Gov. Chris Christie is back on the town hall trail amid a swirling controversy about political revenge by his administration.
In his first town hall of his second term in Middletown, N.J., Christie did not address the Bridgegate scandal that has cast a shadow on his tenure and dampened his 2016 presidential prospects.
At least one audience member showed her displeasure, although Christie did not acknowledge her sign.
But the famously brusque governor did take questions on Superstorm Sandy aid, family law reforms, and other issues.
During the mostly somber event, the most lighthearted moment came when a veteran requested that Christie, a famous superfan of Bruce Springsteen, destroy his CDs.
"He's not a friend of yours, governor," the man said.
"I don't do drugs, I don't drink, this is it for me," Christie joked. "I still live in hope that someday - even as he gets older and older, he's going to wake up and go, like, 'eh, he's a good guy. He's alright.'"
Christie also joked about his weight, when a woman told him that he was "looking good."
"Rome wasn't unbuilt in a day," he said.
He showed some of his trademark rough edges at one point, using the phrase "no bulls**t" while bantering with a complimentary questioner who had used the same words.
Despite no mention of his former aides' closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge to create traffic for political payback, the controversy followed Christie to Port Monmouth nonetheless.
NBC's Steve Wende contributed to this report.
*Correction* An earlier version of this story stated that Christie took questions only from pre-registered attendees. All attendees, including members of the public, were eligible to ask questions. Pre-registration was for later sessions with cabinet members after the town hall, not Christie's Q-and-A session. Participants were invited to pre-register so that staff could gauge interest in the event and plan accordingly.
First published February 20 2014, 9:54 AM