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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 12, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is now saying a 1994 article reporting that he made a donation to Planned Parenthood was a “misquote.”

“I never donated to Planned Parenthood,” he told Jennifer Rubin, the neoconservative columnist at The Washington Post. “I’ve been strongly pro-life for 20 years.”

The issue flared to life after rival Marco Rubio said, “Chris Christie personally contributed to Planned Parenthood.”

In 1994, Christie told a local New Jersey newspaper, “I support Planned Parenthood privately with my personal contribution and that should be the goal of any such agency – to find private donations.”

But on Sunday's “Face the Nation” program, Christie said he never gave money to Planned Parenthood. That deepened the confusion.

“Listen, this is a quote from 21 years ago,” he told Rubin for her column on Tuesday. “I’m convinced it was a misquote.”

However, Christie later hired the man who wrote the article for the Newark Star-Ledger, Brian Murray, as his spokesman in the governor's office.

Murray had no comment, according to the The Weekly Standard.

Christie said even at the time, he opposed taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, even though he sought a county office as a pro-choice Republican.

“Understand what was going on. In 1994-95, I was fighting against county funding of Planned Parenthood even though I was pro-choice,” Christie said.

As governor, he has repeatedly vetoed Planned Parenthood funding on economic grounds.

However, Christian voters are unlikely to vote for Christie in the primaries for numerous reasons, including his stated indifference to religious liberty and history of appointing pro-abortion judges.

Christie said he welcomes the latest criticism as “a great sign our campaign is gaining traction.” The most recent Monmouth poll puts him in fifth place in must-win New Hampshire, behind Trump, Cruz, Rubio, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

In addition to vetoing taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, Christie has promised to sign the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, if it reaches his desk as president. So has every other Republican presidential hopeful.

For her part, Rubin has criticized pro-life pledges in general, and one administered by the Susan B. Anthony List in 2012 in particular, saying such statements “detract from the central premise of a campaign: to select a candidate whose views and judgment voters trust. There’s no pledge for that.”

She also said that former House Speaker John Boehner's resignation was an act of “selflessness.”

“Truth be told, no other responsible leader could have or will please the crazed tea party segment for whom governing is an annoyance and posturing is the objective,” the Post's conservative blogger wrote.