Chris Christie's poll numbers are low, but he said Monday that he's pushing forward with his campaign
and not to count him out yet, even if Donald Trump is making more noise.
"You just keep working," the New Jersey governor told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.
"The bottom line is the way these primaries always get won are by the folks who work the hardest and develop an organization, and then get the vote out. You know, there's nothing new about politics now."
He told the show he has been holding numerous town hall meetings and events in New Hampshire and Iowa, and this weekend got the endorsement of Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, "the highest elected official that's endorsed anybody in Iowa so far."
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"Again, remember, Herman Cain was winning at this time four years ago," said Christie. "Rudy Giuliani was winning at this time eight years ago. There's a lot of things to happen. John Kerry was buried back in 2004."
He continued that he understands it's vacation time and "we need fun stuff to talk about," but still "we'll keep working and talking about the issues."
The fact remains, though, that Trump is far ahead of the 17-candidate pack. According to overall polling reported by RealClearPolitics
, the brash New York real estate mogul has 22 percent of the voters polled, while Christie's numbers are far behind at 3.3 percent.
Christie said he believes Trump's rise is because voters are seeing a candidate who has never been a part of Washington politics, and "it's more that than anything else."
"You listen to some of the things Donald says sometimes and think people don't really — aren't really hearing that," said Christie.
"I mean I was watching him the other night on Friday night when I got to Iowa and he's just kind of stream of consciousness talking and he says, 'you know what I'm really good at that nobody writes about? Military. I'm good at that. I'm a tough guy, right, right?' And everybody cheers."
Christie said people relate such statements to the fact that they hate what's going on in Washington because they "don't like this president and what he's done, they don't like Congress and what they're about, and it's about both parties. So that's what they don't like. I think it's less about him than it is about the situation."
The governor said he's been friends with Trump for about 13 years and still considers him a friend, and he described going out to dinner with Trump as "an exhausting experience" meant "in the nicest way."
Christie has recently released an ad on the general election that slams Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton
, because "she deserves to be pounded; she doesn't think she's accountable to the American public. She won't answer questions."
As a former federal prosecutor, he said he would go after her case in a specific way, asking why she had a private email server and why she was conducting her business on that server.
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Also, Christie said he would want to know why her emails disappeared while she was under subpoena from the House of Representatives, and how she and her staff handled classified information.
"Hillary won't even answer these questions," he said. "She goes back to the typical Clinton response to every criticism. Oh, it's all politics. Well, it's not all politics. She has not stood up and answered the questions in a forthright way and exhaustive way."
He also accused President Barack Obama of not pushing her on the emails because he "probably" has "something to hide."
"This president has set a standard in Washington of lawlessness," he said. "What I mean by that is this, if you don't like the law, don't enforce them... And now as it applies to Hillary Clinton, she can do all of her work over a private email server, even though that's against the law and against public policy, and this president just decides which laws he wants to enforce, which ones he doesn't."
Meanwhile, Christie said the three things people want to hear most about from him are national security, the Islamic State (ISIS) and student debt.
"People are really concerned about student debt, about how this is affecting their children's lives," he said, telling the show that he just paid the bills for his two college students, and they came to $122,000 for them to return to Princeton and Notre Dame.
"Families are having huge debt and the kids are overwhelmed by it and parents are overwhelmed by it," said Christie.
"By the way, the government is ripping people off, too. They're charging interest at 7 percent or 8 percent and you can't refinance it [student loans].
"One of the things we should change is they can refinance those loans at market rates so the government is not making money off of kids who are trying to struggle through in this lousy economy that the president and Mrs. Clinton have given us."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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