Stratham, N.H. -- Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) on Friday pledged to be a charmer of a president, dispensing airplane rides and chocolate gifts to recalcitrant Democrats in order to win their votes.
“Nancy Pelosi would be on Air Force One every time she turns around,” Christie said of his tactical approach to Hill outreach. “Come on Nancy. Let’s go take a ride. Take the M&M’s. It will be fun, I don’t care.”
“If I’m president, I will be given the greatest tools to be able to do this that anybody has had in their life, the greatest home field advantage ever,” Christie added. “You have the White House, Camp David, Air Force One, Marine One, if you can’t persuade somebody to do something with all that, you are in the wrong business. Right now I’m just doing it on my charm and good looks for God’s sake.”
Chris Christie, political seductress, is not an image that quickly comes to mind for those who best know him as the brash, insult-spewing, truth-telling Republican governor of a Democratic-leaning state. And indeed, it’s not exactly the image that Christie has been cultivating in recent days on the trail, where he has made his best attempt to rip the political flesh off Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) after the Senator’s unexpectedly strong third-place finish in the Iowa Caucus.
Christie still had tough words for Rubio at Friday’s stop at the Timberland factory in Stratham, New Hampshire -- accusing the senator of being in over his head when it comes to potentially running the country.
But the tone of the town hall was decidedly geared towards presenting Christie as collaborative, not combative. And for a governor squeezed between an unapologetic wing of his party’s candidates and several other moderate governors, it seemed like a tactical readjustment in the closing days of the New Hampshire primary.
At times, Christie seemed to actively portray himself as willing to buck conservative orthodoxy. He noted his support for legislation prohibiting people on the terrorist watch list from buying firearms and even conceded that he might not be able to repeal Obamacare without the help of Congress.
“If somehow the Congress is split, then it becomes a lot harder right, because you will need Democrats who voted for Obamacare to vote to repeal Obamacare,” he said.
Christie then went on to praise George W. Bush for two conservative heresies: No Child Left Behind and immigration reform. He didn’t say he supported either legislative effort. But he complimented the former president for working across the aisle to try and get them done.
The riff was meant as a way to dig at President Barack Obama for not doing the same. But Christie didn't stop there.
“You also have guys on our side who are no walk in the park to deal with,” he added, before singling out just one.
“I mean, we closed down the government in 2013. That was a brilliant strategy. I remember asking Senator [Ted] Cruz at the time: ‘What’s the end game?’ ... He said to me, ‘Governor, we close down the government, Barack Obama will capitulate and he will sign a repeal of Obamacare.’ I said, ‘Let me tell you something. I’ve dealt with this guy a heck of a lot more than you have. Personally, there is not a chance.’ They could take his family hostage. He’s not going to repeal Obamacare.”