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Chris Christie turns Romney protests against Obama in New Hampshire

January 08, 2012|By Maeve Reston and Michael A. Memoli
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks as GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney listens during a campaign rally in Exeter, N.H.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks as GOP presidential hopeful Mitt… (Elise Amendola / Associated…)

Reporting from Exeter, N.H. — On Sunday night in Exeter, it was official: There just might be no politician in America better at shouting down protesters than Chris Christie.
 
Turning out a crowd of hundreds at Exeter High School for a Mitt Romney rally just two days before Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, the New Jersey governor drowned out a pack of Occupy Wall Street protesters who piped up at various points with chants of "Mitt kills jobs" and "Christie kills jobs."
 
"Oh really," Christie replied in acid tones when protesters began the chant. He pivoted to an attack on President Obama, accusing him of dividing the country and fueling the anger of young people like those being shouted down by Romney’s supporters.
 
"I have a message for you, Mr. President. This is the type of disoriented anger your cynicism and your division is causing in our country. Bring our country together -- stop dividing it, Mr. President," Christie shouted. "On second thought, Mr. President, if you're up there in the family quarters of the White House, put your feet up and don’t worry about it. Mitt Romney is going to bring America together."
 
Christie, a coveted backer who gave the former Massachusetts governor's campaign a lift with his endorsement shortly before a key debate at Dartmouth College, described Romney as "someone who will always make you proud, every day he spends in the Oval Office."
 
"No one gives you the presidency of the United States, you have to earn it," Christie said, hitting Romney's central theme in the closing days of the New Hampshire race. "You have to work hard, not just during the campaign, but during your entire life to earn the presidency."
 
"We've seen presidential candidates come and go in this state," Christie said. "We know a president when we see one and he is right here."

The protesters interrupted both Romney, who spoke first, and Christie, who was the main attraction for many here. Romney politely acknowledged the disruption, noting he had seen it before.

For Christie, the protesters were unwitting accomplices.

Obama, he said, has "decided on the most cynical reelection strategy you could ever think of."

"He doesn't care that you're angry. He just wants you to get angry at somebody else," he said. "The president's encouraged these people to be angry at Mitt and be angry at me because we stand up for what we believe in. That's wrong. That's not America."

Romney had promised that Christie would show the Granite State how to campaign "Jersey style." And that he did.

As the woman shouted about Christie killing jobs, he chalked it up to her "confusion," and said New Jersey had actually created 60,000 new private sector jobs.

"Something may go down tonight, but it ain't going to be jobs, sweetheart!"

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