Chris Christie, Foreign Affairs, NewsEdge

Christie: Russian aggression sign of U.S. weakness

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chrischristie_0Oct. 09– MANCHESTER — Security and foreign policy have emerged as key issues in the race for the White Houseafter the latest Russian missile strikes in Syria, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday.

The Republican presidential hopeful said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression shows the weakness of U.S. leadership.

“It seems to me that in this campaign America’s role in the world and foreign policy and national security are becoming more and more important every day because just when you think it can’t get worse, it does,” Christie said during a town hall meeting at Moe Joe’s restaurant in Manchester.

Christie blasted President Barack Obama and his administration, extending his criticism to former Secretary of StateHillary Clinton, who is running for the Democratic nomination for President.

“He is showing everyone right now what a world without American influence will look like,” Christie said. ” Iraq on fire.Libya on fire. Syria on fire. Hundreds of thousands of people literally running for their lives away from Syria to Europeand other middle eastern countries.”

As the Syrian turmoil continues to unfold, the two-term governor brought up foreign policy often during this three-day campaign swing through New Hampshire. It also comes as GOP rivals, such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen.Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, try to present themselves as the foreign policy experts in the field of candidates.

Christie said it is a more dangerous world, but that does not mean America needs to be the world’s policeman or send troops all around the globe. He said the U.S. must let its adversaries, in this case Putin, know that there are limits and consequences.

Christie also spoke of the need to reform Social Security, reduce the size and scope of federal government, and tackle illegal immigration.

He took a jab at Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who has made controversial statements about illegal immigrants and pledged to build a wall across the entire U.S. border with Mexico — and make Mexico pay for it.

Christie called for walls in urbanized areas along the border, not the entire stretch. He also advocates for greater use of technology and electronic surveillance, and improving e-verify to ensure U.S. businesses hire properly documented immigrants.

“I don’t care how beautiful the wall is — the Mexicans are not paying for it. They’re not … even if it’s beautiful and even if it says ‘Trump’ on it, which undoubtedly it would,” Christie said.

Pappas endorsement

At Moe Joe’s restaurant in Manchester, what was Christie’s 26th town hall meeting in state this year, the candidate was endorsed by Hillsborough County Commissioner Toni Pappas, a former state representative whose political experience includes leading the effort to draft Elizabeth Dole in 1999.

“I think the governor is very experienced, he’s intelligent, he’s tough, he’s strong, he’s articulate, and he has some really practical solutions to the nation’s problems,” Pappas said at the restaurant. She spoke of his efforts to reduce government and oppose tax increases in New Jersey. “No other candidate, I believe, has his experience and resolve, which will restore the American dream.”

John Gallagher, an Army veteran from Manchester, said after the event that he is supporting Christie because he believes he is a straight-talker.

“He doesn’t hedge anything,” he said. Rubio, he said, would be his second choice.

Christie on Thursday met with employees at Granite State Manufacturing in Manchester and held a town hall meeting at Shooter’s Tavern in Belmont. On Friday morning, he holds a similar meeting at the Intervale Pancake House inHenniker.

dtuohy@unionleader.com

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(c)2015 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.)

Visit The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.) at www.unionleader.com

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