chris_christie.jpgTRENTON, N.J. (AP) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is being asked to apologize for referring to the first black female leader of the state Assembly by race and gender, and not by name, during a meeting at a church.

Christie told an audience Tuesday an "African-American female speaker of the Assembly'' is blocking a vote on a school voucher bill that would let children in failing districts attend classes elsewhere.

Democratic Speaker Sheila Oliver later accused the Republican governor of injecting race into the discussion on education.

On Thursday, the church's pastor asked Christie to apologize. He says the governor disrespected the speaker and missed a chance to unite the community.

A Christie spokesman says the governor's comments were misinterpreted.

The dust-up comes as Christie courts African-Americans and Latinos for his November re-election bid.