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TRANSCRIPT: 'Inside the Koch Brothers' 2011 Summer Seminar' - Gov. Chris Christie's Keynote Address (Intro by David Koch) | Pg. 4 of 6

[For the full story on this transcript, see
Part 2 of our exclusive special series at
Mother Jones.]

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), Keynote Address
As introduced by David Koch
Koch Brothers' 2011 Summer Seminar
Ritz-Carlton Beaver Creek Resort - near Vail, Colorado

Audio recorded June 26, 2011
[PART 4 - Appx. 11 mins]

Transcribed by Emily Levy for The BRAD BLOG

< PREVIOUS | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | NEXT >

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (CON'T): Now, I've listened to all the things that are being talked about today. And it strikes me that everybody in this room is here because they want our country to do the big things. Because they want to support leaders and principles and ideas that will make our country even greater than it is already. No one is here today for self-promotion or for self-aggrandizement or for self-enrichment. Everybody who's here for this weekend is here because they know that the opportunity that was presented to us as Americans is one of the most special gifts that will ever, ever be given. Not to be guaranteed anything except that opportunity. Make the most of the God-given talents that we have been blessed with and combine that with the great opportunity that America presents to make our lives something special. We want that same thing for our children and for our grandchildren. And we're here because we know that it is no longer a sure thing if it ever was. And in fact, under this administration, it is at greater risk than it has been in my lifetime.

Now I turned 18 in 1980. I sat in my dorm room in college and filled out an absentee ballot and voted for Ronald Reagan. Because, he explained to me as an 18 year old certain simple but powerful truths about what this country was about, but more important than that, what it needed to be for the world in the future, and what we needed to do to get there. We need to start tellin' the truth again, just like that. And it can't just come from people who hold public office. There is not enough of us, believe it or not. It needs to come from all those people who have been fortunate enough to take full advantage of the extraordinary America opportunity. And that means unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit in this country. That means allowing capitalism to flow and…grow and thrive. That means standing up for the common sense principles that we all know are true, that government is necessary but should not be everywhere. That we should pay taxes to provide the services that we need as a nation but not a penny more. And that we should hold to account everyone, everyone that we give the honor and privilege of public office to, to act with honesty and integrity and with an eye to the future.

Now, I've had an extraordinary opportunity the last 17 months, being Governor in our state. Someone asked me at dinner tonight, "What made you think that running for Governor of New Jersey as a Republican was a good idea?" [laughter] And I said, "You know, I decided finally to run because of something that my wife said to me. Ya know, I was U.S. Attorney for seven years in New Jersey from the Bush administration. President Obama had been elected and so it was time for me to resign and move on and give him the opportunity to pick the U.S. Attorneys he wanted. I was trying to decide whether to run for Governor or whether to go back into business. And asked my wife, "What do you think I should do?"

And she said to me, "Look, I think you really want to do this. I know you're torn about your obligations to the family, so let me just tell you this. I have no interest in living the rest of my life with a man filled with regret. And if you go off and you go into business and you make a lot of money (and I know you will), you gotta promise you're not going to sit on the back porch with me three years from now and say to me, 'Yeah, this is all great but I wonder what would have happened if I would have run? I wonder if I would have won? I wonder if I could have made a difference?'" She said, "I don't want to live with a man full of regret. So if you want to do this, then let's do it. And if you win, that's great. And if you lose, then you've got plenty of time to do the rest of the stuff."

And it was a powerful bit of advice from someone who knows me better'n anybody. Because I would've been filled with regret if I didn't try this. And so [well, Pete(?)] I don't know what the hell made me think it was a good idea. [laughter] But I tell that story about my wife so if anybody thinks it's a bad idea I can blame it on her. [laughter] And that's the beauty of marriage after 25 years, because we're stuck with each other! We have four kids. Listen, we're all in. [scattered laughter]

So, I have had an enormous opportunity to make change in a state that desperately needed it. A state that has 700,000 more Democrats than Republicans. A state that hadn't elected a Republican statewide in 12 years. A state that still hasn't elected a Republican United States Senator since 1972. So you're right, Peter, the odds didn't look so great for us. But here's why we won: Because their ideas are wrong and our ideas are right. [loud applause and whistling]

And so, as I was leavin' this morning, I was tellin' Chuck this story, as I was leavin' this morning, about 7:30, to hop on the plane to come out here, all my children were asleep. And so I went into my ten year old son Patrick's room to give him a kiss goodbye on the forehead before I left, and he woke up and saw me in the suit, you know, and looked up and he said, "Aw, man, it's Monday already?" [extended laughter] And I said, "No, no, Patrick." I said, "Dad's got to go on this special business thing. I'm going to Colorado. I'm [inaudible] now." He said, "You're goin' to Colorado now?" I said, "Yeah." He just shook his head, he goes, "Dad? This Governor job is really busy." [laughter]

I've left my family on Sunday, which I don't normally do, to come here. Because if we're going to win this fight, it's the people in this room that are gonna win it. It's the people in this room who have enjoyed all the greatness that America gives us the opportunity to enjoy, they're going to be the 21st century patriots who are going to preserve liberty and freedom and opportunity for the next generation. And you know, they're going to be judged. All of us are going to be judged by our children and grandchildren. We know that. And when they look back on this time of extraordinary crisis in our country's history, what are they going to say about us? Are they going to say that we assuaged ourselves with the creature comforts that we've earned? The wealth and the beauty and the promise that America's given to us and bury our heads in the sand and say, "The problems are now just much too big and I'm just too small to be able to change it." Or will they say about us that at this time of crisis that we stood up and said, "No." That's not good enough. We've got to stand up and fight for the country we've inherited. We've got to stand up for our country to make it better for our children and grandchildren, and will they look at us and say, as we pass the torch of American leadership to them, that we didn't shrink, that we can say to them, "We did the best we could. Now it's your turn."

That's the choice we're confronted with, ladies and gentleman. That's why I'm here tonight. I'm here because it will be you, the people in this room, are the modern day patriots who will save this country or let it go by the wayside. It's up to us. It's been said often, "To those who much is given, much is expected." And much is expected from all of us who have had this great privilege.

So I got on the plane and came out here today because I know that I'm preaching to the choir. And I heard the greatest explanation of preaching to the choir that I've ever heard from a Lutheran minster a number of years ago. You know, preaching to the choir sound like you're wasting your time, right? People usually say, "Oh, you're just preaching to the choir." This Lutheran minister explained to me and a group of others he was speaking to, he said, "I plead guilty to the 'preaching to the choir.' I preach to the choir every Sunday. I preach to the choir so they'll sing. I preach to the choir so they'll sing." And so I'm coming here tonight to preach to the choir so that you'll sing. So that you'll go back to every corner of this great country and say, "It's not someone else's job to fix it. It's my job to fix it." And every state that you come from, it's your job to fix it. Not someone else's. Not some imaginary force that's out there. You. And me. It's our job to fix this country. And so I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to come here and to talk to a group of folks who I think uniquely understand that challenge and will not shrink from it.

We cannot let our children down. We cannot let our country down. We cannot let the world down. America is still the place that will lead this world to greater things if we care enough to stand up and say, "No, we will not accept mediocrity. We are Americans and we are built for greatness."

Thank you all very much. [extended applause] Thank you...Thank you very much…Thank you…

[NEXT: Q&A - "Pain will be inflicted" and "We need take on the teachers' union once and for all"...]

< PREVIOUS | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | NEXT >

* * *

[For the full story on this transcript, see
Part 2 of our exclusive special series at
Mother Jones.]



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