie’s crisis management of the storm, and his favorable praise of the president with words like “outstanding,” “incredibly supportive” and worthy of “great credit,” gave him a ton of credibility among voters in his state — and with Democrats and independents all over the county.
According to The New York Times, the tensions followed Christie to the annual meeting of the Republican Governors Association in Las Vegas in November of 2012. At a gathering where he had expected to be celebrated, the governor was repeatedly reminded of how deeply he had offended fellow Republicans.
His apparent eagerness to work closely with the president has put in jeopardy any hopes he may have to be a national candidate. A number of Republicans have wondered aloud if he is still a viable nominee.
“It hurt him a lot,” said Douglas E. Gross, a longtime Republican in Iowa who has overseen several presidential campaigns in the state, to The New York Times. “The presumption is that Republicans can’t count on him.”
Republican voters in Iowa, the first state to select presidential candidates, “don’t forget things like this,” Gross said.
With Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s loss still stinging the party, Christie’s conduct remains a topic of widespread discussion.
“People keep asking me why you were so nice to the president,” Governor-elect Pat McCrory of North Carolina told Christie when they encountered each other in Las Vegas. “I tell them you are doing your job.”
“That’s right,” Christie replied, patting him on the back.
The Romney campaign still believes that Christie’s expressions of admiration for the president, coupled with pervasive news coverage of the hurricane’s aftermath, raised President Obama’s standing at a critical moment in the campaign.
During a lengthy look at the campaign, Romney’s political advisers said that a large number of voters who were undecided until the end of the campaign cited the storm as a major factor in their decision for backing the president.
“Christie,” a Romney adviser said to The New York Times, “allowed Obama to be president, not a politician.”
In that sense, Christie has been a convenient scapegoat for a candidacy that fell short for many reasons — demographic, ideological and personal — and Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, emphasized that Christie did “exactly what a governor should do” in a crisis.
Still, a resentment remains among top financial donors who contributed big to Romney, many of whom had considered Christie a very influential friend.
In interviews, several of the donors speculated that Christie was positioning himself as a softer, post-partisan figure in time for his re-election as governor next year.
Christie’s popularity has created a quagmire for the Republican faithful. Since the hurricane, he has become a political celebrity with the image of a regular guy.
Some party loyalists saw his behavior after the hurricane as an echo of his convention keynote address in August, when he trumpeted his own accomplishments — but made scant reference to Romney.
But the argument is rejected by those loyal to the governor. Republican Party booster Kenneth G. Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, told Christie to ignore carping party activists who he predicted would soon plead with him to seek higher office.
“I said, ‘Governor, if you lead a miraculous recovery of the state of New Jersey, that is all that is going to matter,’” said Langone to The New York Times. “They are going to be begging you to run, just like they begged Eisenhower.”
After the storm, Christie walked into a restaurant in Princeton, where he received a booming ovation.
Las Vegas was a little different, where Republican governors, past and present, offered a range of explanations for Christie’s warmth toward the president. After all, nothing can kill a political career like a botched response to a disaster.
“People here understand Chris Christie’s effusive personality,” said Haley Barbour, a former governor of Mississippi.
And Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa said, “There are some people that think maybe he could have handled it — been a little less gushing. But that’s his personality. He has got that New Jersey edge to him, you know, for good or bad.”
NewJersey.com and The New York Times contributed to this report.
Zack Burgess is the senior writer for Real Times Media and the Michigan Chronicle. He can be contacted at zackburgess.com.