DES MOINES, Iowa — “We know what this is about,” Chris Christie told the crowd Saturday in his speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit.
“This is just the conventional wisdom from Washington D.C. that thinks we aren’t friends…that a conservative Republican from New Jersey can’t possibly share the same values as a conservative Republican here in Iowa,” he continued.
“They were wrong every time they said it over the last five years…they’re wrong today,” the New Jersey governor said to applause.
The potential Republican presidential candidate spent part of his speech before the audience of conservative Iowans stressing his ties to the state.
“I have heard and read the conventional wisdom that somehow a guy from New Jersey would not be welcomed or understood at the Iowa Freedom Summit,” Christie said. “That somehow I’m too loud, I’m too blunt and I’m too direct. But let me say this, I’ve been to Iowa 11 times in the last five years…Let me ask you this, if I was too blunt, too direct, too loud and too New Jersey for Iowa, then why do you people keep inviting me back?”
The audience laughed.
Christie praised Iowa Rep. Steve King, the host of Saturday’s summit. Christie recalled a time when King had his back at a Capitol Hill hearing.
“That was Steve King,” Christie told the crowd. “When I left that hearing room that day, he waited for me in the hallway. And I said to him, ‘congressman…what you just did in there and the way you stood up for me, anything you ever need from me again in my career…you just pick up the phone and call.’”
Added Christie: “He’s a good man, and a great friend, and I’m happy to be here.”
Christie also argued that he has an appreciation for Iowa too.
“If the values I’m fighting for every day in New Jersey and all across this country are not consistent with your values, then why would I keep coming back?” he said. “I wouldn’t. I do because our values are consistent and we’re fighting together to make this a better country.”
At one point, Christie poked fun at his persona when protesters interrupted his speech.
Letting out a laugh, Christie replied: “Don’t they know I’m from Jersey?”