WEST DES MOINES, IA-- On his maiden trip to Iowa as a surrogate for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was knocked off message tonight by a group of protestors who briefly hijacked his rally here.
The protestors, who represented a group called Occupy Iowa Caucus, chanted anti-Wall Street slogans as they were led outside by Romney staffers, then escorted off the property by police. "We're used to dealing with jokers like this all the time," Christie joked as the protestors were removed, "Don't worry about it."
The New Jersey governor quickly recovered, saying that any appearance of his without a "YouTube moment" would be incomplete, and that the protestors would likely be performing at a local hotel after the event. He also said their anger was misdirected, and that they should have been more upset with the White House, not him.
"Their anger is rooted in the fact that they believed this hope and change garbage."
Quickly back on message, Christie looked to make his case for Romney here in Iowa, a state where the latest polls show the former Massachusetts governor trailing Newt Gingrich by double digits.
Christie was asked by an undecided voter to tell her a story about Romney he hadn't told anyone yet -- one that might earn her support. Christie answered by launching into a story about Romney visiting Christie's New Jersey home in the wake of the governor's decision not to run for president. He said Romney's connection with his children helped seal the deal and earn his support.
"Every time they came in, he would call them over and would be having side conversations with them. The reason I tell you that is because you can’t fake that. You know, politicians can be taught to fake a lot of things, you can’t fake that," Christie said. "This is someone who I know has an extraordinary heart. He loves his wife. He loves his children. And he has absolutely no hesitation in showing that affection over them. Now, that’s not what you see on TV all the time, but I sat in my backyard for 2.5 hours and watched him talk to my children."
Christie wrapped up his story by saying he knew Romney was "somebody who I’d be proud to represent my country."
"First and foremost, when you look at candidates, say, 'Is this the kind of person who's always going to make me proud in the Oval Office and never have to worry will embarrass America? That I'll never have to worry will do something that will just make me ashamed? [Romney] won't."
Twice, Christie was asked about serving as Romney's vice president. The New Jersey governor tried on several different denials -- saying he loved the job he was in, that others would be better suited, and that he made a promise to his state.
"You saw me deal with those Occupy people," Christie joked. "Do I look like somebody's VP?"
But he did not discount the possibility outright, saying it would be "impolite."
"I wouldn't bet on Romney-Christie at the moment," Christie said, wrapping up the topic. "But one never knows."