New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) encouraged social conservatives to be “pro-life for the whole life” in an expansive address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to the Majority” conference Friday.
The outspoken blue-state governor waded into a lion’s den of sorts at the faith-based gathering in Washington, giving a 20-minute speech touting his fiscal record and sharing his views on abortion and foreign policy.
He emphasized the need for social conservatives to consider life after birth, a theme he often uses to rationalize education and drug sentencing reform.
“I believe if you’re pro-life, as I am, you need to be pro-life for the whole life,” he said, admitting that “sometimes being pro-life then is messy.”
Christie also warned that America pulling back from its role as a global leader is causing “catastrophic effects across the globe,” and knocked President Obama, without naming him, for a failure of vision.
He also hammered Democrats as the party that is "intolerant,” arguing that while the GOP has had pro-abortion rights figures speak at its party conference, Democrats have never had anti-abortion speakers at its own.
“Theirs is the party that is intolerant,” he said, drawing strong applause from the crowd.
“It is the other party that excludes differing ideas and not the Republican Party that excludes differing ideas on this issue,” he added.
Aside from scattered applause during his ruminations on defending life, attendees were more subdued for Christie than they had been for other conservative stars and potential presidential hopefuls that spoke before him, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) on Thursday and Rand Paul (Ky.) a half hour earlier.
Christie left the conference to do some work in his capacity as chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association, heading to to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire to campaign and raise money for GOP gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein.
But he’ll be traveling under a cloud of scandal. Esquire magazine reported Friday that U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman is closing in on criminal indictments for four Christie associates tied to lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, a scandal that has dogged Christie for months and crippled his presidential prospects.
The magazine reports that former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official David Wildstein, former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, and former Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien will “certainly be indicted” by a grand jury and are being pressed to give details connecting Christie to the closures.