There was something different about the rally on Sunday for Mitt Romney at Exeter High School. The signs, buttons, and campaign stickers were emblazoned with Romney’s name, but it was clear the former governor of Massachusetts was just the opening act at his own campaign stop. The real rock star, Chris Christie, was the evening’s main event.
“Thank you, Chris Christie, for being here,” Romney began. “He’s going to tell us how to win this election Jersey-style.” The crowd of just fewer than 1,000 erupted.
Romney could hardly introduce the man before the crowd drowned him out in applauding Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor launched right into vintage Christie.
“We can no longer put up with the most pessimistic man I’ve ever seen in the Oval Office,” Christie said. “He sounds angry. You know, I have a suggestion for the president. He doesn’t do angry well.”
What he’s doing now, he understands that people are angry. He understands they’re worried about the future. And so he’s decided, as the most cynical reelection strategy you could ever think of, that he doesn’t care if you’re angry. He just wants you to be angry at somebody else. Those folks we had here tonight—they’re an example of that. They’re angry, and they’re concerned about the future of this country, too. And Mitt’s right, they have the right to express themselves.
Here’s the thing. The president’s encouraged these people to be angry at Mitt, or to be angry at me, because we stand up for what we believe in.
This is a president who believes that the American pie will now grow as large as it will ever get. It’s not going to get any bigger. And so what he’s telling people across America is, he’s saying, if you are unsatisfied with your piece of pie, and you think that the man next to you has a bigger piece, I’ve got a solution for you. I’ll take part of his piece, I’ll keep most of it, and I’ll give a little bit to you, and you should be happy. Because that’s what America’s going to be under four more years of Barack Obama.
Now we can’t have that, because what Mitt Romney believes is that the size of the American pie is infinite. The only thing that limits the size of the American pie is our work ethic, our integrity, and our ingenuity. That means America’s pie is infinite.
Christie was referring to a group of Occupy Wall Street protestors that had interrupted Romney’s speech earlier in the night. The protesters had been chanting, “Mitt kills jobs!”
“It’s wonderful to live in a country where people are able to express their views,” Romney had responded. “We’re happy to have you guys express your views. Next time, do it with more courtesy.”
And sure enough, at this point in Christie’s speech, another group of Occupy protesters had infiltrated the crowd. One young woman began chanting, “Christie kills jobs!” The big man didn’t miss a beat.
“Really?” he asked incredulously as the Republican crowd laughed and applauded. “You know, something’s going down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart.”
The retort didn’t quite make sense, but the audience lapped it up anyway. Christie kept going, turning the second interruption into another opportunity to criticize the president.
“Mr. President, this is the type of disoriented anger your cynicism and your division is causing our country,” Christie said. “Bring our country together, and stop dividing us."
But he wasn’t done. “On second thought, Mr. President, if you’re up there with your family in the White House, put your feet up and don’t worry about,” Christie said. “Mitt Romney’s going to bring this country together.”
Romney couldn’t have said it better himself.