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January 18, 2016

Christie slams Michelle Obama's school lunch program

After question from 11-year-old, governor says eat 'whatever you want' under his presidency

After a brief stop in the state he governs, Chris Christie is back on the campaign trail. And along with detailing plans to defeat the Islamic State, he's taking shots at First Lady Michelle Obama's healthy eating initiative.

At a Monday town hall meeting in Council Bluffs, Iowa, New Jersey Gov. Christie was asked by a boy on what he "was going to do about the lunches."

The boy lamented the First Lady's initiative, saying he used to enjoy crispitos (basically little taco rolls) and square pizza before the program was implemented.

"The First Lady has no business being involved in this," Christie responded.

The boy and Christie were referring to the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, a piece of legislation spearheaded by Michelle Obama and signed into law in 2010 by President Barack Obama. It set new nutritional standards for school lunch programs.

Maddie Hanna of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who covers Christie for the newspaper, has more on the governor and presidential candidate's thoughts from the town hall:

Parents should decide what their children eat, Christie said. “I want people to eat more healthy – I’ve been trying to eat more healthy – but in the end it’s your choice,” he said.
Christie was responding to a boy who asked what he was “going to do about the lunches,” declaring that “now that Mrs. Obama’s the first lady, they’ve gone down.” Michelle Obama had backed new nutrition standards for the federal school lunch program.
“I don’t care what you’re eating for lunch every day, I really don’t,” Christie said. “If I’m president, back to whatever you want to eat, OK?”

More students have been choosing healthier options at lunch since the law was signed, according to recent research. However, participation in the program has dropped nearly 4 percent since it was implemented five years ago.

It's clear where Christie stand on the issue, and it's too bad for him that the boy, identified as 11-year-old Jacob Royal by ABC News, can't cast a vote. He told ABC his favorite foods would "probably" be back if the governor became president.