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Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, formally announced his entry into the overcrowded GOP primary field Tuesday morning at a rally at Livingston High School in Essex County.

Christie’s standing as a candidate has fallen dramatically since his first term as governor. Christie rose to national prominence as a brash, outspoken, no-nonsense leader who refused to suffer fools or partisan gridlock.

Hindered by a bleak economic recovery and mired in scandal, Christie enters the presidential race now with his lowest approval ratings yet.

During his speech, Christie played up his persona as a politician who is willing to make unpopular choices, including reaching across the aisle, in order to get things done.

“We have no choice but to work together,” he said. “This country needs to work together again, not against each other.”

He took aim at what he described as the “weakness and indecisiveness” of the Oval Office, and promised to bring “strength and decisiveness to lead America again.”

Christie promised to run a “campaign without spin,” on “big ideas and hard truths,” and vowed that in interviews and stump speeches, voters will hear his unfiltered, honest beliefs — not answers tested at focus groups — “even if it makes you cringe.”

“I’ve never wavered from telling you the truth as I see it,” he said.

You can watch the complete speech here:

Related: 8 Reasons Chris Christie Shouldn’t Be President (Other Than Bridgegate)

Image: DonkeyHotey

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