As he considers running for president, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie assured an audience of conservative activists that he will continue to talk tough and fight for his beliefs.
He also said he’s undeterred by the expectations of some political consultants who see former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as the eventual GOP nominee.
Before a gathering Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, the governor emphasized his anti-abortion record, vetoes of tax increases, and efforts to control government spending.
And he brushed aside his national reputation as a bully, which has been fueled by frequent brusque encounters with constituents that wind up as YouTube videos.
Sometimes people need to be told to sit down and shut up, he said.
“You know some more of that stuff should be happening in Washington, D.C., because there’s so much ridiculous stuff being spewed especially out of the White House,” Christie said. “Someone should say it’s time to shut up.”
Christie said standing up for his beliefs would help him maintain a position of strength to negotiate and break the logjam of political distrust in Washington.
“I’ve done that in New Jersey with a Democratic Legislature. So if I decided to do something else with a little more difficult group in Washington D.C., they have to know you’re willing to fight, but you’re willing to talk,” Christie said to applause.
Despite trailing other potential Republican presidential candidates, Christie said he has the ability to connect with voters.
He told a questioner that he’s not bothered by some analysts’ perceptions that the Republican nomination is Bush’s to lose.
“If the elites in Washington who make backroom deals decide who the president is going to be, then he’s definitely the front-runner,” Christie said. “If the people of the United States decide to pick the next president of the United States and they want someone who looks at them in the eye, connects with them, and is one of them, I’ll do OK if I run.”
The audience applauded Christie numerous times during his 20 minute speech and cheered for him as he left the gathering.