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Christie: 'I Wasn't Being Held Hostage'

Christie was mocked for his demeanor after Trump's Super Tuesday victory speech. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

In a long, rambling statehouse news conference in Trenton that was alternately combative and jocular, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Thursday brushed back questions about his demeanor on Super Tuesday as he stood blankly behind Republican front-runner Donald Trump.  

"No. I wasn't being held hostage," Christie said, pushing back against "armchair psychiatrists." He added that since the Tuesday event was more of a news conference than rally, "I was standing there listening to him." Speaking Thursday shortly after 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney blasted Trump as a "fraud" who is "playing the American public for suckers," Christie said "Mitt Romney is a very, very good friend of mine ... we have a difference of opinion." He refused to blast the former Massachusetts governor but did say "I know much more about [Trump] than Governor Romney does."  

New Hampshire Results Winnow Presidential Field

Christie goes home to reassess campaign. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)

And then there were seven. The results of another presidential nominating contest Tuesday night in New Hampshire brought with them another round of suspended campaigns.  

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced her plans Wednesday afternoon. That announcement came before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told his campaign staff he would do the same. "I've said throughout this campaign that I will not sit down and be quiet. I'm not going to start now," Fiorina said in a post on Facebook . "While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them."  

What We Learned From New Hampshire

Trump passed a big test in New Hampshire but he'll face a bigger one in South Carolina. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and Sen. Bernard Sanders scored big wins in New Hampshire but the campaign for each party's nomination turns south and west, where the real race begins, according to political analysts and strategists Roll Call asked to analyze the Tuesday’s results.  

Here are their takes on what happened on Tuesday and what will happen next in South Carolina and Nevada:  

Going Full Grassley on the Iowa Caucuses

Kasich, left, and Grassley address a rally at the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

WATERLOO, Iowa — Republican candidates learn a lot on the trail when they're competing in Iowa's first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Along with the sanctity of ethanol and the primacy of pork products, they eventually grasp this is Sen. Charles E. Grassley's state. When you run for president here, at some point, Iowa's senior senator will appear alongside you, and everyone knows who he is.  

"I didn't know Grassley was going to show up," said Bill Davidson, a bartender at The Supervisors Club, where the senator was introducing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Davidson sounded impressed, as if the event, being repeated over and over throughout the state in the run-up to Monday's caucuses, had been elevated.  

Before Donald Trump, There Was Maine's Paul LePage

LePage, shown here in 2013, is again garnering national media attention. (John Ewing/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

It's not unusual for Maine Gov. Paul LePage's comments to make national news.  

The two-term Maine Republican has a penchant for speaking off the cuff in a similar tell-it-like-it-is manner as the presidential candidate whom he's endorsed, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.  

GOP Presidential Candidates Make Pitches to Influential Jewish Group

Trump addresses the Republican Jewish Coalition at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on Thursday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Each of the 2016 White House hopefuls made their case to the Republican Jewish Coalition's Presidential Forum on Thursday why they'd be the strongest defender of America's and Israel's national security against the kind of violence seen in San Bernardino, Calif., Wednesday.

Nearly all of the candidates — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was detained by Senate votes and never made it — argued that the incident was an example of the terrorist threat facing America and Israel and proceeded to attack President Barack Obama for not readily using the term "radical Islamic terrorism."  

Ahead of Fourth Debate, Republican Confidence in Bush Falters

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But ahead of the debate, the latest The Economist/YouGov poll shows the percentage of Republicans who think Bush could win the general election falling.  

The poll, released Tuesday, shows only 44 percent of Republicans think Bush could win the general election, regardless of who emerges as the Democratic nominee. That's down from 53 percent from just two weeks ago.  

Party Politics: Washington Watches GOP Candidates Debate

Republican presidential candidates, from left, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Donald Trump listen as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush answers a question at the FOX News-Facebook GOP debate on Thursday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

While the Republican presidential candidates were on stage in Cleveland, several Washington clubs took on the air of sports bars at debate-watch parties scattered across the city.  

Roll Call did the bar crawl and hit those at the National Press Club, the Union Pub and Johnny Pistola's.  

Where GOP White House Hopefuls Stumped in 2014 (Chart)

Roberts, left, campaigned with Cruz, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the myriad Republican presidential contenders start campaigning for 2016, their journeys might not look much different from this cycle.  

From Iowa to New Hampshire, every Republican who is even remotely considering a 2016 bid hit the trail this year to help Senate contenders. What's more, several competitive Senate races are this year conveniently in states that play host to early nominating contests in 2016.