New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie didn’t waste much time hitting the campaign trail after declaring his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination Tuesday morning. Just hours after the announcement at his former high school in his home state, Christie met with voters in New Hampshire.
To kick off the campaign, Christie hosted a town hall meeting in Sandown – a forum the candidate says will be the cornerstone of his election effort. The candidate took nearly a dozen questions from the packed crowd, answering off the cuff and without pause.
His campaign slogan – “Tell It Like It Is” -- is something he hopes will give him an edge in the vast GOP race. Christie is now the 14th Republican running for president, with others also expected to jump in.
“I’m not one of those politicians who is looking to look you in the eye and think, 'What does he really want to hear, and OK, let me tell him and let me pray to God he won’t remember what I said when I do the opposite,' ” he said at the end of the more than two hour event.
In Sandown Christie touched upon familiar issues from previous campaign visits including entitlement reform, restructuring the tax code and lowering college tuition.
He also spoke about how his plans to protect America from terrorist attacks if elected, which led to him criticize Sen. Rand Paul, another GOP presidential candidate, for his support for a bill that limits defense surveillance.
“I can promise you, you can do it in a way that protects your civil liberties and protects the homeland at the same time, you just have to have the smarts and guts to do it. Senator Paul has made this country less safe and if I become president we are going to protect the homeland now lower our defense against them,” he said.
A once projected frontrunner in the GOP field, Christie now has a lot of ground to make up. He is currently trailing in most state polls.
Christie plans to hold two more town hall meetings this week in Ashland and Rochester. He’ll also spend Fourth of July holiday in Wolfeboro.