See the video of Christie’s speech below this post and for a complete transcript of the speech, click here.
On Tuesday evening, after delivering a keynote address on “Real American exceptionalism” for the Reagan Foundation at the Reagan Library, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie definitively any speculation about his entering 2012 presidential race as a presidential candidate.
The speech Christie gave was a plain-spoken, smooth flowing, hard-hitting, presentation that demonstrated the wealth of endless potential that could be unleashed in America by combining Republican principles with the type of frank and honest leadership that comes only from people of true integrity. Christie argued his case for the awesome power of the two when combined, by linking the history of Reagan Republicanism and Reagan’s leadership, to Obama socialism and Obama’s lack of leadership. He then essentially described how the two means do not lead to the same end. He made this point further by also contrasting between what is getting done in New Jersey under his management, with what is or isn’t getting done in Washington, DC under President Obama’s mismanagement.
The speech was, to use a phrase that Christie used, “a parable of principle“, which offered a roadmap to true American exceptionalism. As for the details of the speech, I am intentionally leaving them out. That is because I wish not to deprive anyone of the opportunity to hear them or read them yourself, in Christie’s own words. Hence the reason for the video and transcript provided for you within this post.
What I will tell you is that some of the most entertaining and heartfelt moments came during the brief question and answer period once the speech was over.
It was then that Christie laced his honesty with a unique mix of Jersey-style bluntness and endearing humor to stake out some well received positions and make viewers also understand why so many want him to seek the Republican nomination for President.
On that topic, while a Christie candidacy was first foremost on the minds of all who were listening, it was not the first question asked upon completion of Christie’s keynote address. The first question was on illegal immigration and his thoughts on in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. In his answer, Christie explained that while he believes that our borders must be secured, he did not believe that states and taxpayers had any responsibility to subsidize illegal immigrants. And going a step further, the never shy New Jersey Governor took a swipe at Texas Governor Rick Perry. “And I don’t think that’s heartless. I think it’s common sense”, said Christie.
The second question for the Governor came from a man who asked The Governor if he was considering a run for President. To this Christie joked, that he was disappointed in the audience gathered before him. He said that for that to be the second question and not the first, showed him that they were not demonstrating America exceptionalism. He continued by explaining that he was not running and cited a video prepared by Politico.com as the best and most explanatory answer he could offer. The video spliced together a dozen or so different interviews from the past year in which Christie stated that he is not running and why.
But almost immediately following that answer, a questioner from the balcony was given the mic. This person did not ask a question. In very heartfelt terms, she instead made a request of the Governor and said “Please reconsider. We can’t wait till 2016. Your Country needs you”. To this Christie explained that he understood but he joked that while he is flattered and that while no politician’s ego is so small that they would demand people stop asking them to become the leader of the free world, he must keep answering “no”. He went on to say ,“I’m just a kid from Jersey who feels like I’m the luckiest guy in the world to have the opportunity that I have to be the governor of my state.” He added “That heartfelt message you gave me is also not a reason for me to do it. That reason has to reside inside me.”
Christie’s appearance at the Reagan Library was truly powerful and ironically, he sounded like a presidential candidate. He subtly drew similarities between his leadership as a Governor and Ronald Reagan’s as a President. He also aggressively, but appropriately tore apart President Obama and successfully used the President’s own words against him. And he even took a shot at someone who would be opposing him if he were to run in the Republican primary. That combined with the sudden public leaks and comments involving what was the most recent flurry of speculation about Christie and the presidency, I have come to believe that history will reveal that in late September of 2011, New Jersey Governor Christopher J. Christie was about to run for President of the United States. But at the last minute, [fill in the blank] was the determining factor that caused him to change his mind and not announce his candidacy. Remember, you heard it here first.
That view may or may not be confirmed but upon the conclusion of Christie’s appearance at the Reagan Library, there are two things we all now know with certainty. One is that Chris Christie is authentic. He is the real deal. Love him or hate him, you can rest assured that you are loving or hating the real Chris Christie. The other thing that we now know definitively is that Chris Christie is not running for President in 2012. Vice President is another story that we will begin to write about after we finish the chapter that reveals who the presidential nominee is. So now, the only big name left available for speculation is Sarah Palin.
On a last note, I would like to make a personal admission.
As a resident of New Jersey who for the last twenty months has been living under the rule of Governor Christie, after listening to him at the Reagan Library last night, I can honestly tell you that for the first time in the fifteen years that this Brooklyn boy has lived the Garden State, I am proud to call it home, and for the for the first time in my life, I am truly proud to tell people who my Governor is.