DES MOINES – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, fresh on the heels of his endorsement of Mitt Romney’s presidential bid, told “tele-town hall” participants in Iowa and 18 other states Tuesday that he expects the former Massachusetts governor will “face hell fire” from President Obama and his Democratic allies in 2012 campaign as the GOP nominee.
“The president has shown that he is willing to divide America in order to preserve his job,” Christie told a Florida caller. “Once he’s done that, there’s little else he’d be unwilling to do. So I think that Gov. Romney has to expect a very difficult, a very personally hostile and divisive campaign.”
The New Jersey Republican said his advice to Romney is “rise above it and talk about the dreams and aspirations you have for the American people” by laying out his specific plan to address problems that Obama has avoided, such as the deficit, the debt problem and the international crisis in finances and foreign policy.
“Tell them that it’s not going to be easy, that it’s going to involve sacrifice from everybody, but that everyone will sacrifice together to make our country a better place,” he said.
Christie said he expects the next 13 months are going to be “extraordinarily challenging” for Romney and his family but he told the listening audience “I can tell you, in the end, he has the integrity and the character to stand up to whatever attacks the president throws in his direction and he will survive those and thrive because his message is a clear and strong one that resonates with the American people.
“He wants to make everybody’s life better, not just some,” the New Jersey governor said. “If he communicates that with the type of integrity that I know that Mitt Romney has, then I’m confident that the American people will see through the smoke screen of the attack ads that will be put against him both in the primary and in the general election and, in the end, they’re going to say this is the right person to lead us through these difficult times.”
Christie said the Romney campaign “is up and open in Iowa” and he urged Iowans who support Romney to get involved in this important election cycle by participating in the first-in-the-nation caucuses and bringing family members, friends, neighbors and business associates with them, noting “it’s not a spectator sport” – especially in Iowa “which is going to have so much to say about who the nominee or our party is.”
The New Jersey governor said he expects Romney “is going to face hell fire coming from this president because this president has decided that he is willing to divide our country and pit one American against another in order to keep his job. Now anybody who’s made that decision, who’s willing to tell the American people that the American pot can’t get bigger, (that) you have to take from people who have achieved the American dream in order to make your circumstance better, that is an awfully cynical way to approach public life and public service.”
Christie said his main focus will be on filling out his current term as New Jersey’s top executive, but told the town hall participants that “if Gov. Romney needs me out there, I’m going to try to be out there as much as I can for him.”