New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took indirect shots at Donald Trump and other GOP competitors in an Iowa town hall, arguing that caucus-goers “do not like people who come in here on a private airplane, land, give a speech at some rally and then leave.”
Christie wrapped his remarks into a campaign video stressing that voters — be they white, Latino, African-American or Muslim — want to be shown respect from presidential candidates.
And he showed a new focus on Iowa after spending much of the campaign in New Hampshire.
The governor told stories from his re-election campaign, including an African-American woman in Orange, N.J., who switched her vote from Gov. Jon Corzine in 2009 to Christie in 2013 “because I’ve lived here for 40 years and that’s the first white Republican I’ve seen on this street in my life.”
“Showing up matters. It matters. It’s a sign of respect. It allows people to listen. You don’t show up. It’s not going to happen,” Christie told the Iowa crowd.
He touted his 2013 re-election stats, including 61 percent of the overall vote, 51 percent of the Hispanic vote, 22 percent of the African-American vote and 57 percent of the women’s vote against a female opponent.
“You know the fact is that this business is complex but not complicated, right? You just have to work and you have got to listen and people just want to be treated with respect. And so, you need to be smart about what you say and how you say it, the tone of what you say and you have got to go and show people the respect that they deserve,” Christie continued.
On the point of candidates who drop in via private jet for rallies, Christie argued that Iowans are “like OK, that’s fine, but when are we going to see you at Mickey’s? When are you going to do that? When are you going to serve alcohol from behind the bar at the state fair? When are you going to come to my kid’s school?”
“That’s what you want. Why is that important? It’s a sign of respect. It’s a sign from me to you that your vote matters to me, that your problems matter to me and when I come there and I listen that’s what makes the difference,” he said. “And here’s what we’ve got to stop worrying about, young people are not different on that score. African-Americans are no different on that score. Hispanic-American, Muslim-Americans, they’re no different. They want to be shown respect by their leaders and they want to be listened to and then they want a leader who is going to actually govern and not just pontificate.”
“It’s not complicated, everybody. It’s complex, but it’s not complicated. And the same reason you demand this interaction from us to earn your vote, is the same reason any other American wants to try to have attention at whatever level they can get it to earn their vote. That’s what I’ll do.”
Iowa is traditionally won by the more conservative candidates: Mike Huckabee in 2008, Rick Santorum in 2012. The more moderate, mainstream Republican vote in Iowa is estimated to be as high as 35 percent, and Christie along with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are angling for their share.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) leads Donald Trump by 2.8 points in the latest Real Clear Politics Iowa polling average.