Chris Christie is campaigning hard in New Hampshire, with a new target in his crosshairs. It’s Marco Rubio who shattered expectations in the Iowa caucuses and nearly tied Donald Trump. Christie’s belittling Rubio as “the boy in the bubble” saying the country can’t afford another one-term senator as president. Iowa’s top vote-getter, Sen. Ted Cruz, had invested in Iowa what Christie did not. Face time, TV ads and a get-out-the-vote ground game gave him the victory.
“I tell you tonight, Iowa has made clear to America and the world, morning is coming. Morning is coming. Thank you and God bless you,” candidate Ted Cruz said at his victory rally.
Cruz trumps Trump. Rubio’s ascended. Christie scraped by at the bottom with about 2 percent. Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron joins NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams to discuss the results of the Iowa caucus.
Williams: Do the results surprise you?
Aron: Morning is coming, sounds like Morning in America. Yeah, I was surprised that Cruz won. He won in spite of the Canadian birth issue, he won in spite of the revelation that he used money from Goldman Sachs where his wife works for his Senate run and didn’t disclose it. He won in spite of the fact that people say he’s unpopular wherever he’s been, including the U.S. Senate. He won in spite of the fact that the popular governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, endorsed anybody but Cruz. So yeah, I think this was quite amazing. Will it be duplicated in New Hampshire? Who knows.
Williams: Let’s talk about Gov. Christie. How big a blow was his vote to the campaign?
Aron: I think Christie’s on life support right now. His goal was to finish first among the top four governors. He finished fourth among the top four governors. Be that as it may, up in New Hampshire this morning he was upbeat as he usually is telling people that Iowa is not New Hampshire:
“People ask me all the time, ‘How does it feel in Iowa?’ and I said, ‘I have no idea.’ My campaign staff would ask me and I have no feel, I can’t tell, I don’t know what’s going on here. That’s not here. Here I’ve had a feel all along. I’ve connected with people. You see how crowded this room is today with all our volunteers.”
Williams: He doesn’t seem rattled at all. How is the campaign viewing it?
Aron: The campaign put out a press release this morning, the spokeswoman Samantha Smith, she said nothing happened in Iowa that we didn’t expect, that the election is still up for grabs, that we didn’t really spend much money. Of course, they don’t have as much but that Bush spent $15 million, Rubio $12 million, Cruz $7 million, Trump $3.5 million, Christie only $600,000 in Iowa. That the Iowa winner doesn’t often prevail in New Hampshire or even in the big picture. That it’s now all about New Hampshire and promising a full effort.
Williams: He’s put all his eggs in the New Hampshire basket, if you will. If he doesn’t win, place or show what are the odds he’ll continue on?
Aron: He has enough money to continue on. The campaign has about a million dollars and the super PAC has about $3 million, but I think if he doesn’t crack double digits in New Hampshire that it’ll be tough to keep going. He’s not that well known or invested in South Carolina or Nevada. He’s counting on the momentum of a strong showing in New Hampshire to kick start that in South Carolina and Nevada. I think double digits is the bar.
Williams: Trump. All the polls showed he was the clear leader. What happened?
Aron: That’s a very good question. Donald Trump was more confident and cocky than it turned out he should have been. Apparently he didn’t really have an organization, he was getting so much free media and still is that he neglected to hire 99 precinct captains. It was interesting to me that in his remarks at his “celebration” I guess it was not a victory celebration. He didn’t say anything about America. He didn’t say anything about policy. Everyone else last night talked about the country and what’s needed and issues. Trump’s was, ‘I’m honored. This was great. Here’s my great family.’ There was, I think he was shell shocked, to tell you the truth.