Christie calls for New Jersey and American 'renewal'

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Christie calls for New Jersey and American 'renewal'
Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, speaks during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. The talent show that is a presidential campaign began in earnest Saturday as more than 1,200 Republican activists, who probably will vote in Iowa's caucuses, packed into a historic Des Moines theater to see and hear from a parade of their party's prospective entries. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie has formed a new political action committee to enable him to raise money for a potential 2016 presidential bid. WSJ's Heather Haddon has more.
Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, speaks during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. The talent show that is a presidential campaign began in earnest Saturday as more than 1,200 Republican activists, who probably will vote in Iowa's caucuses, packed into a historic Des Moines theater to see and hear from a parade of their party's prospective entries. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 24: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The summit is hosting a group of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates to discuss core conservative principles ahead of the January 2016 Iowa Caucuses. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shakes hands with audience members before the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shakes hands with audience members before the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shakes hands with audience members after the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shakes hands with audience members after the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
TRENTON, NJ - JANUARY 13: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives the annual State of the State address on January 13, 2015 in Trenton, New Jersey. Christie addressed topics ranging from state pensions to new drug addiction solutions. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (L) after speaking to US troops at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, December 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
MENDHAM TWP., NJ - NOVEMBER 04: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie emerges from a voting machine after casting his vote, November 4, 2014 at the Emergency Services Building in Mendham, Twp., New Jersey. All 12 of N.J.'s House seats are up for grabs today. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie poses for a picture with students of Saint Rose Hight School during a visit to Belmar two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat pose for a picture with students of Saint Rose Hight School during a visit to Belmar two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat pose for a picture with workers of Pasoh Salon during a visit to Belmar two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at an event in Belmar two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at an event in Belmar two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat attend an event in Belmar two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: A man shots slogans to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie while speaks to the audience during a public event in Belmar, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: A man is removed by security guards while he shots slogans to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during a public event in Belmar, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during a visit to Belmar, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
BELMAR, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat pose for a picture with a baby while they visit Belmar, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Belmar, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie walks next to Richard Weited, owner of East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Richard Weited watch as Weited's granddaughter (not pictured) walks up as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with members of the media as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with members of the media as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with members of the media as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with members of the media as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with members of the media as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with Richard Weited, owner of East Dover marina, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with members of the media as he visits the East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talks with Richard Weited and his wife Valerie, the owners of East Dover marina, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages, and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie poses for a picture with Richard Weited (R), owner of East Dover marina and Mike Greiseh (L), two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie shake hands with Richard Weited, owner of East Dover marina, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie walks next to Richard Weited, owner of East Dover marina, two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
TOMS RIVER, NJ - OCTOBER 29: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie walks next to Richard Weited, owner of East Dover marina two years after Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2014 in Toms River, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy was recorded as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It caused over $68 billion in damages and hundreds of people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries. Today marks when its storm surge hit New York City and the surrounding area which flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (C) poses for photographs with customers during a campaign stop with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (C) campaigns with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (L) at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan pose for a 'selfie' with a supporter during a campaign event at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (C) poses for photographs during a campaign stop with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (2nd L) hears from a supporter during a campaign stop with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (L) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie say their goodbyes after a campaign stop at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (2nd L) and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (2nd R) greet customers during a campaign stop at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (L) pose for photographs with a Honey Bee Diner employee during a campaign stop October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (C) and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (R) pose for photographs with customers during a campaign stop at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens closely to a supporter while campaigning with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (2nd L) and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (3rd L) talk with customers at the Honey Bee Diner during a campaign stop October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens closely to a supporter while campaigning with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (C) campaigns with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (R) outside the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signs the cover of a copy of Time magazine while campaigning with Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (L) and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan arrive for a campaign event at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
GLEN BURNIE, MD - OCTOBER 28: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (L) and Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan (R) pose for a 'selfie' with a supporter during a campaign stop at the Honey Bee Diner October 28, 2014 in Glen Burnie, Maryland. This was the third campaign event that Christie has held with Hogan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
CLIVE, IA - OCTOBER 25: Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) stands in front of a huge cup cake display at his Birthday Bash, Saturday October 25, 2014 in Clive, Iowa. Already distinguished as the states longest -serving governor, Branstad would become the longest -serving governor in U.S. history, were he to win the November 4th election. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
CLIVE, IA - OCTOBER 25: Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) attends a Birthday Bash for Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) October 25, 2014 in Clive, Iowa. Already distinguished as the states longest -serving governor, Branstad would become the longest -serving governor in U.S. history, were he to win the November 4th election. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
CLIVE, IA - OCTOBER 25: Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) attends a Birthday Bash for Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) October 25, 2014 in Clive, Iowa. Already distinguished as the states longest -serving governor, Branstad would become the longest -serving governor in U.S. history, were he to win the November 4th election. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
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TRENTON, New Jersey and NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Tuesday that his state and the country are in need of a "renewal," a central theme of his annual speech to state lawmakers that hinted at presidential aspirations.

