- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, on Sunday told GOP members elected last year to Congress on promises to cut government that they must follow through by opposing an increase in the debt ceiling.

“You have to clearly articulate your position, then go out to the public and make your case,”
he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mr. Christie, who faced a similar situation of having the state government shut down when he was negotiating with legislators over the budget, also told Republican lawmakers they must be prepared for the same consequences.

“You have to put up or shut up,” said Mr. Christie, who again said he is not a 2012 presidential candidate. “But in the same respect, you could lose the argument.”

On his decision not to run in 2012, the quotable Mr. Christie said he was not “arrogant enough” to think his relatively short political career has prepared him to be president.

“You gotta believe in your heart you’re personally ready for the presidency,” he said. “I’m not there. I’m not arrogant enough to believe that after one year as governor … I am ready to be president of the United States.”

He also said jokingly about his decision, at least for now: “Listen, the president can rest easy. The only guy who could beat him in the poll isn’t running. I have a state to run. I love New Jersey.”

Mr. Christie said his sometime blunt exchanges with critics never has crossed the line to being “uncivil.”

Mr. Christie was followed on the show by former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate, who also said congressional Republicans should argue against raising the ceiling on the national debt, which now stands at roughly $14 trillion.

“You’ve got to draw some lines in the sand,” Mr. Pawlenty said.

Mr. Christie also clarified recent comments about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, also a possible 2012 presidential candidate, saying his criticisms were about scripted appearances, not her.

“It wasn’t a criticism of her,” he said. “It was an observation.”

Mrs. Palin last week posted a video on her Facebook page that criticized the news media and others for unfairly blaming her actions and words for contributing to the attempted assassination of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Mrs. Palin largely has avoided using the mainstream news media to send out her political messages.

“People learn the most about you during campaigns about how you might govern … in those unscripted moments,” Mr. Christie said.

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