New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie told a Washington audience that the GOP needed to reach out to Hispanics and African-Americans to be a successful national party, according to The Wall Street Journal
"Our country is changing, demographically and economically. Candidates have to understand who they're asking to lead," Christie said.
Positioning himself as a bipartisan problem-solver, according to the Journal, the New Jersey governor criticized the approach Capitol Hill Republicans adopted in opposing the Affordable Care Act. "The strategy of defunding by closing the government failed," he said.
Obamacare, Christie said, "is wrong, it's a failure, it's the most extraordinary overreach of government power in the history of our country."
Christie blocked creation of a New Jersey healthcare exchange, though has accepted expansion of Medicaid coverage under Obamacare.
Saying Washington was rife with "absolutists," Christie cast blame broadly on Democrats, Republicans, and President Barack Obama for not talking to each other or building human relationships, according to the Huffington Post
The New Jersey governor noted Obama has three years left to his term and that it is in the nation's interest to allow him to govern. "There is work to be done in this country. As we shove him out the door, we minimize his ability to be an effective executive. We shouldn't do that."
On Thursday, Christie assumes the chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association. The position has been a launching pad
for previous GOP presidential candidates including Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney and allows Christie to build relationships with major donors. He also gets to travel around the country to set the stage for a presidential run.
Meanwhile, tea party-aligned Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul told Fox News
that Christie could "probably" be defined as a conservative "if you have a very loose definition."
Still, he said there was room in the party for "moderates."
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