On Tuesday, New Jersey governor Chris Christie delivered his inaugural address amid the scandals plaguing his second term.
The event garnered national attention this year as people waited to see if Christie would address the investigations he is currently facing.
But unlike his recent State of the State address, in which he acknowledged the investigations, Christie opted to stick to to his prepared transcript and did not mention the Bridgegate scandal – the possibly politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in September — nor the investigation into his use of Superstorm Sandy relief funds.
Instead, Christie more subtly acknowledged that with the “great honor” of serving New Jersey “comes solemn obligations – to make the hard decisions, to raise the uncomfortable topics, to require responsibility and accountability, to be willing to stand hard when principles are being violated and to be willing to compromise to find common ground with all of our people.”
The governor – whose popularity is declining nationwide according to the most recent USA Today/Pew Research Center poll – also took a swipe at Washington, first criticizing big government and then partisan politics, saying, “We cannot fall victim to the attitude of Washington, D.C. – the attitude that I am always right and you are always wrong.”
“The attitude that puts everyone into a box they are not permitted to leave. The attitude that puts political wins ahead of policy agreements,” Christie continued. “The belief that compromise is a dirty word.”
Seemingly encouraging bipartisanship, he added: “We have to be willing to play outside the red and blue boxes the media and pundits put us in; we have to be willing to reach out to others who look or speak differently than us; we have to be willing to personally reach out a helping hand to a neighbor suffering from drug addiction, depression, or the dignity-stripping loss of a job.”
This notion of bipartisanship has a lot to do with why Christie is viewed as a very likely candidate for the Republican nomination in 2016. The governor’s supposed ability to work with Democrats and appeal to Independents, however, may be threatened now that he is under investigation.
Still, Christie appeared confident, asserting, “We have survived the worst natural disaster in our state’s history and together to restore, renew, and rebuild the state we love. Each of these challenges have been met by a new, unified force in public life – a New Jersey setting the tone for an entire nation. A tough New Jersey. A resilient New Jersey. A proud New Jersey.”
You can watch Governor Christie’s entire inaugural address below.
AFP Photo/Jeff Zelevansky
Video: NJTVonline via YouTube