Chris Christie kicks off New Hampshire town hall series
LONDONDERRY, N.H. (AP) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie introduced himself to New Hampshire voters Wednesday in a format he knows well - a town hall meeting.
The likely 2016 Republican presidential contender drew a capacity crowd to his first town hall in New Hampshire, in Londonderry. He opened the event by talking about his life story.
Asked about problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, he blamed them on a failure of leadership at the agency.
He was in Londonderry for the first of a "Tell it Like it Is" town hall series in New Hampshire. The governor frequently holds town halls in his state.
Christie has struggled to gain traction in the early stages of the 2016 primary campaign, but appears to be ramping up his efforts.
In a policy-thick speech Tuesday, he proposed pushing back the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare for future retirees as part of a plan to cut deficits by $1 trillion over a decade, an approach he said would confront the nation's "biggest challenges in an honest way."
He told the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College he would also reduce Social Security benefits in the future for retirees earning more than $80,000 a year and eliminate them for those with annual incomes of $200,000 or more. He said seniors who work after age 62 should be exempt from the payroll tax.
The proposal marked an attempt to establish Christie's deficit-cutting credentials in a race that has three other Republicans as declared presidential candidates, with more to come. Christie says he will decide in May or June whether to launch a campaign for the nomination.