Christie: Republican primary rivals lack policy specifics (Commentary)
NEWPORT, N.H. (AP) â€” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday chided his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination for speaking in slogans rather than offering specifics on policies theyâ€™d pursue if elected to the White House.
“Listen, we Republicans are as guilty of this as Democrats,â€ Christie said during a town hall-style meeting in New Hampshire. “Some of our candidates make these big, vague, general platitudes, they get big applause lines. And then, whereâ€™s the beef?â€
Christieâ€™s comments came during a three-day swing through the early voting state, where a strong performance is seen as crucial to his presidential hopes. He has hosted 15 town hall-style meetings in New Hampshire, hoping to capitalize on the ideas the stateâ€™s voters expect to see and hear often from presidential contenders.
As he criticized the rest of the field for speaking broadly, Christie said heâ€™s laid out policies on entitlement overhaul, education and national security.
“We have the most specific and detailed campaign in this election,â€ Christie said. “Unless we have some communists in the room who donâ€™t want a greater America, I suspect weâ€™re all for a greater America.â€
The slogan for businessman Donald Trumpâ€™s campaign is “Make America Great Again,â€ and several other candidates also reference improving the country in their campaign slogans. Christie didnâ€™t use names on Tuesday, but he did criticize Trumpâ€™s presidential qualifications during a town hall meeting the night before in Keene.
Christie engaged with the New Hampshire crowd for roughly two hours, giving his audience a glimpse of his willingness to go head-to-head with people who donâ€™t agree with him. One voter disagreed with Christieâ€™s plan to raise the age of eligibility for Social Security.
“You can be angry about it, you can say itâ€™s unfair and I would agree with both your anger and your characterization of unfairness. But guess what? This is what weâ€™ve inherited,â€ he said. “You can either be mad at the person whoâ€™s having the conversation with you, or you can be mad at the people who refuse to have the conversation with you.â€
Another voter challenged Christieâ€™s opposition to legalizing marijuana. Christie says that if elected president, he would begin enforcing federal marijuana laws in states such as Colorado that have legalized recreational use of the drug.
“I donâ€™t believe, in my experience in law enforcement, that itâ€™s the right thing to do,â€ he told the woman, who questioned why he is personally against legalization. “Other people can differ, but you have the right to know my opinion, and thatâ€™s my opinion.â€