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Chris Christie touts GOP debate performance in New Hampshire

Chris Christie speaks at a town hall event

Chris Christie speaks at a town hall event at a metal fabrication company, Feb. 8, 2016, in Hudson, N. H. Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Dominick Reuter

DERRY, N.H. — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wove his way through supporters in a crowded tavern Tuesday, bragging about his smack down performance in Saturday’s televised debate and taking on all comers — except Donald Trump.

“The whole race changed Saturday,” Christie of his confrontation with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who was rising fast after his second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses the week before.

“Everyone in the chattering class was on the way to anointing Sen. Rubio. I think that’s over,” Christie said.

In a brief interview, Christie said voters in New Hampshire have changed their thinking since the debate, in which Rubio repeated stump speech phrases that Christie said showed poor preparation for the presidency.

“All they want to do is talk about the debate and how it proves I am ready to be president,” Christie said. “It’s great.”

Christie declined to comment when asked about the fact that front-runner Trump also repeats catchphrases and stump speech material.

“We’ll talk about Donald Trump when it’s time to talk about Donald Trump,” Christie said. “I do this stuff at a place and time of my choosing.”

Christie worked the crowed along and from behind the bar at T Bones, shouting across the noisy crowd, “Yeah, steak!” and telling two customers who said they were still considering other candidates, “You should be more excited about the nachos.”

“I think you are the right man for the White House,” Steve Jensen, 39, of Bedford, N.H., told Christie. “You are a person who is electable for the country, not just the party.”

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