Chris Christie: I’m the New Hampshire town hall king, not Kasich

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Jon Ward
·Senior Political Correspondent
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Chris Christie at a town hall in Hudson, N.H., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. (AP/Elise Amendola)

DERRY, N.H. — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that Ohio Gov. John Kasich inflated the number of his town halls and that he, Christie, had spent far more time interacting with voters over the past several months here in New Hampshire.

The Kasich campaign claims that Kasich did 106 town hall meetings this year in New Hampshire, compared to Christie’s 72.

Christie, in an interview on his campaign bus before greeting potential voters at a restaurant, scoffed at that number.

“If Kasich went out and spoke to these people, they counted it. If he went to a restaurant and shook hands and took a question? Town hall,” Christie said. “So, you know, we let John feel the way he feels, but we spent more days here. We did more events here. This is day 72 here.”

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Kasich has spent 69 days in the state. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has campaigned 54 days in the Granite State, CBS News reported.

Christie’s town hall meetings are notable for their length and the number of questions that he takes. For example, he did four on Monday, with three lasting two hours and one going for about one hour.

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Christie also took a shot at Kasich’s campaign adviser, John Weaver, who had senior roles in the 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and is a controversial figure in Republican politics.

“Listen, it’s a Weaver operation, so there’s nothing accurate about the numbers. Don’t look at the man behind the curtain,” Christie said.

Weaver responded on Twitter: “Maybe he might regret all that strategic brilliance that took him to Iowa & away from NH,” Weaver wrote, adding the hashtag #eyeofftheball.

And Kasich spokesman Chris Schrimpf said that “a candidate attacking a staff member who he has never met says a lot more about that candidate that it does anything else.”

Christie claimed that his campaign’s internal polling shows him doing better than public polling, which has him in sixth place. He said that since his takedown of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in Saturday night’s debate, “the atmosphere has really been electric.”

“Everywhere I go the crowds have been much bigger. Every place I go, all they ask me about is the debate,” Christie said.

“I feel really good today,” he said, but admitted, “I don’t know what that’s going to translate into.”