Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie did not directly reference the “Bridgegate” scandal swirling around his administration when he spoke at the Conservative Political Action conference in National Harbor, Md. Thursday. However, Christie did have some harsh words for the media in his speech. He also defended two other conservatives who have recently come under attack — the Koch brothers.
Along with touting his efforts to reform the pension system and cut spending in the Garden State, Christie’s speech focused on encouraging Republicans to focus on the conservative economic principles they support and not the things they oppose.
“We’ve got to start talking about what we’re for and not what were against and the reason for that is very very simple,” Christie said. “The reason we have to start talking about what were for and not continuing to rail against what we’re against is because of one simple reason, our ideas are better than their ideas.”
Christie’s remarks were a clear argument for the more moderate positions and attempts at bipartisanship that have distanced him from the conservative base in the past. Last year, in what was widely perceived as a snub, Christie was not invited to speak at CPAC because of unspecified “decisions that he made.” However, in spite of advocating more openness among conservatives, later on in the speech Christie repeatedly referenced his pro-life bonafides. Christie also blamed the media for painting a negative picture of Republicans.
“We have to stop letting the media define who we are and what we stand for,” he said.
After critiquing the media, Christie cracked a joke about his outspoken reputation.
“You know, I’m shy retiring and I don’t like to speak my mind, especially on the media,” said the governor.
While urging Republicans to focus on “the fact that we’re for a free market society,” he contrasted this message with Democratic politicians in Washington whom he characterised as supporting larger government and opposing business. As an example, Christie cited Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s recent attacks on the Koch brothers. Christie challenged Reid to get back to work and stop focusing on the billionaire Republican magadonors.
“What they’re for in Washington D.C. is to have the leader of the Senate Democrats stand up and rail against two American entrepreneurs,” Christie said.
Christie also contrasted his fellow Republican governors from politicians in Washington, D.C. He specifically praised Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Michigan’s Rick Snyder, and Florida’s Rick Scott.
“Republican governors across this country have stood up and done things, not just talked about them,” said Christie. “What you see in Washington is people who only want to talk. They can’t stop talking.”
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