By Chelsea Karnash
LIVINGSTON, NJ (CBS) – Gov. Chris Christie has announced his decision to run for President of the United States in 2016.
Christie made the announcement at 11 a.m. Tuesday from his alma mater, Livingston High School, in New Jersey, where he served as class president for three years.
“I am ready to fight for the people of the United States of America,” he said.
Surrounded by family, including his elderly father, Christie referred to Livingston as “home” and recalled his childhood in the area. He also thanked his wife for her support, calling her “indispensable,” and his four children, before joking that he likes to use his veto both at home and in the office.
The Governor then launched into a rousing speech that touched on the need for bipartisanship and economic and tax reforms, among other things.
“This country needs to work together again!” Christie said to cheers from the crowd.
Americans are “anxious,” he continued, because they see a government in Washington D.C. that “not only doesn’t work anymore, but doesn’t even talk to one other…We have a President in the Oval Office who ignores the Congress and Congress who ignores the President.”
“Both parties have failed our country,” Christie added. “Somehow now, ‘compromise’ is a dirty word. If [the Founding Fathers] believed compromise was a dirty word, we’ll still be under the crown of England.”
He also called the current state of the economy “weak,” and said that while the children of his generation knew that if they worked hard, they’d be successful, that’s not the case today.
“This country and this leadership owes the same [economic opportunities] to my children and yours,” he said. “And I’m ready to give it to you!”
And, in his typical fashion, the straight-talking governor took some shots at the current politicians in power, including President Obama and Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton.
“The lying and stealing has already happened, the horse is out of the barn we need to get it back in and the only way to do it is by force,” he said.
“The fact is this: After seven years of a weak and feckless foreign policy run by Barack Obama, we better not turn it over to his second mate Hillary Clinton!” Christie said.
“I am not running as a surrogate to being prom king of America. When I stand on a stage like this, there is one thing you know for sure, I mean what I say and I say what I mean,” Christie said, promising a campaign free of spin, even if it makes people “cringe sometimes.”
“What is right will fix America, not what’s popular,” he added.
Christie also seemed to briefly touch on questions about his health, saying, “If you give me the privilege to be your President, I will wake up every day not only with my heart strong and my mind sharp, but with my ears open and my arms open to welcome the American people no matter what party, no matter what race or creed or color, to make sure that you know that this is your country, too.”
While there has been widespread speculation that he would run in 2016, Christie stayed relatively mum on the topic until the Tuesday announcement. Now, Christie joins a pool of more than a dozen Republican hopefuls, including Jeb Bush and Dr. Ben Carson. His slogan is “Christie 2016: Telling It Like It Is.”
“We must tell each other the truth about the problems we have and the difficulty of the solutions,” Christie emphasized.