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Republican presidential candidate Christie criticizes rival Rubio for negative ads

| Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, 9:33 p.m.

Just hours after a super-PAC backing Sen. Marco Rubio unleashed two ads targeting him in crucial New Hampshire, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie replied in kind.

“I just wonder what happened to the Marco who so indignantly looked at Jeb Bush and said, ‘I guess someone must have convinced you that going negative against me helps you,' ” Christie said on Bloomberg TV's “With All Due Respect.” “I guess that same person must now have convinced Marco that going negative against Chris Christie is what he needs to do.”

A new ad shows Christie alongside the president, calling him “Obama's favorite Republican” and criticizing his record on Common Core and Internet sales taxes. The spot ends with one last dig: “Chris Christie: One high tax, Common Core, liberal energy-loving, Obamacare Medicaid-expanding president is enough.” Another ad faults him for the Bridgegate scandal and falling short on job growth in his state. The spots will air in New Hampshire, where the candidates are depending on strong showings in order to gain traction in the race for the Republican nomination.

During the interview, Christie defended his record as “a good one” and touted the growth of private-sector jobs.

“If Senator Rubio would just show up for work once in a while, he's only got one job, he's got to cast votes in the United States Senate,” Christie said. “If he thinks that's a worthless job, which he has basically said before, he should resign it. If he doesn't, then he should show up and vote.”

The two Republicans are battling for votes from the establishment wing of the party. Nationally, Christie is polling in fifth place, while Rubio has risen to third. In New Hampshire, where Christie is polling higher compared to his national average, he is slightly trailing the Florida senator.

Christie also responded to tensions escalating in the Middle East following Saudi Arabia's execution of 49 people in one day, including Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

“I think their human rights record leaves something to be desired,” he said. “The fact is that we need to work with our friends to make sure that we're trying to have a positive influence on their human rights records inside their own country, while not letting that dominate the geopolitical relationship we need to have with the Saudi government.”

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