Chris Christie – Page 7 – Florida Politics

Marco Rubio plays it cagey during first post-debate town hall in NH

Perhaps it was because the promised pancake breakfast was canceled or that he was a half-hour late, but Marco Rubio‘s first appearance before New Hampshire voters was flat compared to other events in the Granite State the past week.

Speaking less than 12 hours after his worst debate performance as a presidential candidate,  Florida’s junior senator quickly remarked on the elephant in the room as he took the stage a little past 10 a.m. That, of course, was his stunningly bizarre repeated responses – about Barack Obama knowing exactly what he is doing to the country – to a hammering from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Rubio said everyone has been criticizing him for saying the same thing three or four times in a row, but he doubled down in Londonderry, saying, “I’m going to say them again.”

A substantial crowd gathered to see Rubio, who had been on the ascendancy since his second-place finish in Iowa last week. The few folks spoke with said they thought too much was being made about his flub.

“I think the media is trying to make a little more hype of it,” said Nashua resident Jennifer Maurhoff. “They’re looking for a big story. ‘Oh, he did so bad,’ because he did so well in Iowa, and I don’t think that’s fair.” She said the average undecided voter may not have been watching a two-and-a-half hour debate on a Saturday night, and thought coverage focusing on the Christie exchange was a poor representation of the entire evening.

A Londonderry Republican named Jack who supports Rubio said he was “ganged up on” because of his impressive performance in the Iowa caucus. However, he didn’t sugarcoat what happened to his favorite candidate Saturday night.

“Marco probably did not have his best debate, but if you take it all in total with the prior debates, I think it’s all positive,” he said.

“I think Christie had a lot of great points, but he messed up, too,” said Robert Carley from New London, Connecticut. He mentioned Christie’s decision not return to the Garden State when it was rocked by a major snowstorm two weeks ago, a moment that Rubio hit him with during the debate. Carley said that he’s a born-again Christian, and likes how religious Rubio appears to be. He also said he hadn’t made up his mind among Rubio, Christie and Donald Trump.

Despite the pounding Rubio has taken the press in the past 24 hours, Team Rubio is staying on message, including the candidate boasting to George Stephanopolous earlier on ABC: “We raised more money last night in the first hour that debate than any other debate.”

Among Rubio’s biggest critics is the liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, which issued a statement after the debate lambasting Rubio for his robotic responses:

“The Rubiobot got stuck on repeat, offering nothing but canned talking points, and still had no answer when challenged on his lack of accomplishments and failure to show up for work. He needed a big night tonight, but a system glitch had him short-circuiting.”

Two members of the group created crude costumes and stood outside the entrance of Londonderry Middle School event calling themselves “Marco Roboto.”

Marco Rubio, Donald Trump make final pitches on ABC “This Week”

ABC’s “This Week” featured the two GOP New Hampshire front runners, Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (in an exclusive interview), jockeying for position ahead of the Tuesday vote.

ABC, which hosted Saturday night’s final GOP debate before the New Hampshire primary, promised coverage centered on the election.

Trump led off, and clearly, as on “Face the Nation,” had Jeb Bush on the brain.

During the debate, Bush criticized Trump for using eminent domain in Atlantic City in an unsuccessful attempt to seize an elderly woman’s property for a limousine parking lot. Trump defended it as a justifiable use of the process.

“I let the court stand,” Trump said. “We could have gone a different way” and appealed.

Turning to Bush, who in many polls is barely in the top 5, Trump said, “Jeb Bush doesn’t understand what eminent domain means.” He cided the Bush family using “private eminent domain” to secure land for the Texas Rangers stadium.

When show host George Stephanopoulos noted that would have been George H.W. Bush, Trump said that didn’t matter … the equivalent of conflating Donald’s actions with those of his own father years ago.

Trump recycled his claims about the stacked crowd at the Saint Anselm College debate, saying that it “shows how broken the system is” and that the Trump campaign was given 20 tickets.

“Ninety percent gave to various candidates, most to Bush,” Trump said.

Trump cited Rubio, saying, “Why does nobody get any response but Bush” during the debate as proof of his claim.

Rubio, second in most recent New Hamshire polls, escaped any real critique from Trump, who simply said that Florida’s junior senator had a “rough night.”

Rubio had comments more pointed related to Trump, whom he said is “running out of time” to learn foreign policy.

In a previous debate, Rubio said, Trump “didn’t know what the nuclear triad was” and on Saturday while talking North Korea, “the most [Trump] could say was something about China and leverage.”

Rubio also had to talk abortion, in response to a debate exchange.

“Abortion is a human rights issue,” Rubio said. “If Jeb wants to make that political, that’s his right.”

