During the Dec. 15 GOP debate, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said that he would shoot down a Russian plane (video below).
CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked Christie a hypothetical question about downing a Russian plane in a no-fly zone over Syria and risking a war with Russia, notes Mediate.com.
"Not only would we be prepared to do it, I would do it, "Christie replied. "A no-fly zone means a no-fly zone, Wolf, that's what it means."
The audience applauded his answer, despite the fact that the scenario could lead to war with Russia.
"Maybe because I'm from New Jersey, I have this plain language hang-up," Christie added. "I would talk to Vladimir Putin a lot, and I would say, Listen, Mr. President, there's a no-fly zone in Syria. You fly in, it applies to you. And yes, we would shoot down the planes of Russian pilots if in fact they were stupid enough to think that this president was the same feckless weakling that the president we have in the Oval Office is right now."
Christie made no mention of Russia's enormous nuclear arsenal, but the audience cheered wildly nonetheless.
In response, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said: "Well, I think if you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate. My goodness what we want in a leader is someone with judgment, not someone who is so reckless as to stand on the stage and say, 'Yes, Im jumping up and down. Yes, I'm going to shoot down Russian planes.'"
Paul explained how Iraq and Syria had invited Russia to fly planes in Syrian airspace.
"I think when we think about the judgment of someone who might want World War III, we might think about someone who might shut down a bridge because they don't like their friends," Paul added.
Paul was referring to a controversy what was dubbed "Bridgegate," when a staff member and political appointees of Christie colluded to shut down the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in 2013, Wikipedia notes. The closure happened during rush hour and local authorities, emergency services, and the public were not alerted to it. It was later deemed a threat to public safety.
The prevailing theory behind the closure is that it was retribution against the Fort Lee mayor, because he had refused to endorse Christie as governor.
GOP candidates Donald Trump and former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida also clashed during the debate, notes Mediaite.com.
"Donald is great at the one-liners, but he's a chaos candidate and he'd be a chaos president," Bush said. "He would not be the commander-in-chief we need to keep our country safe."
Trump called Bush's campaign a "total disaster," and blamed "other presidents" for past policies.
"Donald, you're not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency," Bush also said, according to Reuters. "Leadership is not about attacking people and disparaging people."
As he has many times before, the front-runner billionaire mocked Bush's low poll numbers.