Recap: Chris Christie's Keynote Speech at the RNC
After some hurricane-related delays, the Republican National Convention began yesterday in Tampa. We have our Fix the Debt team on the ground (see their tweets at @FixTheDebt) and we will be covering the convention here on our blog. The night was capped off by the keynote speech from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (full transcript here).
As with many convention speeches, there is a lot of rhetorical flourish, but there were some nuggets about fiscal policy in there. For one, he drew on his experience as governor to compare it to the challenges we face at the federal level.
There were those who said it couldn't be done. The problems were too big, too politically charged, too broken to fix. But we were on a path we could no longer afford to follow.
They said it was impossible to cut taxes in a state where taxes were raised 115 times in eight years. That it was impossible to balance a budget at the same time, with an $11 billion deficit. Three years later, we have three balanced budgets with lower taxes.
We did it.
They said it was impossible to touch the third rail of politics. To take on the public sector unions and to reform a pension and health benefit system that was headed to bankruptcy.
With bipartisan leadership we saved taxpayers $132 billion over 30 years and saved retirees their pension.
We did it.
Christie then discussed the federal situation, saying that his party would tell the "hard truths" about the budget outlook.
We believe in telling hard working families the truth about our country's fiscal realities. Telling them what they already know – the math of federal spending doesn't add up.
With $5 trillion in debt added over the last four years, we have no other option but to make the hard choices, cut federal spending and fundamentally reduce the size of government...
We believe in telling seniors the truth about our overburdened entitlements.
We know seniors not only want these programs to survive, but they just as badly want them secured for their grandchildren.
Finally, he said that the solutions to our nation's issues--the budget included--would not be easy:
Tonight, our duty is to tell the American people the truth.
Our problems are big and the solutions will not be painless. We all must share in the sacrifice. Any leader that tells us differently is simply not telling the truth.
I think tonight of the Greatest Generation.
We look back and marvel at their courage – overcoming the Great Depression, fighting Nazi tyranny, standing up for freedom around the world.
Now it's our time to answer history's call.
The convention will continue today, highlighted by a speech from Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Be sure to check back to The Bottom Line for further reaction throughout the week.
Photo from Scott Olson/Getty Images