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Governor Christie: I Am Giving No Advice On How To Run For President

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Published on Jun 27, 2012

Mahwah Town Hall - June 27, 2012
(Transcript Below)


Question: Advice for Presidency

"Well, let me be clear because we have the press here, I'm giving you no advice on how to become president of the United States. I have no idea how to do that. As for becoming governor, I give you four bits of advice. First one is, if you think you want to become involved in politics, make sure that you believe in something first. Remember I was talking about principles before and what are your core principles and how we find compromise. If you go into government without core principles, you'll be nothing but a compromiser, and you won't stand for anything, and we don't need any more of those. We've got plenty of them. OK? So the inn is full for those kind of people. First determine what you believe in. What is driving you to get into politics and public service. What are the principles or issues you believe in? You've got to have those first and develop them inside you so that you can talk about them at a moment's notice. Here are the things I believe in. Here are the things that I think are important. Second, no job should be beneath you if you want to be involved in politics. The only way to learn about this business is to get into it and nobody gets in at the top except for Jon Corzine. Then you'd have to have five or six hundred million dollars. You're a good-looking guy but I don't think you have five or six hundred million dollars on you, right? No. So assuming you don't have that, you've got to start and work at whatever level you can get involved with. Work on other people's campaigns. Work for causes that you believe in like the young woman over here in the green shirt who's working hard on environmental issues. Work for things that you believe in that are about public policy and you'll get to know more people and they'll get to know you. That's one of the keys to wind up being elected to something. You have to make yourself seen to people and then become a leader among that group. Third thing if you want to become governor is to make sure that once you make the decision to go and to run, that you're doing it for the right reasons. Don't do it because somebody told you to do it. Don't do it because someone said now's your only time. You've got to run now. You'll have all those people who are geniuses in politics and the minute you lose you won't be able to get them on the phone, OK? Go because you believe in your heart it's the right thing to do. The fourth bit of advice I'll give you is anticipating your level of confidence that you're going to get there. When you get into the job, there are two types of people who hold this job in my experience. People who want to do something and people who want to be something. Beware of the people and don't be one of the people who just want to be something. You know, I've had lots of titles in my life. US Attorney, now Governor, freeholder. Before that and much more importantly still is son, husband, father. Those are all more important titles. Some people get into public life and they get wed to the title. They like being called senator, assemblyman, governor, Mr. President. It's great. I don't mind being called Governor. But if that's the only reason you're here you're going to be a failure. You have to do it and be in office to do something, to get something accomplished that helps to make your state a better place. It doesn't mean that everyone's always going to love you, because when you do something I guarantee you, you're going to tick a lot of people off, and if you're in this to be popular, only to be popular and have the title, you'll be sorely disappointed. But if you're in it to try to do something, to really do something, then that's the kind of people we need in politics. And so if you really want to do this, remember those four things. You do those four things, then I believe that you'll have just as much of a chance as I had, OK? I grew up in Livingston to middle class parents who were never involved in politics ever in their lives. We weren't rich. I just worked at it. Got a little lucky, got some breaks here and there because everybody needs them, had some people who believed in me and then here you are. And I never take for granted how lucky I am to be here. So work for things that you believe in. Figure out what you believe in. Work for those things. Get to know people. No job beneath you and then if you eventually get there, make sure you're there to do something, not to be something, all right? Those are my bits of advice for you."

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