New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) urged Congress to address the solvency of programs like Social Security and Medicare and warned Republicans they could face primaries for failing to cut government spending.
Christie said it had become a “political strategy” for Republicans to ignore reforming entitlement programs.
“Our new, bold Republicans that we just sent to the House of Representatives, they’re not talking about it,” Christie said. “They’re waiting for [President Obama] to talk about it.”
Christie said the future prosperity of the country warrants discussion of those controversial issues.
“We are teetering on the edge of disaster,” he said during a speech Wednesday at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.
“Stop playing the political games. Stand up and do the right thing and speak the truth.
“Or join the long parade of leaders who have come before us and failed.”
The first-term governor, who has a growing national reputation, said he wouldn’t hesitate to involve himself in the primaries of House Republicans who fail to address entitlement programs or push for deep spending cuts.
“I campaigned in a bunch of different spots in the country for a Republican candidate for the House,” he said of last year’s midterm election. “I said the same thing to them then that I will say to them now: It’s put-up or shut-up time.”
The first question Christie got from reporters after his speech ended was whether he would seek the presidency next year. “Well, that took a long time, didn’t it?” the governor quipped.
Christie said he doesn’t feel ready to make a run for the White House and ruled out a bid in 2012.
“Listen, I threatened to commit suicide — I did; I said, ‘What can I do short of suicide to convince people I’m not running?’ ” Christie said. “Apparently, I actually have to commit suicide to convince people I’m not running.
“You have to believe in your heart and in your soul and in your mind that you are ready, and I don’t believe that about myself right now. So that’s why I said I won’t run, and I can’t imagine that changing,” he said.
Christie said it wouldn’t make his wife happy, either.
“My wife would kill me,” he said. “There’s certain things that you know just will not be accepted, and I think that’s on the list.”