Posted: 3:43 pm Sunday, February 7th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
From Hampton, New Hampshire –
Buoyed by his debate performance which included a strong shot at Marco Rubio, Chris Christie was greeted by an energized crowd in the Granite State on Sunday, with just two days of campaigning left until this crucial New Hampshire Primary.
“You were on fire last night!” one woman yelled at the New Jersey Governor during a morning town hall meeting, which was bursting at the seams in a school cafeteria.
“How do you think it went?” a smiling Christie asked to cheers.
Christie told the crowd that he had waited and waited for the right time to go after Rubio in person, after weeks of advertisements and other attacks that charged the Florida Senator is too young and inexperienced – basically another Barack Obama.
“When the lights go on, I told you he wouldn’t be ready,” Christie said.
“All of America saw last night who is ready and who is not,” the Governor added.
It wasn’t a scientific review by any means, but the first voter that I interviewed at the event said he switched from Rubio to Christie because of the debate.
“I was leaning towards Rubio, but now I’m leaning towards Christie,” said Leland Van Oss of Hampton, New Hampshire.
“I thought his performance last night was outstanding,” Van Oss told me. “I think that took him from also-ran to one of the big players in the game.”
That was exactly the type of statement Christie would hope to hear.
“The fact is, I like Senator Rubio, he’s a good man, he’s a good American,” Christie told his audience.
“He’s just not ready,” Christie added to a standing room only crowd.
As for Rubio, he did not mention the debate in a stump speech that he gave to a packed town hall in Hudson, New Hampshire – and it didn’t come up in the question period, either.
But there were rumblings from voters who had been looking favorably at Rubio before the GOP debate.
Packed house in Londonderry for Rubio. Lots of chatter @ debate. One undecided: "real faux pas." pic.twitter.com/Vno9T2SLGi
— Patricia Murphy (@1PatriciaMurphy) February 7, 2016
Then again, there were good signs, like when Rubio asked people for their vote on Tuesday.
“Oh, you got it,” an older woman yelled out to great applause in Hudson.
Time will tell if this was a major gaffe, or just a speed bump for Rubio.
On my way out of the school where the Rubio rally was held, a middle-aged man and woman were having a discussion about just that.
“It was early in the debate,” the woman said. “He did much better after that.”
“But it was a big deal,” the man said in a downcast way.
But when I got to my car, I saw that someone had been at work while Rubio was holding his event – leaving copies of a Boston Herald front page from this morning on various car windshields in the parking lot.
Let’s just say that isn’t the headline Rubio would want to see on Wednesday.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.