Christie Trains Sights on Clinton During ‘Undercard’ Debate

Relegated to earlier event, New Jersey governor declines to go after GOP rivals

Chris Christie speaks during Republican presidential debate at Milwaukee Theatre, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
November 10, 2015

Gov. Chris Christie may have been demoted to the undercard debate in Milwaukee on Tuesday, but he opted to go after the presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton rather than his Republican rivals.

Christie took numerous shots at Clinton and President Barack Obama during the first of two debates, even encouraging the other three candidates on the stage to follow his lead and train their sights on Democrats rather than each other.

"I want to talk about what’s going to happen to this country if we have another four years of Barack Obama’s policies," Christie said, adding that Clinton is moving to the left of the president as she wards off her own Democratic challengers.

"If you think Mike Huckabee won’t be the kind of president who will cut back spending, or Chris Christie, or John Kasich, wait until you see what Hillary Clinton will do to this country and how she will drown us in debt," Christie said.

"Hillary Clinton is coming for your wallet everybody," he declared. "Don’t worry about Huckabee or [Bobby] Jindal, worry about her."

He later pointed to recent comments from Clinton about a scandal at the Veterans Administration in a withering answer to a question about Veterans Day.

"When Secretary Clinton says there’s no crisis at the VA, that sends a hard message to veterans that she doesn’t get it and she doesn’t respect their service," he said.

Christie came to Milwaukee on Tuesday smarting from a demotion to the earlier debate, which was thinned to eight candidates. Huckabee was also relegated to the earlier event.

Not all the candidates reciprocated Christie’s cease-fire. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana accused him of assenting to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and increasing food stamp enrollment in New Jersey.

Jindal and Christie have a long-running feud stemming from a 2012 contest between the two to lead the Republican Governors Association. Jindal emerged on top the next year, and Christie ran the group the year after that.

However, Christie’s campaign said that Tuesday’s debate was not about going after fellow Republicans.

The governor was simply "reminding everyone that this is about defeating the Democrats and Hillary Clinton, not each other," a spokesperson said.