Chris Christie turns the spotlight on voters at GOP debate

Some voters may have tuned into Wednesday's Republican debate hoping to see the giant field of contenders ripping each other apart on stage.

Chris Christie, never one to shy away from a fight, nonetheless tried a different approach. He told "CBS This Morning" he wanted "really to focus on the problems so that people were actually watching the debate, rather than focus on the arguments of all the people at the debate."

In his introduction in Wednesday's meeting of the Republican field, the New Jersey governor asked that the cameras turn away from him to the audience gathered at the Ronald Reagan Library in California. And Christie maintained his strategy of focusing on the voters throughout the night, stressing three times that it was all "about the voters."

The governor criticized what he called a "typical personal food fight" between opponents Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina, who went back-and-forth attacking each other's business records.

"They were going tit-for-tat with each other. That adds nothing to people's knowledge about what kind of president you would be," he said, adding that the "regular middle folks" in the country should be the main concern of the campaign rather than "who made more money at what job."

GOP debate's winners and losers

But the governor struggled to steal the spotlight from his opponents and wasn't able to say much, especially in the 32-minute stretch when he was not asked a single question.

Christie downplayed the significance of the "silent treatment," brushing it off as 'the most boring 32 minutes in the debate" and said he tried to capitalize the time he had by talking about the "people's issues."

Calling himself an "outsider," as a Republican governor of a majority Democratic state, Christie also distinguished himself from his GOP opponents by likening himself to the voters and saying he understood their concerns very well.

"They want to hear about what you want to do to try to make government work for them," he said. "They're frustrated, they're angry about the fact that the government doesn't work, and I wanted to try last night to address them directly," he said.