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Christie Knocks Obama and GOP Rivals in N.H. Campaign Swing

Jason Moon for NHPR

Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made a string of campaign stops in New Hampshire Wednesday. The visit was sandwiched between two prominent national political events.

At the Goffstown fire station Wednesday morning,  Christie wasted no time in addressing the big news from the previous evening: President Obama’s final State of the Union address.

“Really what we should have called that last night was story-time with Barack Obama,” said Christie.

In particular, Christie criticized Obama’s view of American policy in Syria, saying Obama was wrong to downplay the threat from ISIS.

“Tell the families of the 130 dead people in Paris that we’re over estimating ISIS," said Christie. "Tell the families of the 14 dead folks in San Bernardino that we’re overestimating ISIS.”

Christie used his rebuttal of Obama to then pivot to the other big political event of the week: the upcoming debate of the GOP presidential field. Christie cautioned the crowd of about 100 that America cannot afford another first-term senator in the White House – an implicit reference to two of his rivals, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

“Man, the presidency is not for on-the-job training," said Christie. "The presidency is not a job that comes with an owner’s manual in the top center drawer of the desk in the oval office and you get to read it and figure out how to do it. The only way you know how to do it is by having done it.”

Christie also highlighted policy differences for the crowd which featured several undecided voters. When a voter asked about Christie’s faith, he took opportunity to decry Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the country. On Social Security, he contrasted his proposal with that of Mike Huckabee.

At this point in the race, other candidates are also drawing distinctions. And for many of them, Christie has become a target.

Protesters picketed outside of his event in Goffstown Wednesday. Later, at a Christie event in Bedford, an airstream trailer covered in John Kasich campaign logos was parked outside. And away from the campaign trail, Super PACs supporting Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have been flooding mailboxes with anti-Christie flyers in recent weeks. Christie told reporters the extra attention is welcome.

“I love the fact that people are shooting at me," said Christie. "You never shoot at somebody behind you. They’re either next to you or ahead of you if you’re shooting at them, and so that’s good news for us.”

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