'Be honest and kick ass': Gov. Christie energizes House GOP at retreat

BALTIMORE -- House Republicans left their three-day retreat with resolve to be courageous and pursue a bold agenda this year.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in his closing remarks on Saturday, that “this has the most focused and serious-minded retreat I can remember being part of,” according to a source in the room. 

As members filed out of the Baltimore Marriott to board buses back to D.C., they seemed buoyed by a much-needed pow wow on the agenda for the election year ahead.

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After a defeating December that ended with a short-lived protest of a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, the battle-worn conference needed a boost of energy.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie injected some of that adrenaline with his speech to the conference Friday night.

According to sources in the closed-door event, Christie’s message was “be honest and go kick ass.”

“It’s what we needed to hear … don’t be afraid, basically he said stand with the Ryan budget, stand with your principles and go forward,” a lawmaker who attended the dinner speech said.

“He said if I can line item veto as much as I did, if I can then offer a 10 percent tax cut, you can too,” another source said.

One member described Christie as “colorful,” telling stories of his first term as governor of the Garden State.

He told the conference to “be courageous,” Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) told The Hill.

And House Republicans intend to pursue bold measures and focus attention on what they believe to be President Obama’s disastrous economic policies when they return to Capitol Hill.

In his concluding speech, Boehner reminded the conference of a theme that helped them regain majority status of the House in 2010.

“The American people today are looking at President Obama’s policies asking the same question now that they were asking in 2010: Where are the jobs?” Boehner said.

That's likely a sign of the rhetoric to be used in the upcoming presidential election year.