New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie officially entered Monday in what is an already crowded field of Republican presidential candidates. His rollout, including a Jersey-esque slogan “Telling It Like It Is,” focused on his family roots, the economy, and Washington gridlock.
— James Beattie (@JamesGBeattie) June 30, 2015
Christie made the announcement from his high school in Livingston, N.J., Tuesday beside his wife Mary Pat and his four children – Andrew, Sarah, Patrick, and Bridget. “I had to come home, and Livingston is home for me,” Christie said.
The second-term governor acknowledged his brother and sister, Todd and Dawn, and his parents, who were both raised by single mothers.
The New Jersey governor also cited his time as U.S. attorney. “That fight has not made me more weary. It has made me stronger, and I am now ready to fight for the people of the United States of America,” he said.
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Christie touted his accomplishments in reforming the Garden State public worker pension and benefit system, as well as reforming teacher tenure, two hotly contested issues.
The governor said that in the past year, he visited 37 states and argued that Americans “are not angry” but “filled with anxiety.” He added: “The president doesn’t talk to Congress and the Congress doesn’t talk to the president.”
We have to do it together; we have no choice but to work together. This country has no choice but to work together again, not against each other.
This statement could be perceived as a jab at some of the other Republican candidates in the race already serving in Washington, including Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Christie also called for 4 percent economic growth. “We gotta get this country growing again,” he told the friendly crowd. “We have an economy that is weak.”
We need a tax code that is simplified and will put CPAs like my dad outta business.
Turning his attention to foreign policy, Christie said that after seven years of the Obama administration, President Obama “lives in his own world, not our world.” He also took a jab at the former secretary of State:
After seven years of a feckless foreign policy, we better not turn it over to his second mate Hillary Clinton… We better stop caring about being loved and start caring about being respected.
Christie’s campaign released this video ahead of the announcement:
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Matt Rooney, a family-law attorney and editor of Save Jersey–one of the most widely rest conservative websites in the Garden State–applauded Christie’s showing today but contended he has a lot more to do if he is to get back in the mix. “The country is learning that he’s the best retail politician since Bill Clinton. Love him or hate him, the guy can give a speech,” Rooney said. “Most of what your average outside New Jersey primary voter has seen, to date, is sound bites.” Rooney, who has followed the governor since his time at Rutgers Law School, was “surprised” by Christie’s decision to make the speech jersey-centric. “It’s risky because New Jersey is not in good financial condition, and the state’s brand nationally is not the best. But he appears prepared to live and die on his record,” he noted. One person following the speech put into context what that means:
While the RealClearPolitics average has Christie polling in the single digits, Rooney expects the governor to get a bump–but points out the stakes are higher for him, as opposed to former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina:
She doesn’t have his name recognition but she also doesn’t have negatives among prospective GOP voters that rival Trump’s. One recent poll found more than 50 percent of primary voters not willing to consider voting for Christie before the general election. It’s harder to change minds than make a first impression.
Christie will also have to answer for Bridgegate, the scandal in which a former high-level staffer allegedly ordered lanes on the Fort Lee, N.J., side of the George Washington Bridge to be closed going into New York, allegedly because the town’s mayor did not endorse the governor for his reelection bid.
If you would like to watch the entire announcement, here it is:
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