Republican number 14: Christie jumps in race for US president

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Jul 01, 2015 07:49 IST

New Jersey governor Chris Christie became on Tuesday the 14th Republican running for the White House with “telling it like it is” as his slogan, in keeping with his reputation for bluntness.

Christie announced his run from his high school in Livingston, a small town in New Jersey where he grew up, and spoke extempore, without notes, as promised.

“America is tired of hand-wringing and indecisiveness and weakness in the Oval Office,” he said. “We need to have strength and decision-making and authority back in the Oval Office. And that is why I am proud to announce my candidacy for the Republican nomination for president of the United States of America.” He went on to add that both parties — his own and the Democratic party — have failed the country for their refusal to compromise.

His announcement speech was much like he is known to be — blunt and straight. And he promised to run a campaign that will be both blunt and straight even if it made some people “cringe”.

New Jersey has a sizable population of Indian-Americans, and Christie had pressed for and obtained a last-minute meeting with PM Narendra Modi last September.

As of now, he faces pretty much the same problems as Bobby Jindal, the first Indian-American to run for the White House, which he doesn’t want to be called one.

Both Christie and Jindal have low popularity ratings in their respective home states, and have trailed in national polls to their Republican rivals at the bottom of the table.

Christie has another problem — a federal investigation into allegations that his officials created a traffic jam in a city to punish its mayor who had refused to endorse him.

“Bridge-gate”, as the scandal has been branded, has really damaged the governor — polls show that even most Republicans can’t see themselves voting for him.

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