New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he won't abandon his brash style that inspires either love or hate if he is elected president in 2016.
"I am the same person. I've always been and I won't change," Christie said Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity"
after making his official campaign announcement
earlier in the day.
Saying he has changed as he's grown older, like anyone else, Christie told host Sean Hannity that he won't change the core of who he is.
"I think the country needs that," Christie said. "We need someone who is going to look them in the eye and tell them the truth even if they don't want to hear it."
Christie was urged to run in 2012 when he was atop the GOP polls, but said he declined because "I wasn't ready to be president of the United States."
Now, his poll numbers have dropped, and he's near the bottom of a crowded Republican field.
He was hurt by Bridgegate scandal, he admitted, even though multiple investigations, including one by the Democrat-controlled state legislature, showed he was not involved.
Still, the "relentless pounding from the media about something I didn't have anything to do with and wasn't responsible for" hurt him, he said.
"It shows you the power of the liberal media," he said. "You know the folks at MSNBC, The New York Times thought they had me. They can't live with the fact I'm innocent, that I didn't do anything wrong."
Hannity protested Christie's plan to means test Social Security and Medicare as well as raise the age at which people become eligible.
Citing Hannity's high income, Christie warned him, "You're not going to get a Social Security check."
"Isn't that government stealing?" Hannity asked.
"They already stole it," Christie said, adding that the Social Security "lock box" Al Gore talked about in the 2000 election is now filled with IOUs.
Christie was asked about his controversial greeting of President Barack Obama after Hurricane Sandy which some Republicans say helped hand Obama the 2012 election.
Christie said there was no "hug," as has been reported. He also said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn't refuse to meet with Obama -- the president never asked to meet them.
"The oath is not an oath to party, it's an oath of office," he said. "My job was to make sure that when the president came there I was courteous and respectful and I asked him for the federal government's help."
Christie said he would do the same thing again.
Turning to international issues, Christie said the only way to repair America's relationship with Israel is to repeatedly tell the world that the United Stats has no better friend in the Middle East than Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"This president won't stand up to (Syrian President Basher) Assad, but he stands up to Netanyahu," Christie said
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