Fresh off his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., New Jersey Governor Chris Christie put out the call to California Republicans gathered in Sacramento this weekend to hold off on uniting behind one candidate for 2016, but telling the crowd, “If you’re ready to fight with me, everybody… I will fight with you.”
Two days after Christie slammed potential 2016 presidential nominee Jeb Bush at CPAC for elitism, the governor appeared at California’s Spring Republican Party convention. Heralding his own work and passion to fight for the next generation, Christie quoted California’s own former Governor and past U.S. President,Ronald Reagan. The message appeared to be a continued attempt to differentiate himself and lay the groundwork for his potential presidential run.
Christie touted his effort to work with unlikely partners. He referred to his “quiet” negotiations with the teachers union in New Jersey, over the span of five months, to solve pension health benefit problems in New Jersey.
At CPAC, Christie pointed out his record of winning despite contrary odds in response to radio host Laura Ingraham’s question about his low position in current presidential polls.
Continuing the argument, Christie said to Californians at the Republican convention, “As a conservative in a blue state, I went from 48 percent of the vote in my first election in a three way race to 61 percent of the vote in my re-election. That’s how you build trust, that’s how you build confidence, that’s how you bring a country together — not divide us the way this President has done so profoundly over the last six years.”
“Our influence as a nation is in decline.” Christie declared in an alarming message for America. “We are being challenged by China. We are being embarrassed by Russia. And we seem hapless in the Middle East. Our adversaries don’t fear our resolve. Our allies are no longer confident in us.”
Christie called Obama’s actions encouraging a boycott of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress “a national disgrace.”
“The American people are ready for a fight,” the governor said.
“I’ve traveled around the country 106,000 miles in the last year, and I’ve learned one thing: We’re much more similar than we are different,” Christie stated.
“Above all, we want to be happy,” he said, before citing Reagan’s 1980 acceptance speech and asking the crowd to “fight for our country.” Christie continued that most great heroes of the conservative movement are gone and that “It’s now up to us. There is no one else, but us.”
“I do not fight just for the sake of fighting. I am passionate about the people in my state, about their future and about whether or not I can make their lives a little bit better than they were yesterday.”
Christie referred to himself as a proud, conservative Republican.
“Over the next few months you will see article after article arguing that our party can’t afford a long nomination battle. We need to pick a nominee as soon as possible. That we have to unite behind whichever candidate appears to have the most money, or the most endorsements, or the best press coverage, but I want you to remember, George H. W. Bush fought Ronald Reagan for that nomination until May of 1980. Hillary Clinton fought Barack Obama until June of 2008, mere months before the general election. Take a deep breathe everybody, we are 21 months away from electing our next president,” Christie posited.
“It’s our party, it’s our movement, it’s our country. Don’t be afraid to trust yourselves with power. Don’t be afraid to see the leader who will listen to you and who will tell you the truth in return,” Christie implored the crowd.
“If you’re ready to fight with me, everybody, to restore American greatness, I will fight with you for the kind of America we will be proud to leave our children. Then and only then will we have truly earned our place in the honor roll of American history,” Christie closed.
Breitbart summarized Christie’s overarching message at CPAC with the words, “I am not an elite.” Christie called Jeb Bush the candidate of the elites at the DC conference. When pushed by Ingraham on immigration, he argued for focus rather on American people and workers first. He has more than once appeared to dodge questions that would force him to take a solid stance on the subject of illegal immigration.
Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity announced that Chris Christie was the only prospective 2016 presidential candidate at CPAC who wouldn’t grant him an interview. Continuing the tradition, just two days later, a media schedule for the CRP spring convention listed Christie as “PRESS AVAILABILITY: No Press Availability with Governor Chris Christie following the event.”
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