By Ben Kamisar
Christie: Clinton will 'feed' Rubio his missed votes 'for lunch'
Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie warned that rival Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio: Turkey attack 'directed' by ISIS Trump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office GOP mega-donor: Trump would cause 'global depression' MORE's voting record could doom him in the general election as he questioned the wisdom of electing a senator to the White House.
"We are going to nominate someone from the place with a 13 percent approval rate and then run against Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump warns against Syrian refugees: 'A lot of those people are ISIS' Overnight Finance: Senate sends Puerto Rico bill to Obama | Treasury, lawmakers to meet on tax rules | Obama hits Trump on NAFTA | Fed approves most banks' capital plans Bush World goes for Clinton, but will a former president? MORE?" Christie asked the audience Wednesday at a New Hampshire town hall.
"She will clean our clock. She will take every vote Rubio missed and she will feed it to him for lunch. ... What are we doing here? Let's be smart."
Rubio's critics have repeatedly piled on him for posting the worst voting record in the Senate, accusing him of skipping out on his responsibilities. But Rubio has fought back and argued that his presidential bid is for the greater good and that Senate votes will matter more when he becomes president.
Christie, the governor of New Jersey, has staked his bid on a strong performance in the New Hampshire primary, having made 179 campaign stops in the state, just one fewer than Ohio Gov. John Kasich had made, according to the New England Cable News candidate tracker
Despite a late surge at the end of 2015 in the state, Christie remains locked in a logjam of more moderate candidates who have all pegged their hopes on the Granite State. He is in sixth place there in the RealClearPolitics average of recent polling; Rubio is in third, behind business mogul Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump warns against Syrian refugees: 'A lot of those people are ISIS' Cleveland takes out M insurance policy for convention Man who allegedly planned to kill Trump charged MORE and Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office Kasich touts poll showing he does better against Clinton than Trump Two transgender candidates win primaries MORE (Texas). Christie tied for ninth place in Monday's Iowa caucuses.
Both Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are ahead of Christie, and Rubio's strong third-place finish in Iowa has given him a jolt of momentum heading into New Hampshire.
Like Kasich and Bush, Christie has kept Rubio square in his sights as he looks to climb back up the ladder and emerge as the establishment favorite.
He also turned his focus on Wednesday onto the Democratic field, promising to beat Clinton's "rear end" during general election debates.
"The last person she wants to see on that debate stage? You're looking at him. You know why? She's been running away from federal prosecutors for the last six months," Christie, a former federal prosecutor, said.
"I'll beat her rear end on that stage, and you know what? After I do, she'll be relieved because she'll just be worried I was going to serve her with a subpoena."
He also accused Clinton and Democratic rival Bernie SandersBernie SandersDems leery of Planned Parenthood cuts spark Senate scuffle Senate passes Puerto Rico debt relief bill The Trail 2016: When a pivot isn’t always a pivot MORE for fiscal irresponsibility for treating America as if it has planted a "money tree" in its backyard.
The New Jersey governor told the audience about a time his mother took him to the supermarket as a child. The young Christie, he said, kept asking his mother if he could buy things from the shelves, to which his mother told him he could only if he was able to harvest money from the family "money tree."
"You're the money tree" to Democrats, he told the audience.
"You are a hardworking taxpayer in this country, they don't view you as human beings, they view you as the money tree."
He went onto directly target Clinton, telling the audience that none of her proposals are truly free.
"She's not going to give it to you for free, she's going to do one of two things: She's going to raise your taxes or borrow money from the Chinese," he said.
"There are two different philosophies in this campaign — I believe in you, she believes in government."