After a rough few weeks, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made his first visit of the year to the early voting state of New Hampshire on Monday night – touting his bold and brash style as a benefit and not a liability, as some critics argue.
“I had one of your leaders say to me today, ‘We don’t want some kinder, gentler Chris Christie. We want the real Chris Christie. Well there’s only one Chris Christie and this is it,” the potential 2016 presidential candidate said at the Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner hosted by Republicans in Concord.
Christie added that while he may say things that make some “shake your head,” Americans will always know where he stands. The governor also offered a window into a potential presidential platform should he jump into the race. He said, “Within the first 100 days if I were to run for president and be elected, we would change the tax system in this country so that people and companies aren’t leaving the country anymore.”
The governor has been beefing up his travel schedule as he considers running for the nation’s highest office, visiting Iowa earlier this month. He also took a trip to England, a trip that was overshadowed by his controversial remarks about vaccinations and a New York Times report detailing the governor’s questionable luxury trips.
His popularity has also taken a hit back home in New Jersey. And according to a new NBC-Marist poll, which surveyed New Hampshire Republicans, Christie trails former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky in the Granite State.
During his remarks on Monday, the governor also took a hit at President Obama, saying he almost “feels bad” for him because “he’s like a man wandering around in a dark room, feeling for a wall for the light switch of leadership.”
New Hampshire is seen as a state where Christie, a fellow northeastern Republican, could conceivably do well in. The governor hinted that he’d be back in the state in the months to come.
“The more I come back, the less speech you’re gonna get and the more time you’re going to get to ask me questions and challenge me,” he said.
Christie has not officially jumped into the 2016 race, but last month he set up a political action committee called “Leadership Matters for America,” which will provide him a fundraising vehicle and allow the governor to set up donor lists, hire staff, travel around the country and raise his profile.