New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Republicans
have to dispense with the pipe dream of an ideal
candidate. Photo by Douglas Burns
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a high-profile
Republican with clear national ambitions, championed
a small-government theme in a colorful conservational
speech to a partisan crowd in Sioux City on
“We don’t belong to the government; the government
belongs to us,” Christie said.
Christie, 49, a former U.S. attorney in New
Jersey who has served as governor of that state
since 2010, said more American politicians need
to be able to say one simple word: “No.”
“We can all say ‘yes,’ ” Christie said. “The
hard thing in politics is to say ‘no.’ ”
Christie keynoted U.S. Rep. Steve King’s fifth-annual
Defenders of Freedom event. The Kiron congressman
returned to Washington, D.C. for legislative
work on Thursday and missed his own fundraiser
as a result.
More than 250 people attended the event at Bev’s
on The River in which Christie, a likely contender
for the presidency in 2016 who considered entering
the White House race this November, delivered
a speech with three purposes: boosting the campaign
of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney; serving
as a surrogate for King; and testing the political
waters for himself.
King, a five-term congressman now representing
the 5th District, is in a spirited race with
Ames Democrat Christie Vilsack, the former First
Lady of Iowa, in the new 4th District which
stretches from Missouri to Minnesota and includes
39 counties in western and central Iowa, much
of it new territory for King.
Gov. Christie said constituents from the current
district need to be outspoken in their advocacy
for King as he is somewhat fresh to many voters.
“They may know him by reputation, but it’s different,”
He added, “Steve King needs us to give that
Christie said four more years of President Barack
Obama in the White House will add up to fiscal
problems for the nation.
“It’s going to be bigger government,” Christie
said. “It’s going to be more spending.”
But while Christie supports Romney, he stopped
short of making an unequivocal endorsement,
suggesting his party had better candidates waiting
in the wings, people who chose not to run in
the 2012 cycle.
“I endorsed Mitt Romney a long time ago,” Christie
said. “It’s not because I agree with every word
that comes out of his mouth. I believe we need
fundamental change in Washington, D.C. I believed
then and I believe now that he is the best man
who made himself available to defeat to the
president of the United States.”
According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist
Poll, Obama leads Romney in Iowa among likely
voters 50 percent to 42 percent.
Christie said Republicans have to dispense with
the pipe dream of an ideal candidate.
“You’re looking for the perfect candidate to
vote for?” Christie said. “Look in the mirror.
You’re the only person you agree with all the
Mark Condon, 55, of Sioux City, the president
of Condon Auto Sales there, said Christie clearly
believes in traditional Iowa values, smaller
government and “less intrusion in our lives.”
“Chris Christie reflects the way Steve King
thinks,” Condon said.
What about Christie as a candidate for the presidency
“That would be very interesting,” Condon said.
Larry Denherder, 60, the CEO of The Interstates
Companies, an electrical engineering and contracting
firm in Sioux Center, said Christie is “right
on” with his advocacy of smaller government.
“Gov. Christie’s really not afraid to say what
he thinks,” Denherder said. “He’s got a message
that really is blunt, but it rings true. He
gets right to the point.”
Kenneth Streck, 76, a retired farmer and rural
electric cooperative official from Ida Grove,
said Christie made the right decision in holding
off on a 2012 bid.
“I thought he wasn’t quite ready this time,
but he could be very good in 2016 or 2020 or
whatever comes up,” Streck said.
Streck echoed one of Christie’s remarks in the
Sioux City speech — that the press is biased
“I think the press has really been crucifying
Romney a lot more than Obama,” Streck said.
“Every time you listen, in the morning, noon
and night, the press is after Romney. On his
tapes, on this, on that, on this, where they
don’t do that with Obama.” CV
Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa
newspaperman who writes for The Carroll Daily
Times Herald and offers columns for Cityview.