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Chris Christie: GOP Can't be 'Punching Bags' on Social Issues

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Friday that Republicans need to stop being “punching bags” on social issues and slammed President Barack Obama for a lack of leadership that has caused “catastrophic effects in every corner of the globe.”

Speaking at a gathering of social conservatives, the potential 2016 presidential candidate trumpeted his anti-abortion rights views and dismissed those who have labeled the GOP as “intolerant.” Republicans, Christie said, have been much more open than Democrats to including those with opposite views on abortion rights.

“We should no longer sit around and allow ourselves to be punching bags and have those phrases used about us when it is the other party that excludes different ideas and not the Republican party,” Christie said.

Christie’s appearance at the Faith and Freedom Coalition gathering exposed him to an audience of evangelical voters that has been slow to embrace the blue state governor. Christie has been noticeably absent from similar conservative gatherings in the past and rarely talks about the divisive social issues these voters prioritize.

Christie stayed away from issues like gay marriage, instead focusing on his belief that all life “is precious and must be protected.”

That includes those suffering from drug addiction. Christie, who has publicly talked about losing a friend to drugs, said society needs to show compassion to those who have committed non-violent crimes because of the disease.

“When we say we are pro life, we need to be pro life for the entire life. We need to stand up for the hurt and the wounded,” he said.

He also used his speech to blast Obama for a failed foreign policy that he said has led to the ongoing turmoil in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq.

“We are seeing now all across this world that this administration’s pulling back of American influence and American ideas around the world is having catastrophic effects in every corner of the globe,” Christie said.

“That’s not anything more than failure of the American leader,” he said.