Today marks New Jersey Governor Chris Christie‘s big test.

If he wants go anywhere in the presidential race, he must do well in New Hampshire. If he wants to do well in New Hampshire, he must do well on the ground. If he wants to do well on the ground in New Hampshire, then he must perform well at his favorite type of event: the town hall meeting.

Today in Londonderry, Christie will hold his first town hall meeting in the state. The stakes are big: This will either spark his comeback tour – or he will be resigned to the middle of the pack for months, perhaps through the primary, if he decides to run.

Does this mean there need to be a YouTube moment in this town hall? No. Does he need to win dozens of voters at the event? No, it is too early for that. But he must invoke a good feeling from the audience to make sure they are open to voting for him.

There’s just one more catch: With hordes of national press arriving for the big GOP conference this weekend in Nashua, whatever Christie does in Londonderry – win or fail -– will be amplified.

Shameless Plug: I will be talking questions about the presidential race on The Boston Globe’s Facebook page today at 3:30pm EST. Here is the link.

New Hampshire

The Boston Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan reports from the trail with Christie yesterday in Manchester:  “Looking to reinforce the image of an unvarnished truth-teller from outside Washington, potential presidential candidate and New Jersey GovernorChris Christie rolled out an entitlement restructuring blueprint Tuesday that he said would save more than $1 trillion over 10 year.”

Christie speaks bluntly about foreign policy at Newmarket stop in the Portsmouth Herald: “‘A strong leader in the White House will make sure our adversaries, whether it’s the mullahs in Iran, whether it’s the terrorists in ISIS or whether it’s Vladimir Putin in Russia, understands that there is a line you cannot cross with America,’” [Chris] Christie said.

N.H. Congressional Delegation Wants More Time To Respond To Northern Pass Draft, via NH Public Radio: They’re “asking the federal Department of Energy to extend the time the public has before commenting on what is expected to be a voluminous environmental impact report on the proposed Northern Pass power transmission project.”

Balsams bill expected to be amended again in The Concord Monitor: “The bill, which has major implications on a plan to restore and expand the Balsams resort in Dixville Notch, passed the Senate last month. It would allow the state to create economic development districts in unincorporated places like Dixville Notch.”

Pataki criticizes GOP’s focus on social issues via CNN: “George Pataki will air a TV commercial this week in New Hampshire chastising fellow Republicans for focusing on social issues instead of addressing economic and foreign policy challenges facing the nation.”


The Boston Globe’s Annie Linskey in Iowa for Hillary Clinton’s first ground-level campaign swing: “Hillary Clinton said she would support a constitutional amendment to ban ‘unaccountable money’ in political campaigns at a campaign stop in IowaTuesday that featured a large contingent of journalists but few actual Iowans.”

In Iowa, Hillary Clinton lays out big vision for her campaign, via The Des Moines Register: “Clinton hit on points that catered to the liberal base in Iowa, saying the economy has improved, but ‘it’s fair to say the deck is still stacked in favor of those already at the top. There’s something wrong with that. There’s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the typical worker.'”

Embattled Branstad appointees confirmed by Senate via The Cedar Rapids Gazette: “Iowa senators voted Tuesday to confirm four of Gov. Terry Branstad’s more-controversial appointees, including two closely associated with the decisions to eventually close two of the state’s mental health institutes in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda and to close the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo last year.”

Norwalk watch – where Hillary Clinton is going today – via KCCI: Lawmaker apologizes, ‘embarrassed’ over school funding holdup. “Districts across the state are required to turn in preliminary budgets Wednesday, but the standoff at the statehouse continues to keep school officials in flux about how much money they can spend.” Norwalk’s superintendent is quoted.

South Carolina

The State Poll: Scott Walker edging Jeb Bush in SC primary: “[Scott] Walker holds a slight lead over former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in a Winthrop University poll released on Wednesday. Bush, Walker and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Grahamhave each led in three previous S.C. surveys this year from other pollsters.””Graham was fourth in the Winthrop poll of 956 likely GOP voters. The Seneca Republican finished between Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.”

Union might postpone vote seeking to organize Boeing’s South Carolina plant. via Reuters: “Labor union officials say they could postpone a vote seeking to organize 3,000 workers at Boeing Co’s factory here in South Carolina if their campaign fails to gain enough traction against fierce opposition from the company and local politicians.”

National Headlines

The Boston Globe’s Matt Viser: With Clinton e-mail mess, Kerry faces balancing act

The Washington Post: Kelley Paul’s trail advice to husband Rand: Soften up and share

The New York Times: In Perception Primary, It’s Folksy Hillary Clinton vs. Statesmen-Looking Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio

The New York Times: Christie Blames ‘Trusting’ Nature for Bridge Scandal

Bloomberg Politics: Jeb Bush Says He Will ‘Never’ Speak Ill of Marco Rubio

Buzzfeed: Inside The White House’s War On The Left Over Trade

CNN Politics: Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street dilemma

Politico: Heritage Action to score 2016 candidates

Follow @BostonGlobe‘s #FITN and 2016 team: @JamesPindell, @Akjohnson1922,@JOSreports, @MViser, @AnnieLinskey, @GlobeRowland, @GlobeKranish,@ShiraCenter and @FeliceBelman

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