DERRY, N.H. -- In the world of New Hampshire politics, Donald Trump crashed the proverbial party Wednesday, elbowing his way into Derry and stealing a little of Jeb Bush's thunder by scheduling his own campaign event at precisely the same time as Bush's, just 20 minutes away.
He addressed a raucous, overflow crowd at a town hall at the Pinkerton Academy and took the opportunity to reiterate his immigration plan, which is already causing consternation in some Republican circles.
"You know what's happening to Jeb's crowd down the street?" Trump asked, referring to the former governor of Florida. "Sleeping." The crowd burst out laughing.
The event inaugurated a new phase of the Trump candidacy, in the wake of the release of his first policy paper detailing how he would tackle undocumented immigration. The plan called for a wall on the Southern border, the withholding of remittance payments from undocumented workers and ending birthright citizenship.
Trump brushed aside accusations that his immigration plan was mean-spirited in a press conference before the speech.
"I don't think I'm mean spirited, we have to get back our country," Trump said. "It's based on laws. These are illegal -- Now, people like to say 'undocumented,' because that's politically correct. I don't say that -- people came in illegally. Some are excellent, wonderful. But they have to go out. They have to come in legally. We can even expedite the process. I think that's fine. I like that."
The Mexican Foreign Ministry released a statement Wednesday condemning Trump's immigration plan, saying, "Anyone who understands the depth of the U.S.-Mexico relationship realizes that those proposals are not only prejudiced and absurd, but would be detrimental to the well-being of both societies"
"Well, they have to say that," Trump said. "I have a great relationship with the Mexican people. They buy my apartments. But If I'm running Mexico I'm saying the same thing."
Trump also reiterated his call to end birthright citizenship -- repeatedly referring to children born to undocumented parents as "anchor babies."
"A woman is going to have a baby," Trump said. "They wait on the border. Just before the baby, they come over to the border. They have the baby in the United States. We now take care of that baby. Social Security, Medicare, education. Give me a break. It doesn't work that way. The parents have to come in legally."
Trump gave what, for Donald Trump, would be considered a typical stump speech. It was a meandering labyrinth of criticisms of currently elected officials ("Our leaders are babies!"), his own prowess ("I went to the Wharton School of Finance!"), the negotiations that brought back Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl ("a dirty rotten traitor"), a reference to puppets ("Bing bang, bing bang!") and a reminder of his wealth ("I don't need anybody's money. I don't want anybody's money.")
He was then peppered with questions from the audience, which repeatedly hooted and hollered throughout his speech. In one of Trump's references to Bush (most of which were met with jeers), one man yelled out, "Isn't Jeb sinking to the bottom of the Winnipesaukee right now?" (Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in New Hampshire.) To which Trump replied, "My group! These are my people!"
He mocked those who said that the Mexican government couldn't pay for the southern wall he wants built.
"Three thousand years ago, the Great Wall of China was built, right?" Trump said. "We'd like to have that wall -- that wall, nobody gets through. That wall is 13,000 miles, right? It did take them 500 years, in all fairness."
He added that it could even be named the Trump Wall.
After, the speech, Trump walked to a separate room to address an overflow crowd -- to its delight -- before going outdoors and addressing those who couldn't even get into the overflow room. Cameramen and spectators alike tussled to get near Trump as security guards struggled to keep them at bay.
When Trump was asked how he expected the to pay for his immigration plan, given that analysts say it could cost nearly $200 billion, Trump told CBS News, "They don't know what they're talking about. They don't negotiate like Trump."
"I like the fact that he will tell you what he thinks, whether or not he thinks it's what you want to hear," said 58-year-old John Washburn, an attorney from nearby Merrimack. "This was the most lively crowd I've seen. He does get the crowd whipped up."
Some audience members were still undecided.
"It's between him and Ben Carson right now," said 19-year-old Zach Davis, of Townsend, Massachusetts. Davis is enlisting in the military in two weeks "I thought [Trump] was pretty good. I don't think he's Ben Carson, though."
As more polls have emerged in recent weeks showing Trump solidifying his support among Republicans, Trump gave no sign that he was going to cede the spotlight.
"I'm not going anywhere, folks," Trump said to reporters before he took the stage as a number of audience members in the packed house yelled his name, demanding he come on stage.
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