strong>BEDFORD, N.H. — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie scaled back his explicit attacks on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and instead needled Donald Trump in advance of Saturday's presidential debate.

Flanked by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Christie told a standing-room-only crowd gathered in a frigid warehouse that "showtime is over, it's game time."

"We got a debate tonight here in New Hampshire — I am so thrilled and happy that none of you people, I appreciate your restraint, none of you people made enough fun of Donald Trump to make him not come tonight," Christie said. "He's going to actually show up. Very excited about that to have Donald back. All the rest of us will be there to welcome him with open arms, we're really happy that he'll be back tonight.

The governor then compared the U.S. Senate to a grade school in a veiled shot at Rubio and Cruz.

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