New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie captivated his audience at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on Wednesday afternoon with a speech focused on what he called the “big things.” For him, the very biggest is getting America’s fiscal house in order – even if it means cutting entitlement spending.
“Leadership today in America has to be about doing the big things and being courageous,” said Christie. “That’s what it has to be about. It’s the same thing with health benefit reform, which is an analogy to Medicare and Medicaid here in Washington.”
Christie continued: “And here’s the problem. You can’t fix these problems if you don’t talk about it … And I look at what’s happening in Washington, D.C, right now and I’m worried.
Christie called out President Obama for failing to demonstrate true leadership in his State of the Union speech last month.
“I heard the president’s State of the Union speech … and he said America was about doing the big things. But I think it’s important to note it because of what he says the big things are,” said Christie. “He says the big things are high-speed rail. The big things are high-speed internet access for 80 percent of Americans or something by some date, 1 million electric cars on the road by some date.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, that is the candy of American politics,” Christie added. “Those are not the big things.”
Christie said repeatedly that none of the president’s goals could be accomplished without first achieving fiscal stability, and said entitlement programs like Medicaid and pensions, public-sector unions and school superintendent pay are no longer holy grails of politics.
They are, according to Christie, the “hard things. The things that people tell you will lead to political ruin.”
“They don’t,” he said.