Useful Idiots: Romney, Christie Use Exeter Protesters As Foils
EXETER- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stuffed the gym at Exeter High on behalf of frontrunner Mitt Romney Sunday evening. Christie wasn’t able to do it alone: Seven hundred people packed the space, plus another couple hundred stood in an overflow gym after police blocked more from entering.
Romney and Christie were both interrupted by chants from a handful of Occupy protesters, and both politicians skillfully used the protesters to their advantage. Left-wing protesters interrupted events of many candidates over the weekend.
“Let’s hear a cheer!” Romney prompted, and the crown responded by drowning out the protesters. Acknowledging free speech rights including a right to protest, “Next time, try to do it with more courtesy,” Romney called out as police escorted a couple women to the door.
Minutes later, chants of “Christie kills jobs” greeted theNew Jerseygovernor. “Oh, really?” Christie responded, clearly relishing an opportunity to mix it up with the hecklers,Jerseystyle. YouTube has plenty of examples of Christie mocking protesters, and the Occupiers obliged.
This was a full-production, rally-style event, not a town hall. A large stage and press riser combined to take up about half the floor space in the gym. The set also included an enormous American flag and a scoreboard-sized electronic debt clock tallying the national debt (15.2 trillion and counting). An enormous media contingent, including at least 29 full-size TV cameras, covered the event.
The group standing on stage behind Romney included state Sen. Jack Barnes from nearby Raymond, formerNew Hampshire first lady Nancy Sununu, and uber-Romney activist Beverly Bruce. Mrs. Romney, three Romney sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren were also there. “The better you’re doing, the more family shows up,” Romney joked. State Sen. Jeb Bradley, who used to represent this area in Congress, and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte warmed up the crowd for Romney’s entrance.
Romney, Christie, and Ayotte also swung through the overflow room before entering the main hall, according to an attendee who was in the side area.
Romney’s remarks were mostly rah-rah, heavy on patriotism. “I don’t believe in Europe, I believe inAmerica,” Romney assured the crowd. He portrayed the president as seeking to expand an entitlement mentality inAmerica, sowing seeds of envy against successful people.
Christie picked up on the theme. “Barack Obama is the most pessimistic person I’ve ever seen in the Oval Office,” Christie said. “He doesn’t do angry well. He doesn’t care that you’re angry,” Christie said, motioning towards the protesters. “He just wants you to be angry at someone else.”
President Obama seesAmericaas having a fixed pie that “isn’t getting any bigger,” Christie said. The president sees someone with a big slice of pie and encourages having government take most of it and then redistribute a small amount to others.
firstname.lastname@example.org, January 8, 2012