Rubio held to his personal position that an “unborn child has the right to live, irrespective of the circumstances under which the child is conceived,” an umbrella that precludes “crisis pregnancy” scenarios.

Meanwhile, Rubio had an interesting “behind the curtain” style defense of his canned talking points about Barack Obama, which found the senator smacked repeatedly by Chris Christie Saturday night.

“We raised more money last night in the first hour of that debate than any other debate,” Rubio said at the open, and at the close, of that interview.

In a later segment, Hillary Clinton said it’s “sad what Senator Rubio has become in the course of this campaign,” saying he’s “diving as far right as he can.”

Marco Rubio comes under withering criticism in Republican debate

Marco Rubio faced withering criticism of his readiness to be president and his policy depth in the final Republican debate before Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other candidates launched an aggressive campaign to slow the Florida senator’s rise.

Rubio’s responded with an uneven performance on Saturday night that could hurt his bid to emerge as an alternative to Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. If anything, his showing gave new hope to Christie, Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, all of whom need strong finishes in New Hampshire to keep their White House bids afloat.

Cruz, the Iowa caucuses winner, also took criticism at the debate for controversial political tactics, with one candidate disparaging him for having “Washington ethics” and being willing to test the campaign’s legal limits.

New Hampshire’s primary could further winnow an already shrinking GOP field or leave the primary muddled. Hard-fought, expensive and far-ranging, the campaign has become a fight for the future of the Republican Party, though the direction the GOP will ultimately take remains deeply uncertain.
Rubio, a first-term senator from Florida, has sought to appeal both to mainstream Republicans and those eager to upend the status quo. But his rivals, particularly Christie, have been blistering in their criticism of what they see as his slim qualifications to serve as commander-in-chief.

“You have not been involved in a consequential decision where you had to be held accountable,” Christie said. “You just simply haven’t.”

Christie has built his closing argument around his criticism of Rubio, and he kept up that approach on the debate stage. He accused the senator of being a candidate governed by talking points — then pounced when the senator played into his hands by repeating multiple times what appeared to be a planned response to criticisms about his qualifications.

“That’s what Washington, D.C., does,” Christie said. “The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him.”

Rubio wavered in defending his decision to walk away from the sweeping immigration bill he originally backed in the Senate — perhaps the legislation he’s most closely associated with — and said he wouldn’t pursue similar legislation as president.

“We can’t get that legislation passed,” Rubio said of the bill that would have provided a pathway to citizenship for millions of people in the United States illegally. The senator found his footing later in the debate when outlining his call for more aggressive action to fight the Islamic State and emphasizing his anti-abortion stance.

Cruz was the victor in Iowa, triumphing over billionaire Trump by drawing heavily on the support of evangelical voters. But he’s faced criticism for messages his campaign sent to voters ahead of the caucuses saying rival Ben Carson — another favorite of religious conservatives — was dropping out and urging the retired neurosurgeon’s supporters to back him instead.

Cruz apologized for his campaign’s actions Saturday, but not before Carson jabbed him for having “Washington ethics.”

Those ethics, he said, “say if it’s legal, you do what you do to win.”

Trump was back on the debate stage after skipping the final contest before the Iowa caucuses. After spending the past several days disputing his second-place finish in Iowa, he sought to refocus on the core messages of his campaign, including blocking Muslims from coming to the U.S. and deporting all people in the country illegally, all while maintaining he has the temperament to serve as president.

“When I came out, I hit immigration, I hit it very hard,” Trump said. “Everybody said, ‘Oh, the temperament,’ because I talked about illegal immigration.”

Kasich, who has staked his White House hopes on New Hampshire, offered a more moderate view on immigration, though one that’s unpopular with many GOP primary voters. He said that if elected president, he would introduce legislation that would provide a pathway to legalization, though not citizenship, within his first 100 days in office.

The debate began shortly after North Korea defied international warnings and launched a long-range rocket that the United Nations and others call a cover for a banned test of technology for a missile that could strike the U.S. mainland.

Asked how he would respond to North Korea’s provocations, Bush said he would authorize a preemptive strike against such rockets if it was necessary to keep America safe. Cruz demurred, saying he wouldn’t speculate about how he’d handle the situation without a full intelligence briefing. And Trump said he’d rely on China to “quickly and surgically” handle North Korea.

Watch Chris Christie unload on Marco Rubio in NH debate (video)

Chris Christie’s contempt for Marco Rubio was put on full display in the New Jersey Governor’s big moment on the debate stage on Saturday night in Manchester, four days before the New Hampshire primary.

Christie blasted Rubio for never having made a “consequential decision,” and simply not prepared to lead the nation.

