Christie Starts His Engine: ‘What’s Happened To Our Country?’

Vince Coglianese Editorial Director
Font Size:

Here comes the big guy.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is using his annual State of the State Address Tuesday to tackle what he calls “a culture of divisiveness and distrust” that is pervading Washington, D.C.

The speech, which is usually supposed to focus squarely on the state of New Jersey, is the clearest signal yet that Christie is preparing to step onto the national stage as a candidate for president of the United States.

Excerpts of the Republican governor’s speech, provided to The Daily Caller, place heavy emphasis on problems Christie sees at the national level.

“We are a nation beset by anxiety. It is understandable,” Christie will say Tuesday. “Economic growth is low by post-war recovery standards. America’s leadership in the world is called into question because of a pattern of indecision and inconsistency.

“During this time of uncertainty it seems our leaders in Washington would rather stoke division for their own political gain,” Christie will say, “And this culture of divisiveness and distrust has seeped into our communities and our neighborhoods.”

Additionally, local New Jersey reporters were furious Tuesday, moaning on Twitter that Christie had snubbed them for an off-the-record conversation with several national outlets — another sign the governor is shifting his focus to a bigger political arena.

Christie’s remarks will also focus heavily on New Jersey’s efforts to rescue Camden, one of the poorest cities in the country.

“There is no better example of what we can achieve if we put aside party and pettiness than the results we are seeing in Camden,” Christie will say.

“A city devoid of hope five years ago…A city riddled with violent crime five years ago…A city beset by a corrupt and ineffective government five years ago … A school system that failed Camden’s families almost every day just five short years ago.”

Christie will credit Camden Mayor Dana Redd, a Democrat; the county government; the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013; private investment; an overhaul of the city’s police department; and education reform with bringing “hope and optimism” to Camden, in place of “fear of failure.”

“The results?” Christie will say, “Murder down 51%. Firearm assaults down by 1/3. All violent crime down 22%.”

“No one could have believed it was possible five years ago,” he’ll say. “Today, it is happening because we put action and results ahead of politics, partisanship and a shared failed history.”

Follow Vince on Twitter