New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is in a fighting mood.
With less than a week to go until the New Hampshire primary on which he has hung his candidacy, the Republican presidential candidate is aggressively going after the person he sees as his greatest obstacle to success in the first-in-the nation primary: Marco Rubio.
Christie is attempting to reframe the New Hampshire primary as a race between him and Rubio in a last-ditch attempt to validate his candidacy following a disappointing tenth place finish in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire polling numbers floating in the single digits. He has set out to blunt Rubio’s momentum going into the first-in-the-nation primary the after Rubio took third-place in Iowa.
First dubbing Rubio “the boy in the bubble” Tuesday morning, Christie has issued a series of critiques on Rubio and accused him of ducking the media’s questions and sticking to closely choreographed stump speeches.
“This isn’t the student council election, everybody. This is an election for President of the United States. Let’s get the boy out of the bubble, and let’s see if he’s ready to play next week in New Hampshire, I’m ready to play,” Christie told reporters Tuesday.
And so began a series of insults delivered in rapid-fire succession against Rubio, by which Christie has sought to drive home his case for why the first-term U.S. senator is “simply not ready to be president.”
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” Christie said Wednesday morning, warning the outcome of a Republican first-term senator in the Oval Office will be no different in practical terms than the last seven years of an Obama administration.
By early afternoon on Wednesday, Christie had accused Rubio of having left “no footprint” of accomplishment in the U.S. Senate.
“I would challenge anyone to show me the significant accomplishment that Sen. Rubio has done while he is in the United States Senate; I can’t find one,” Christie said at a news conference after accepting the endorsement of the New Hampshire Speaker of the House.
During the same news conference, Christie called Rubio “the master of the drive-by town hall” for meetings that run shorter in length compared to Christie's typical two-hour-long town hall and quipped that “every day is Groundhog Day for the Rubio campaign," with Rubio sticking to scripted remarks.
On Wednesday evening, Christie told Fox News that Rubio “acts like the king of England” and compared his campaign strategy to a witness protection program.
Defending his attacks on Rubio in an interview on ABC News' “Good Morning America” this morning, Christie said “Marco can say whatever he wants about that but this is his experience or lack thereof."
"He just doesn't have any experience, George,” Christie told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.
While the polling puts Rubio steadily ahead of Christie heading into Tuesday’s primary, Christie’s offensive comes as Christie tries to make the case that New Hampshire primary is a two-man race between he and Rubio.
“This New Hampshire primary is now down to a choice between me and Marco Rubio, and everybody knows it,” Christie said Wednesday. “Sen. Rubio knows it. I know it. That’s why he is engaged with me and why I am engaged with him.”
The Rubio campaign did not immediately respond today to a request for comment from ABC News.