May 18, 2015
By Matt Arco
Gov. Christie greets audience members after the town hall meeting. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s 137th Town Hall Meeting In Sparta at the Sussex County Technical School. Thursday May 14, 2015. Sparta, NJ, USA (Aristide Economopoulos | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
HUDSON, N.H. — Gov. Chris Christie suggested Monday he’s well equipped to take on Hillary Clinton in a General Election because he’s already defeated a female, Democratic opponent once before.
Christie, a likely 2016 presidential hopeful, touted his more than 20-point victory over former state Sen. Barbara Buono in 2013 as a prime example of his ability to take on the former secretary of state. He told the friendly crowd he proved people wrong that thought he would “lose his cool” in his re-election fight and be criticized for lashing out against a female candidate.
The governor, telling New Hampshire residents Democratic voters outnumbering Republicans in New Jersey by 700,000 people, said the cards were stacked against him when he sought a second term as governor.
“We better focus on picking somebody this time who can win, who have proven that they can win,” Christie warned.
He added: “There are no easy days for Republicans in New Jersey.”
He gave the answer in response to a question from the audience on how he would defeat Clinton.
Christie told the crowd in the early presidential voting state: “I agree with the objective.”
The governor, who’s yet to announce a presidential campaign, described being “well suited” to defeat the presumed Democratic frontrunner if he decides to enter the race and becomes the nominee because, in part, he can garner votes from people who don’t traditionally favor Republican candidates.
He touted winning Latino voter support in his landslide victory campaign.
But he also suggested he has the right temperament to take on a female candidate.
Christie told the crowd about one of the gubernatorial debates in the lead up his re-election campaign when both he and Buono were asked to name something they liked about the other candidate.
“He’s good on late-night television, but not so good in New Jersey,” recalled Christie of how Buono responded to the question.
“I know my folks (were) petrified,” said Christie with a smirk, telling the crowd he imagined his re-election team likely thought “he’s going to kill her” after she took a swipe at him.
But he didn’t, Christie explained. He was more measured in his reply and said Buono is clearly a “good and caring mother” and noted that she has served New Jersey for 20 years in the state Legislature.
“The entire time my eye was on the prize,” Christie said. “The prize wasn’t to beat her that night.”