The Iowa caucus aftermath continues with high drama between two GOP candidates after the somewhat unexpected Ted Cruz win. Oddly, the biggest slapfight isn’t going on from the two contenders — Donald Trump and Cruz — that one would suspect. Nope, the loudest quotes are coming from one of the candidates who barely registered in the caucuses. We’re not talking about Carly Fiorina, who skipped her own caucus party, but will circle back. Likewise, Ben Carson flew home for a Florida breather (though he did accuse Cruz of a “dirty trick”). The loudest voice just happens to be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who communicated his displeasure to the press.
Christie, who nabbed 1.8% to Marco Rubio’s 23.1% of the caucus votes, zeroed in on the surging candidate. Rubio seemed understandably pumped to land in third place (and barely behind Trump’s 24% take). He’s been wavering at 15% in most polls, so he can take a victory lap. Rubio told Iowa supporters, “They told me that we have no chance because my hair wasn’t gray enough and my boots were too high.” This is true. Rubio has been belittled for being too young (44 years) and wearing “cute boots.”
Christie won’t swallow “boy in the bubble” Rubio’s surge without a fight, though. Preferably one that takes place next week in New Hampshire. He attacked Rubio’s tendency to arrive prepared at debates and speeches. Somehow, this is a bad thing:
“Maybe he’ll do more than 40 minutes on a little stage telling everybody his canned speech that he’s memorized. This isn’t a student council election, everybody. This is an election for president of the United States. 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. I’m ready to play, and I hope he is.
“I listened to Marco’s speech last night. You would’ve thought he won. Saying it doesn’t make it so. He’s got to come up here and he’s got to compete and he’s got to be under the microscope — and it’s going to be a very interesting week for him, I can assure you that. It’s time for him to man up and step up and stop letting all of his handlers write his speeches and handle him.”
Christie wants Rubio to “man up,” which is an unfortunate statement by most standards. Perhaps Christie believes that, like he does, Rubio should shout loudly in inappropriate places and arrive unprepared for hot-button questions. Christie recently found trouble at a New Hampshire event when an attendee asked why he campaigned instead of focusing on his state’s post-blizzard flooding. Christie’s response — “I don’t know what you want me to do. You want me to go down there with a mop?” — will live on in infamy.
Finally, Christie has had it with Rubio’s “flip-flops on immigration,” but Rubio (and his speechwriters) are probably already on the case. After all, Rubio appeared unusually flustered during a merciless immigration question from Megyn Kelly at the Fox News debate. He likely won’t let it happen again.
(Via Washington Post)