(TAMPA, Fla.) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, famous for rarely mincing words, prescribed a dose of tough medicine Tuesday night in his keynote speech at the Republican National Convention, telling party delegates and the nation that the solutions to the country’s economic ills “will not be painless.”
“Our problems are big and the solutions will not be painless,” he said. “We all must share in the sacrifice. Any leader that tells us differently is simply not telling the truth.”
Though it took him 17 minutes to mention the newly minted nominee by name, he said Mitt Romney would tell Americans “the hard truths” about fixing the economy and creating jobs.
“Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear to put us back on the path to growth and create good paying private sector jobs again in America,” he said.
Christie, a popular Republican believed to have his eyes on a future White House run, talked about his own biography and touted his record of busting unions and balancing the budget in New Jersey. He used the word “I” 32 times, but mentioned Mitt Romney by name only seven times.
Despite coming from a largely Democratic state, he said his success in New Jersey was a blueprint for other Republicans, urging them to be honest with constituents about cutting federal entitlements and shrinking the size of government.
The people of New Jersey, he said, “rewarded politicians who led instead of politicians who pandered.”
Christie has endeared himself to conservatives by talking tough to teachers and refusing to accept federal dollars to build a tunnel between New York and New Jersey.
Democrats, he said Tuesday night, “believe in teacher’s unions. We [Republicans] believe in teachers.”
“Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular, to do what is easy and say ‘yes,’ rather than to say no when ‘no’ is what’s required,” he said.
Those were perhaps prescient words and unsolicited advice delivered to Romney, who in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll was found to have the lowest personal popularity rating of any presidential candidate in nearly three decades.
Christie said the century of American influence was waning, but the United States could lead the world for another century if the country put its fiscal house in order.
“I don’t want my children and grandchildren to have to read in a history book what it was like to live in an American Century,” he said. “I don’t want their only inheritance to be an enormous government that has overtaxed, overspent and over-borrowed a great people into second-class citizenship.”
Christie was courted by conservative leaders to make a White House run this season. He demurred, throwing his support behind Mitt Romney. He was, for a time, reportedly being considered as Romney’s running mate.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Marissa Morrison, KIVI
Ruth Brown, Idaho Press-Tribune
Marissa Morrison, KIVI
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN