Any New Hampshire voters pining away for a more charismatic contender in their Republican primary may have had a few pangs Sunday night if they were in Exeter.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who resisted repeated entreaties to jump into the 2012 presidential race, joined New Hampshire front-runner Mitt Romney on stage at Exeter High School – and was soon competing for attention with hecklers shouting “Mitt kills jobs.”
Without missing a beat, Governor Christie defanged the protesters, Jersey style.
When the hecklers switched from “Mitt kills jobs” to “Christie kills jobs,” the larger-than-life governor stopped in his tracks. “Really?” The packed gymnasium erupted in laughter. “You know, something may go down tonight but it ain’t gonna be jobs, sweetheart,” Governor Christie shot back. The crowd roared.
Christie 1, Hecklers 0.
See for yourself in this video from the Exeter Patch:
Bam! Mr. Romney stood nearby, smiling. When interrupted by rudeness, that’s what he usually does – wait until security escorts the shouters from the hall, and then applaud the American tradition of free speech.
But while no one in the gym ripped off their Romney stickers and rushed the stage for one last attempt to get Christie into the race, that may have crossed a few minds. Certainly, the genteel one had been upstaged.
“I thought Mitt Romney was well-spoken and handled the hecklers well,” said one primary voter. “Chris Christie was better-spoken,” she continued, declining to give her name.
A Romney-Christie ticket, anyone?