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Christie Presidential Run Speculation Continues After L.A. Speech

Jenny Chen |
September 27, 2011 | 7:47 p.m. PDT

Associate News Editor


 Creative Commons)
Creative Commons)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivered the “Perspectives on Leadership Forum” at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Tuesday in Simi Valley, Calif.

Christie took the stage offering his opinion on what the next president would need to have in order to turn America back into a leader on the world stage.

In response to the night’s theme of searching for the next Ronald Reagan, Christie said it was time for what he called “Real American Exceptionalism” to return.

“If we are to reach real American exceptionalism, American exceptionalism that can set an example for freedom around the world, we must lead with purpose,” Christie said. “Unfortunately, through our own domestic political conduct of late, we have failed to live up to our own tradition of exceptionalism.”

In an attack on President Barack Obama’s leadership style, Christie said that dividing the nation for re-election is not a “leadership style” but a re-election one.  

Insisting that we must tax and take and demonize those who have already achieved the American Dream - that may turn out to be a good re-election strategy for President Obama, but is a demoralizing message for America,” Christie said.

The big question of the night was whether or not Christie would announce his bid for the 2012 presidential race.

Republican leaders and citizens have urged him to run against Obama, but Christie insists he needs more experience.

“I know without ever having met President Reagan, that he must have felt deeply in his heart that he was called to that moment to lead our country,” Christie said, in response to an attendee imploring him to reconsider. 

His reaction is a confusing one amidst conflicting reports of whether or not he will change his previous stance. Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, a longtime friend of Christie, said he was “very seriously considering a presidential bid."   Christie’s brother, on the other hand, said he would not run.

As governor of New Jersey, Christie has reduced the size of government, cut spending, eliminated regulations and reduced taxes.

Christie took this opportunity to contrast his ideal of the next Ronald Reagan with Obama, arguing that the president was no longer the individual who pledged against political division in 2004.

 “Ronald Reagan was a man who said what he meant and meant what he said,” Christie said, citing the former president’s ability to keep his word as an example of real leadership.

As America strives to find its footing again on the world stage following its economic downturn, it must also deal with the issues media brings upon it. America, however, no longer have the luxury of resolving its domestic issues without outsider input.

“One of the most powerful forms of foreign policy is the example we set,” Christie said, before urging the nation to follow his example in using leadership and compromise to take action. “You see, without strong leadership at home, without our domestic house in order, we are taking ourselves out of the equation. Over and over, we are allowing the rest of the world to set the tone without American influence.”

He stressed that leadership and compromise went hand in hand in reforming New Jersey’s pension plan and health benefits system, before emphasizing bipartisanship as crucial to cap property taxes and get America’s economy back on track.  

The United States must be prepared to lead by ensuring there are ample resources for defense, intelligence, homeland security and diplomacy, Christie suggested.  All of those come with a healthy economy. 

Other changes include long-term tax reform, reforming entitlement codes, reforming K-12 education systems, rewarding outstanding teachers, refraining from subsidizing the education of illegal immigrants and their children, and demanding accountability.

I realize that what I am calling for requires a lot of our elected officials and a lot of our people. I plead guilty. But I also plead guilty to optimism,” Christie said. “Innovation and risk-taking is in our collective DNA. There is no better place for investment. Above all, we have a demonstrated record as a people and a nation of rising up to meet challenges.”

Reach reporter Jenny Chen here.

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