West Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie displayed his trademark call-'em-like-he-sees-'em manner Wednesday, veering from brash to emotional at a public rally for Mitt Romney.
The popular Republican politician endorsed Romney in October after an extended flirtation with party heavyweights as he considered his own run for the White House.
Minutes into Christie's speech at the Kum & Go headquarters in West Des Moines, he was interrupted by protesters from the Occupy Iowa Caucus movement who had scattered throughout the audience and began to chant.
Christie matched up his famous gruffness against the vocal group, some of whom were wearing Romney stickers and were standing onstage behind the governor.
"You're so angry, aren't you," he said as the activists angrily chanted. "Work it all out.... You know what, we're used to dealing with jokers like this in New Jersey all the time."
Some supporters tangled with the protesters, who continued to chant, "Put people first!" as they were escorted from the building by police.
"I hope you all enjoyed it," Christie told the audience. "They'll be working at the Marriott down the street. Please remember to tip your waiters and waitresses, all right?"
After the protesters were gone, Christie said blame for the Occupy Wall Street movement's anger lay with President Barack Obama.
"They represent an anger in our country that Barack Obama has caused because he is a typical, cynical, Chicago ward politician who runs for office and promises everything and then comes to office and disappoints," he said.
Minutes later, Christie turned warmly personal after a voter asked him to share a personal story about Romney.
Christie told the audience when Romney had come to solicit his support in October, the former Massachusetts governor had made a special effort to connect with Christie's four children.
Christie said watching Romney convinced him of the politician's "extraordinary heart."
"I saw him interacting with my kids in a way that was not showing off for me - natural," Christie said. "It was a really powerful moment for me."
Some voters were clearly nursing a soft spot for Christie, who decided not to run for president in October. At times Wednesday he sounded like he was running for something, as he talked about his beliefs and said he felt a close kinship to Iowans.
"New Jersey and Iowa are a lot more alike than people would think," he told the audience. "You're all very direct. There's not a lot of baloney coming from Iowans."
"I will always just be who I am, and I will tell you exactly who I am," he added.
One voter asked Christie if he would consider being Romney's vice president. Christie gave his now standard reply, telling the audience not to bet on it but said he wouldn't preemptively decline something he had not been asked.
Christie was also asked about whether he would have accepted a debate invitation from real estate mogul Donald Trump.
"I'd have a hard time saying no because Donald would just never speak to me again," Christie said, who called Trump an old friend.
But he said he thought Romney was smart to focus on meeting with people in early voting states instead.
On his way out the door, Christie told a reporter he was not concerned by polls that showed Newt Gingrich surging in Iowa. A CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday showed Gingrich leading Romney in the state, 33% to 20%.
"Lots of people have surged in the polls out here. I wasn't concerned about Michele Bachmann or Herman Cain or Rick Perry, either," Christie said. "Mitt Romney is the steady, mature leader we need for our party and for our country."