In a speech that was part sentimental reflection and part classic Christie zingers, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today became the 14th hopeful officially seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
Speaking to an audience in his hometown of Livingston, Christie had his wife Mary Pat, who’s a managing director at the Wall Street investment firm Angelo, Gordon & Co, and their four children by his side for the entire speech.
“The last six years we proved not only can you govern this state, you can lead it to a better day and that’s what we’ve done together,” said the second-term governor. “…Americans are not angry. Americans are filled with anxiety. They are filled with anxiety because they look to Washington, D.C., and they see a government that not only doesn’t work anymore, it doesn’t even talk to each other anymore. It doesn’t even try to pretend to work anymore.”
“We have a president in the oval office who ignores the Congress and a Congress that ignores the president. We need a government in Washington, D.C., that remembers you went there to work for us, not the other way around.”
Christie, who was blasted by a reporter for New Jersey’s biggest paper as a “liar” on the day of his announcement, told the audience “both parties have failed our country.”
“Both parties have stood in the corner and held their breath and waited to get their own way, both parties have led us to believe that in America, a country that was built on compromise, that somehow now compromise is a dirty word,” he said. “If Washington and Adams and Jefferson believed compromise is a dirty word we’d still be under the crown of England.”
He reassured his supporters that “anxiety can be swept away by strong leadership and decisiveness to lead America again.”
Christie, who will be largely focusing his campaign message on entitlement reform, noted “we have candidates who have said we can’t confront this because if we do, we’ll be lying and stealing from the American people.”
“Let me fill everybody else in. The lying and stealing has already happened,” he said. “The horse is out of the barn. We’ve got to get it back in. You can only do it by force.”
Christie made references to foreign policy, stressing “if we’re going to lead, we have to stop worrying about being loved and start caring about being respected again, both at home and around the world.”
“I am not running for president of the United States as a surrogate for being elected prom king of America. I am not looking to be the most popular guy who looks in your eyes every day and tries to figure out what you want to hear, say it and then turn around and do something else. When I stand up on a stage like this in front of all of you, there is one thing you will know for sure. I mean what I say, and I say what I mean, and that’s what America needs right now,” he said.
“And unlike some people who offer themselves for the presidency in 2016, you’re not going to have to wonder whether I can do it or not.”
He promised a campaign “without spin or without pandering or focus group-tested answers.”
“You’re going to get what I think, whether you like it or not or whether it makes you cringe every once in a while or not,” he said. “A campaign when I’m asked a question, I’m going to give the answer to the question that’s asked, not the answer that my political consultants told me to give backstage. A campaign that, every day, will not worry about what is popular but what is right, because what is right is what will fix America, not what’s popular.”
“…If you give me the privilege to be your president, I will wake up every day not only with my heart strong and my mind sharp, but with my ears open and my arms open to welcome the American people no matter what party, no matter what race or creed or color, to make sure that you know that this is your country, too. We are going to go and win this election and I love each and every one of you.”