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GOP's Christie on low polls: I need strong Iowa, NH

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, struggling in national polls, said Wednesday he's not worried yet because the campaign has only just begun. "If election day were October 1, I'd be worried," he added.

Using a football metaphor, the New Jersey governor said, "We finished Week 3 of the NFL. We have to go through the rest of the regular season, all the playoffs, and expect for the Super Bowl, before anybody votes."

He told CNBC's "Squawk Box" he needs a strong showing in the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, the first two contests of the nominating process, to feel he has a shot.

In the RealClear Politics polling aggregator, Christie was in eighth place in the latest period with 3.4 percent support.

That's a far cry from billionaire Donald Trump's 23.4 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson's 17 percent, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina's 11.6 percent.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush were neck and neck at 9.6 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was at 6.2 percent, while Ohio Gov. John Kasich was at 3.6 percent.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at 2.4 percent was the only other candidate with more than 1 percent support.

Christie said he's most surprised by Carson's surge in the polls, because "he's a much more low-key presence," but he's "obviously very bright."

Trump's frontrunner status at this point makes sense since he's such a big star, Christie said. "Let's just relax" things take time to shake out, he urged. "Donald Trump's only been in the race for what, 90 days. ... That would be a massive implosion."

As for Fiorina, Christie said her Hewlett-Packard career and her time at Lucent were mixed at best. "I don't necessarily know how that qualifies [her] to be president of the United States. But we'll see."

Christie said his fundraising efforts have been boosted by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's recent exit from the GOP race. Any narrowing of the crowded field is a good thing for candidates to get their messages out, he added.

The next time voters hear from the leading GOP candidates on the national debate stage will be at the CNBC-sponsored event on Oct. 28.

As for last week's shocking resignation announcement by House Speaker John Boehner, Christie said it shows how frustrated Americans are with the do-nothing Congress.

Commenting on the Democratic presidential race, the New Jersey governor said the Clintons play for keeps.

Hillary Clinton's run is their "last chance to get free public housing again" in the White House, he said. "And they're going to work as hard as they can to get it."

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