New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) took aim at both Democrats and Republicans during his speech in Washington on Wednesday, which sparked further speculation he could seek higher office.
Chrtistie knocked both parties for shying away from drastic measures to solve the country's fiscal woes. The outspoken governor mocked President Obama's proposals for high-speed rail and broadband as "the candy of American politics" and also criticized Republicans in Congress for not putting forth a bold proposal on entitlement reform.
"You cannot fix these problems without talking about them," he said during a speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI). "And I look at what's happening in Washington, D.C., right now and I'm worried. I'm worried."
Obama is not talking about entitlements because he is waiting for the Republicans, Christie said, "And our new bold Republicans in the House of Representatives ... are not talking about it because they are waiting for him to talk about it.
"Whatever game that is being played down here, is irresponsible, it's dangerous."
Christie's speech came as talk about his political future reached a fever pitch in the media, though he has repeatedly said he will not run for president.
"Listen, I threatened to commit suicide," Christie said. "Apparently, I actually have to commit suicide to convince people I'm not running."
But interest in Christie's speech was high. It drew a large audience at AEI and was broadcast on Fox News. The governor took on national issues like budgeting and entitlement spending, which he said could be improved by the austerity approach he took in his state.
"Our country and our states are weighed down by an albatross of irresponsibility," he said. "Leadership in America has to be about doing the big things and being courageous. It has to be."
Christie, who is known for his bluster, proposed raising the national retirement age for Social Security.
"Whoa, ho. I just said it, and I'm still standing here. I didn't vaporize," he joked.
Christie even threatened to campaign against Republicans who do not "do the right thing."
"If the people who I campaigned for don’t stand up and do the right thing, the next time they’ll see me in their district it will be with my arm around their primary opponent," he said.
Democratic Governors Association chief Martin O'Malley (Md.) blasted Christie for eschewing serious budget talk for "tough guy sound bites."
“The issue of budget management deserves a serious discussion, not merely a set of slick 'tough guy' sound bites," he said in a statement. "And as the nation's governors are set to convene in Washington next week, it’s an issue we look forward to debating.”
The popular governor convened with New Jersey's congressional delegation and met with a trade group as part of his D.C. visit.
-- This post was updated at 2:56 p.m.