WEST DES MOINES — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told an Iowa crowd last night he will bring blunt, straight talk to fill a leadership void in Washington and give the country hope again if he decides to seek the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.
“Leadership matters,” Christie told about 100 Republicans who turned out for a Dallas County fundraiser at a suburban hotel to hear the New Jersey governor who made his third Iowa appearance within a month and his 13th trip overall. He met privately with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds before attending the fundraiser.
Christie, 52, in his second term as New Jersey’s chief executive, said he used executive actions to address a budget deficit in his home state that has produced positive results despite opposition from a Democrat-controlled Legislature and he wants to turn his sights on Washington to cut spending, spur economic growth, and reform taxes.
He blamed Obama and lawmakers from both parties in Congress for a “deplorable lack of leadership” in the nation’s capital.
Of the president, Christie said “he appears to be a man in a dark room struggling up against the wall looking for a light switch of leadership. Now, everybody, he hasn’t found that light switch in six years and he’s not going to find it in these last two.”
The New Jersey governor said Obama has weakened American stature abroad, saying “when America pulls back, bad people with bad intentions fill that void,” and he criticized the president and Congress for failing to ignite economic progress that would bolster the middle class.
“What we need, in my opinion, in this country more than anything else is some blunt, direct straight talk to fix big problems that we’ve been avoiding for too long because we care too much about the comfort of people’s feelings than about telling the truth and fixing the problems that need to be fixed,” he said.
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Christie likened his style to former GOP President Ronald Reagan in that people would always know what he stood for and where he would stand on issues. He said he’s been told he’s too blunt for Iowa, but he noted “every time I’ve been here I’ve been met by some very blunt folks.”
Christie’s Iowa trip was greeted with some push back from Democrats.
“After a rough week spent abroad, hiding from reporters, tripping over his anti-vaccine comments, and enjoying the luxuries of another trip abroad, Chris Christie tried and failed to shake off his bad headlines by visiting Iowa,” said Jason Pitt, spokesman at the Democratic National Committee.
“What the governor doesn’t understand is that a million visits to Dallas County will never erase his record of giving $5 billion in tax giveaways to big corporations, New Jersey’s rising property taxes — already the highest in the nation, or overseeing New Jersey’s sluggish job creation,” he added.