“I like Marco Rubio, and he’s a smart person and a good guy, but he simply does not have the experience to be president of the United States and make these decisions,” Christie said.

And that was just the beginning. Let’s just say that nobody is writing that Marco Rubio won this debate.



Chris Christie warns NH primary could lose place if rivals finish at top

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie doubts the future of New Hampshire’s primary if Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio take the three top spots Tuesday.

The Republican presidential candidate, in an aggressive campaign throughout New Hampshire, warns voters about the three leading candidates because they have spent relatively little time in the state.

As the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, New Hampshire voters are steadfastly protective of the state’s status. That could end if Trump, Cruz and Rubio do well on Tuesday.

“If you reward those folks who don’t show up here, there is no reason for New Hampshire to be first,” Christie said.

Although Christie has spent considerably more time in New Hampshire than many of his GOP presidential rivals, but he still polls near the bottom. Speculation is that he’ll fold his campaign if he does poorly in next week’s primary.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

New Jeb Bush ad uses Rick Santorum’s stumble to take shot at Marco Rubio

Jeb Bush is jumping on Rick Santorum’s inability to identify an accomplishment of Marco Rubio, using the footage of in a new television advertisement.

As first reported by CNN, the 60-second spot will start running in New Hampshire on Saturday. The advertisement features clips from Thursday’s interview with Santorum on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” During the interview, Santorum struggles to suggest something Rubio had done during his first term in the Senate.

After showing about 30 seconds of Santorum fumbling through the interview, Sean Hannity is heard interviewing Bush and rattling off a list of his accomplishments during his time in the governor’s mansion.

“I was a reform-minded conservative. I did cut taxes every year. I balanced budgets every year. When I left, there were $9 billion in reserves, we reduced the state government workforce by 13,000,” the former Florida governor is shown saying in the advertisement. “My record, I think, shows the path of what could happen in Washington, D.C.”

The advertisement is the second in as many days using the “Morning Joe” footage. On Thursday, Chris Christie released a 30-second spot based on the interview.

Recent polls show Rubio gaining ground in the Granite State. A NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll has Rubio in second place in New Hampshire with 17 percent. The survey found Bush was at 9 percent, and Christie was at 4 percent.

New poll puts Marco Rubio at 2nd place in New Hampshire

Marco Rubio is gaining ground in New Hampshire, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll.

Among likely Republican primary voters, Rubio is in second place with 17 percent, up 6 points from the Jan. 28 NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. The new survey found Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican field with support from 30 percent of respondents, while 15 percent picked Ted Cruz.

John Kasich leads among the governors with 10 percent, followed by Jeb Bush at 9 percent. Chris Christie is at 4 percent.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll found 11 percent of respondents said they might vote differently on primary day. That may bode well for Rubio. Much like in Iowa, Rubio and Cruz are the second-choice favorites in New Hampshire.

According to the survey, 20 percent of likely Republican primary voters said Rubio was their second choice; while 16 percent said Cruz was their second choice.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton, 58 percent to 38 percent. The results haven’t changed much since the last NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which had Sanders leading Clinton 57 percent to 38 percent.

The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday.

Mitch Perry Report for 2.5.16 – “An artful smear”

Good morning from Nashua, New Hampshire.

I have to admit that my first thoughts this morning are not what happened at last night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but will I make it safely to Manchester this morning to see Sanders.

Folks, it’s snowing pretty hard in southern New Hampshire this morning (7:10 a.m.). I ran around in a parking lot about an hour ago to get a workout in, but the snowflakes are piling up.

This California native and Florida resident for the past 16 years has never driven in snow.

OK, enough of my angst. How about last night’s debate? Clinton took the gloves off, saying she was tired of the “attacks by insinuation and innuendo” against her integrity by Sanders, along with his questioning her credentials with the progressive community because of the financial contributions she’s received from Wall Street.

Clinton made $275,000 in some individual speeches over the past couple of years from Wall Street banks, but she called it a “very artful smear” to insinuate that meant she was beholden to those institutions.

Sanders thought that was a rather harsh assessment. MSNBC used the split screen throughout to show Bernie’s various facial expressions throughout the debate, something that will no doubt be used by the other networks for the remaining three debates scheduled.

Speaking of debates, only Jim Gilmore and Carly Fiorina won’t be at Saturday night’s GOP debate to be televised by ABC. What gives with that? Gilmore has barely registered this entire cycle, but Fiorina actually received more votes than both Chris Christie and John Kasich in Iowa.

Yet Christie and Kasich will be on the big stage tomorrow night, while Carly will be watching with the rest of us.

Meanwhile, Ben Carson will once again be absent from the campaign trail today. Although Ted Cruz has had to apologize for having his staff pass the word (based on a CNN report) that Carson was quitting the race after Iowa.

