Christie: Our Country Can’t Take Anymore ‘Self-Important,’ ‘Purist’ Politicians

Tuesday in Orlando at the Florida Economic Growth Summit, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) said our country can not take the “self-important,” “purists” in Washington D.C. never compromising.

Christie said the greatest political advice he ever got was when a colleague told him, “It’s much harder to hate up close.” He explained you have to do the hard work to get to know your political opponent’s goals, beliefs, families and hopes, because only then can you can compromise with them and get things done.”

Christie said  “It’s much harder to hate up close. When we are standing at opposite ends of the Capitol and putting out press releases and going to press conferences calling each other names and all the rest of it, it’s easy to hate. When we are sitting in a room together and I know your two children, and I know one of them is going to be a teacher and one is studying to be a doctor. When I know where they are in college. When I know what your wife’s birthday is. When I know when you’re having a tough time and I pick up the phone and give you a call and say ‘that press was really lousy yesterday, hang in there, it will be fine, you’ll get past it.’  You know when you have those kind of relationships and you’re sitting in a room, it’s much harder to hate the other person. It’s much harder to say no to them when they ask you to do them a favor. It’s much harder for them to say no when they ask for a favor. That’s called compromise and governing. In our political system today in Washington we have made that a dirty word. You have all these folks, it’s a dirty word in Congress, we see that going on right now in Washington—people standing up blocking things, giving endless speeches, being self important. Not letting the business of governing happen.”

He continued, “That’s the job of an executive—whether you are a governor or a president—is to develop those relationships, spend that time, be willing to comprise and to understand that if you pull sixty percent of what you want off the table you are a winner not a loser, and we have lost that sense.”

He explained we can’t “stand in the corner and hold our breath,” if you can’t get all you want.

“Now there are some purists in our party who say absolutely not!” he said. “You should say no to all of it. Stand your ground until they give in. But I’m not going to live to be 200. These are finite periods of time. So that’s the attitude you need to have to govern. No matter whether the Congress is all Republican, all Democratic, or split for whomever the next president is, it’s not going to matter. That formula is indispensable to success, no matter what the configuration of Congress will be. And they will wait for the president to lead. In the absence of presidential leadership, there will be gridlock and inertia, and our country can’t take anymore of that.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN