WEST DES MOINES - There was no lack of exuberance tonight in the Hawkeye State, where New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came out swinging during a campaign stop on behalf of Mitt Romney, making veiled references about who might embarrass the country as president and referring to President Obama as a disappointment.
"First and foremost, when we look at these candidates, say, 'Is this the kind of person that is always going to make me proud in the Oval Office and I'm never going to worry will embarrass America, that I never have to worry will do something that will make me ashamed?'" said Christie, speaking at the headquarters for Kum & Go, a gas and convenience chain in West Des Moines.
"He just won't," said Christie of Romney.
"Maybe we should expect that from all our leaders but we've learned over time we don't always get it," Christie added, seeming to reference former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose career has been marred by scandal.
But Christie was perhaps most on his game when handling a group of raucous Occupy Iowa Caucus protestors, who butted in during his speech with chants of "Put people first! Put people first!"
At first laughing, Christie then engaged, saying, "You're so angry aren't you, so terrible."
"Work it all out, work it all out of yourselves," said the oft-brash Christie. "You know what? We're used to dealing with jokers like this in New Jersey all the time."
The protestors - about 25 people who had managed to blend in with the crowd, holding Romney for President signs and stickers - were quickly removed by police and told to leave the premises.
Christie took no time getting back on topic.
"I will tell you that if you're looking for the candidate that agrees with you on everything, buy a mirror, buy a mirror," said Christie, "because that's the only one you're going to find that agrees with you on everything."
"You don't need some guy from New Jersey to come and tell you how important you are to this process, but you are," he said. "I guarantee you this: If Mitt Romney wins Iowa on Jan. 3, he is going to be the next president of the United States."
While touting Romney as the next president, Christie couldn't escape questions on his own potential spot on the presidential ticket, but urged the audience not to put money on a Romney-Christie ticket.
"But we live and we hope," he quipped.
As for a possible 2020 run for president? Definitely not off the table for Christie, who said by then he'll be looking for work.