Gentle Ben is apparently still in the contest, but trust me – for all intents and purposes, he might as well be out. This is prime time, and he’s been MIA all week.

OK, wish me luck on my commute!

In other news …

Jeb Bush said there’s been too much anger in this GOP presidential race, saying, “We need someone who has a proven record, who has a servant’s heart.”

• • •

In Keane, New Hampshire, on Thursday Chris Christie told a small crowd how he’d go about selecting Supreme Court justices – just in case he gets that opportunity.

• • •

Will Marco Rubio‘s conflicting stances on immigration ultimately hurt his candidacy? One guy who a lot of reporters spoke to on Wednesday thinks so.

Jeb Bush sells himself as uniter in Derry town hall, 5 days before NH primary

Last spring he called himself a “joyful tortoise,” and Jeb Bush is still espousing a positivity on the campaign trail that is in large contrast to the anger being pumped up by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders.

“We need a servant leader,” he said at a Derry, New Hampshire, middle school Thursday night. “We don’t need the big dog on the stage, barking out stuff, insulting people. We need someone who has a proven record, who has a servant’s heart.”

With just five days before the New Hampshire primary, every one of these town hall events are job interviews of a sort, and Bush is working hard to convince undecided voters that he’s worthy of their vote.

“The only way a conservative is going to win the presidency is to campaign with their arms wide open, with joy in their hearts and a positive message” he said, earning sustained cheers.

It was a festive crowd stuffed inside the cafeteria of the West Running Brook Middle School, with former New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg and former first lady Barbara Bush joining the candidate on stage. While the crowd seemed to appreciate much of what he had to say, a few voters told before the speech that they remained undecided.

Lee Ann Propencher from Manchester, New Hampshire, said she leaned toward Bush, though the only definitive statement she could make was that she was certain she wouldn’t vote for Cruz or Trump.  A registered Republican, she said she supported George H.W. Bush in 1988, but not W, saying that in 2000 she had a son going into the military and feared that any Republican would be more likely to want to go to war.

Propencher said she was looking favorably toward John Kasich, until she was turned off after she saw a negative super PAC ad that mentioned that the Ohio Governor supported a military base-closing commission that shuttered a base in New Hampshire.

“I think it’s interesting,” Derry resident Phil Smith said of the 2016 race. He is also an undecided voter, who said a lot can change in terms of momentum in the race within the next week. Smith said he voted for Jeb’s father and brother for president, but wasn’t ready to commit to a third Bush just yet.

As usual, Bush showed a fluency with the issues in his appearance. He talked extensively about drug addiction, a big problem in the Northeast in recent years.

“I think we need to look at this, first and foremost, as an illness; that it needs to be treated,” he said. “That we need to expand recovery centers so that people who struggle with addictions have a network of people that they can rely on, that can share.” Bush added that the U.S. criminal justice system “has to recognize that there has to be second chances,” remarking on the fact 50 percent of the people serving time in federal penitentiaries are in for drug crimes.

He then criticized President Barack Obama for another failure of leadership, saying that with criminal justice reform being a bipartisan issue now, he should apply his energies towards crafting legislation, instead of his clemency initiative where the Justice Department has encouraged certain nonviolent offenders to apply to have their sentences shortened under his power to give pardons.

Can Bush close the gap by Tuesday? The most recent polls show Trump crushing the competition, with Marco Rubio separating from the pack in second place.

New Chris Christie ad pounces on Rick Santorum’s stumble to define Marco Rubio

Chris Christie took a swipe at Marco Rubio in a new advertisement that features a top backer’s inability to identify one of Rubio’s accomplishments

The 60-second spot — called “It’s a Simple Question” — features clips from a “Morning Joe” segment Thursday. In the video, Rick Santorum fails to name one of Rubio’s Senate accomplishments.

“All I’m asking is a simple question,” the advertisement shows Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough saying to Santorum. “List one accomplishment Marco Rubio has achieved in four years of the United States Senate.”

Santorum is then shown responding to Scarborough with: “The bottom line is — there isn’t a whole lot of accomplishments, Joe. I just don’t think it’s a fair question.”

Christie has been taking hits at the Florida Republican for several days. In a video released by his campaign Wednesday, the New Jersey Republican said he would “challenge anyone to show me a significant accomplishment that Senator Rubio has done while he’s in the United States Senate.”

“I can’t find one and he’s been asked this by members of the press and he can’t give you one,” he said Wednesday. “He talks about the things he’s fought against. What’s he done?”

Christie is in sixth place in New Hampshire, according to recent polling averages. He trails Rubio who is in second, according to RealClearPolitics. The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday.

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