WATERLOO, Iowa - Assailed by Donald Trump a day earlier, Gov. Christie on Tuesday said little as he brushed off the GOP rival's barrage, which encompassed attacks on New Jersey's economy, the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal, and Christie's embrace of President Obama at the Jersey Shore after Hurricane Sandy.
"It just appears to me that the Christmas spirit left Donald after only three days," Christie told reporters at Elly's Tea & Coffee in Muscatine, in eastern Iowa. He then wished Trump and his family a happy New Year, adding, "I'll see him in New Hampshire."
As he began his latest tour of Iowa - after Monday's events were canceled because of a winter storm - Christie didn't shy from unleashing criticism on other targets.
At Elly's, where about 70 people had gathered, Christie attacked Obama while keeping his campaign pitch focused on terrorism.
He accused the administration of "absolute incompetence" as he noted reports of al-Qaeda building new training camps in Afghanistan. The New York Times reported Tuesday that al-Qaeda camps were "sprouting up," though not as large as camps before Sept. 11, 2001.
"This is the president, of course, who's advocated for pulling troops" from Afghanistan, Christie said. In October, Obama halted plans for withdrawal, announcing that the United States would keep troops in Afghanistan through 2017.
"Let's remember, when he pulled troops completely out of Iraq, what happened? ISIS became the force it's become, because the president refused to keep any permanent force in Iraq," Christie said.
Painting himself as more experienced than GOP presidential rivals from the Senate, Christie also continued his attacks on Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, accusing Cruz of weakening U.S. intelligence capabilities with his vote to curtail the National Security Agency phone surveillance program.
Slamming Rubio for his recent missed budget vote, Christie said, "Dude, show up to work. . . . Show up to work and vote no. And if you don't want to, then quit."
Rubio, who was also in Iowa on Tuesday, told reporters that running for president "will require me for the time being to miss some votes in the U.S. Senate, because I want those votes to matter again."
Claiming a "close to 90 percent" attendance record, Rubio said, "Chris has been missing in New Jersey for half the time."
Christie, who has traveled out of state on about half of the days in December for campaign events, said he was not arguing that Rubio "has to be there every day. I know he's running for president."
After the meeting, Christie told reporters that being governor was a "seven-day-a-week job." He said he was on the phone Tuesday morning with his chief of staff and chief counsel and had made decisions over the weekend on bills. He also said he spent two days recently preparing for the State of the State address he will deliver Jan. 12.
As for his presidential travels, Christie said he would split time the coming month between Iowa, which holds caucuses Feb. 1, and New Hampshire, which holds the first primary Feb. 9.
Citing endorsements and support in Iowa, including from allies of longtime Gov. Terry Branstad, Christie said that "really since September, we've started to see real movement here."
But he remains near the bottom of the pack in polls. In a Des Moines Register poll this month of likely GOP caucus-goers, Christie garnered 3 percent support; in a CBS News/YouGov poll also this month, he had 1 percent.
Christie touched on his poll numbers at home, telling the crowd in Muscatine he had been "everywhere from in the 30s to the 70s."
That's because "I do things," said Christie, whose approval ratings in New Jersey have fallen as he's spent time on the campaign trail. "You get people angry sometimes."