LORDSTOWN - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he believes President Barack Obama and his re-election campaign in the four weeks leading to Election Day will bring ''Chicago ward politics'' to the national stage to overcome the president's excuse of being too nice in the first presidential debate.
Christie, a Romney surrogate, said the next month is going to be ''pretty mean,'' and he expects the president to say awful things about Romney and his vice presidential candidate, U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
''This guy is going to take whatever shots he can take at Mitt Romney in the next four weeks and we've got to be ready for it,'' Christie said.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Roxane Morris of Howland, left, talks with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during the Victory Rally on Tuesday afternoon in Lordstown Park.
Christie spoke to about 250 people Tuesday afternoon at Lordstown Village Park, just a few miles away from the UAW 1714 hall, where Vice President Joe Biden addressed Democrats in late August.
The village is home to the General Motors Corp. Lordstown Complex, where the popular Chevrolet Cruze is produced, but Christie didn't address the automobile industry, which Democrats seized on.
''He's definitely out of touch with what is going on here,'' said Glenn Johnson, president of UAW 1112. ''There are 4,500 members over there making the Chevy Cruze 24 hours a day, five days a week, supporting not only that rank and file, but all the small business and everything else including the community that this was held in.
''Part of our tax dollars go to Lordstown to support their fire, their safety, their parks and recreation and everything else and to come to a venue like this and never even mention we exist is really out of touch,'' Johnson said.
Christie, spending a couple days campaigning for and with Romney in Ohio, used some of his roughly 20-minute speech to ask audience members to explain to everyone they know why a Romney win in November is so important for the future of the country.
Without change, Christie said, this generation runs the risk of being the first ''because of the failed policies and fake hope and change that was offered to us four years ago'' to not reach the standard set by previous generations of providing a better country for future generations.
Obama's campaign brought the issue back around to the auto industry.
Ohio campaign spokeswoman Jessica Kershaw said Romney's absence in the Mahoning Valley and Christie's failure to address the ''return of the auto industry'' while in Lordstown ''speaks volumes.''
''But it's no surprise Christie managed to avoid talking about the single largest economic success for the area since GM announced earlier this week it's creating 2,000 more jobs,'' said Kershaw in a press release.
''That's probably why the Romney-Ryan ticket didn't show up in the Mahoning Valley in the first place, considering they were dead wrong to advocate that we should 'let Detroit Go bankrupt' and with it, the one in eight Ohio jobs connected to the auto industry."
The governor also zeroed in on Ohio's importance in this election in picking the next president, calling the Buckeye State, ''a state of consequence.''
''Whoever wins Ohio is going to be the next president of the United States, you know that is true,'' Christie said.
And the Republican took time to analyze the president's debate performance.
''I watched the president during that debate, I think he kept looking down at the pad on that podium, saying 'Please, God, give me an answer to this stuff, please,''' Christie said.
Paul Szczyglowski of Howland, there with his wife, Jo Anne, said it took guts for Christie to travel to this highly Democratic area and campaign for Romney.
''The reason he is coming here is because he doesn't mind a confrontation,'' said Szczyglowski, who met and had his picture taken with Christie.
''He (Christie) thanked him (Paul) for his service,'' said Jo Anne Szczyglowski. Paul Szczyglowski, a military veteran who served in the Army from 1965 to 1971, was wearing an Army baseball cap.