Christie says his candidacy is the Reagan model

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Nov. 20—NASHUA — Republican presidential contender and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he presents the same formula for 2024 that the late President Ronald Reagan did when he first won in 1980.

"America voted for a conservative Republican governor from a blue state (California); that's a selfish comment but it's still true," Christie said alluding to his own state dominated by Democrats.

During remarks at a town hall forum at the Nashua Elks Lodge Monday night, Christie recalled deciding who to vote for in that election as a freshman at the University of Delaware.

"This is the most serious time for our country, I think, since I was a teenager," Christie said.

At that time, the country faced double-digit inflation, unemployment and interest rates, Christie said.

"I gotta tell you it was not a hopeful time, and it was a scary time for someone going to college," Christie said.

"We had a President (Jimmy Carter) who told us it was our fault, there was 'malaise' in the country."

If elected, Christie said he would work to achieve bipartisan solutions with federal lawmakers as he did over eight years working with New Jersey lawmakers.

"We haven't had a president who could make a persuasive case to Congress since George W. Bush did after 9/11," Christie said.

At the event, former U.S. Rep. Charles Bass, R-N.H., appeared with Christie for the first time since endorsing him Sunday night.

"Since I left in 2013, I haven't been to a single event because when the voters send you a message, it's time you do something else," said Bass, alluding to losing his seat to U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H.

Bass said Christie was worth making an exception.

"He is courageous, he is fearless, he speaks the truth, he believes in the rule of law, he is experienced, he's compassionate, and he will make and preserve this country as president for generations to come," Bass said.

Last week's CNN-University of New Hampshire poll had Christie in third with 14% behind former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley with 20% and former President Donald Trump with 42%.

Despite the improving posture, Christie remained the candidate with the highest negatives among the major GOP hopefuls in nearly every poll.

That's because Christie more than any other candidate has sharply and repeatedly criticized Trump.

In the latest survey, 47% of likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters said they would never vote for him; Trump was second in this category with 32% feeling that way.

Gov. Chris Sununu is expected within the next few weeks to decide which governor he will endorse for president — Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis or former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

While introducing Christie Monday night, Sununu quipped, "We have three, four viable candidates, let's go with three."

Christie agreed, saying there are "really only four" candidates who can win the GOP nomination, referring to Trump, DeSantis, Haley and himself.

"Nobody in this room really thinks Vivek Ramaswamy is going to be president," said Christie calling his primary rival and Ohio entrepreneur "obnoxious."

While Sununu had considered a run himself for the White House last spring, he insisted the endorsement was not a ticket to a political post should his candidate win the White House.

"I don't need anything out of Washington. I just want a great candidate and great president and I think there's a huge opportunity for that. No, nothing for me. I'm ready to go get a real job," Sununu said.

A short time before the 1988 presidential primary, Sununu's father, former Gov. John H. Sununu, endorsed then-Vice President George H. W. Bush, who went on to win that contest, the nomination, and the general election.

The late Bush made the elder Sununu White House chief of staff.

Chris Sununu said he would make the decision with plenty of time to make an impact.

"That's the fun part. Are you kidding? I'm not going to do an endorsement and sit on my hands. When I do an endorsement, it's going to be a six-, seven-, eight-, nine-week push, whatever it is, to really make sure folks know where we are. I tend to not leave anything on the table," Sununu said.