BEDFORD, New Hampshire — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blasted fellow Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio Tuesday morning, referring to him as “the boy in the bubble,” and saying the Florida senator needs to “man up and step up and stop letting all of his handlers write his speeches and handle it because that’s what you have to do for someone who has never done anything in your life.”
"Unlike some of these other campaigns, I'm not the boy in the bubble,” Christie charged. "OK? We know who the boy in the bubble is up here, who never answers your questions, who's constantly scripted and controlled because he can’t answer your questions. So when Sen. Rubio gets here, when the boy in the bubble gets here, I hope you guys ask him some questions.”
Rubio spokesman Joe Pounder fired back, telling NBC News, "No amount of hot air or made-up facts can distract from Chris Christie's liberal record of supporting Common Core, gun control, abortion rights, Planned Parenthood and Obama's liberal judicial picks. Marco is the only candidate who can unite conservatives and beat Hillary Clinton."
Christie’s remarks come the morning after Rubio finished a strong third in the Iowa Republican caucuses, with 23% of the vote. Christie finished near the bottom with 2%. Christie told his supporters at his New Hampshire headquarters that “Iowa’s in the rear view mirror” and that he finished exactly how he thought he would.
Christie has gone after Rubio for months, frequently ridiculing the role of U.S. senators at his town hall meetings, comparing their work to “school,” and frequently telling his audience members that the country can’t afford another first-term senator as president.
"This isn’t the student council election, everybody, this is an election for president of the United States," Christie told reporters Tuesday. "Let’s get the boy in the bubble out of the bubble, and let’s see him play for the next week in New Hampshire.”
Christie also needled Donald Trump Tuesday for his second-place finish to Ted Cruz in the Iowa GOP caucuses. "All we've ever heard is that he's first in the polls, he's first in everything. Now he's not.”
And Christie also pointed out that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush finished with 3% in Iowa after the super PAC supporting Bush poured millions of dollars into the state. "I gotta tell you the truth,” Christie told reporters. “You know, if there's depression in the land, I'm sure it's over there, because you spend $15 million, compared to $500,000. I can’t do the math in my head that quickly ... but that’s a lot of times more what we spent for 1,800 more votes.”