New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie kept quiet as his Bridgegate scandal died down, but with three senators in the 2016 presidential campaign he appears ready to vie for the GOP nomination.
Christie said he won’t decide on running for the Oval Office until after June 30, his state’s budget deadline. But he’s been working the ground in New Hampshire with town halls and hand-shaking in diners.
“If I run, I will beat her,” Christie declared on Hugh Hewitt’s show when asked about Hillary Clinton.
States he thinks he could win that Mitt Romney did not? “I think Pennsylvania’s a state that is very much in play. I think New Mexico is a state that’s very much in play. I think the state that I’m in today, New Hampshire, is a state that would be very much in play. And so you know, let’s start off with those three,” he said. “And Colorado, by the way, a fourth, Colorado, would be very much in play.”
Christie stressed that he was re-elected in his home state, which hasn’t elected a Republican to the Senate in 42 years, with 61 percent of the vote, 51 percent of the Hispanic vote, 22 percent of the African-American vote, and 56 percent of women voters.
“Those are the type of numbers we’re going to have to run up across the country to be able to have the type of sweeping victory you want to have to maintain a Republican House and Senate, and have a Republican president. You don’t have to theorize that with me. You’ve seen I’ve done it in what is one of the bluest states in America after governing as a conservative for four years,” he said.
“…We understand that the mainstream media in this country is liberal, and they put forward liberal causes, and they support liberal candidates. And in light of that kind of atmosphere, we’ve elected Ronald Reagan. We’ve elected George Bush 41. We’ve elected George Bush 43. There is no reason we can’t do that when we have the best candidate. We can overcome that. And I’m not going to be one of those people who is going to whine and moan and complain about the media.”
Entitlement reform is the linchpin of Christie’s early campaigning, as he proposes “a modest means test that only affects those with non-Social Security income of over $80,000 dollars a year, and phases out Social Security payments entirely for those that have $200,000 dollars a year in retirement income.”
“These programs were set up to try to prevent poverty. Someone making $200,000 dollars or more is not in danger of being in poverty,” he said.
The payroll tax would be eliminated for anyone who’s working after the age of 62 under Christie’s plan and the retirement age would be raised to 69. “We have to have a reasonable phase in period the same way we have to have a reasonable phase in period for the elevation of the retirement age,” he said.
“I’m going to come forward in the next two months with four major policy addresses like the one I gave today. Today was the first one. And as you saw, it was very direct, very specific, very substantive. The next three topics are going to be on national security and national defense, and taxes and economic policy, and on a national energy policy, because we need to have a national energy policy to confront the issue you discussed, and lots of other issues regarding energy policies going forward. So stay tuned, and we’ll talk about that when we talk about the national energy policy.”
Christie, who predicted that the eventual GOP nominee will be a governor, was asked on NBC this morning if his moment as a serious GOP presidential contender has passed.
“I don’t know and neither do you,” he said. “…I’ve been the frontrunner before. It’s a place where the bull’s-eye is on your back and everybody’s shooting at you. So that’s OK. I’m fine with exactly where I am right now, because I haven’t changed. Because all that other stuff’s artificial. And so the game really begins. And the game hasn’t even come close to beginning.”