Christie, under pressure to decide if he will seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016, discussed what he called a "bloated national government" and a need for bi-partisanship during his state of the state speech.

"This administration believes today, and has always believed, that New Jersey and America will be a better place for middle class families when we shrink the size of government at every level," he said. "We need a New Jersey renewal, and we need an American renewal."

Christie talked about his travels around the country, mentioning Florida and several other states by name but not New Jersey's own struggling gambling hub, Atlantic City, or the state's nearly bankrupt transportation fund.

"The way that Christie delivered the speech was national in nature," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. "The main message for the 200 to 300 GOP party leaders was 'I'm still that guy that you all remember. I'm stable, I'm bipartisan, and I'm still that guy that you thought I was before Bridgegate.'"

Over the past year, Christie was hounded by the so-called Bridgegate scandal, in which his former aides were accused of engineering a traffic jam as an alleged act of political retribution against a local mayor, and related ongoing federal criminal probes.

More recently, he's been immersed in a controversy over whether he should have gone to Texas for a Jan. 4 Dallas Cowboys game at the expense of team owner Jerry Jones.

The Cowboys are part owner of a company that does business with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the transportation agency which oversees the George Washington Bridge, where the traffic jam happened.

Christie's approval rating with New Jersey voters soared after Hurricane Sandy walloped the region in 2012. But it has dropped since, with more voters now disapproving of his leadership than approving of it, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll on Tuesday.

New Jersey has recovered only about half of the jobs it lost during the recession, compared to well over 100 percent nationally and nearly 200 percent for neighboring New York.

"Governor Christie has to reframe the narrative away from New Jersey because he doesn't have a New Jersey miracle that he can point to," said Matthew Hale, an associate professor of public administration at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

To be sure, Christie did devote large portions of his address to a few state issues, including a proposal to strengthen drug addiction treatment services. He also touted significant improvements in Camden, a city perhaps best known for its high murder rate, which has been cut in half since 2012 with state help.

He also laid out New Jersey's economic growth and job gains, saying the state of the state "continues to get better," even though it is rated the second-worst state after Illinois by credit rating agencies.

He also said New Jersey's underfunded public pension system is an "insatiable beast" and called for reforms in addition to ones already enacted in 2011. Yet he provided no specific proposals despite having first pushed for more reforms nearly a year ago.

Christie vowed to veto any income tax increase sent to him by lawmakers, as he has repeatedly done in the past. And he said Mercedes-Benz is moving its headquarters out of state because of the high cost of doing business there, adding that the legislature should lower taxes.

Democrats, who control New Jersey's legislature, said Christie failed to address other issues, like poverty, and recapped too much of the past rather than pointing to what he would do in the future.

"New Jersey is still in a lot of trouble," said Senate President Stephen Sweeney. "When you're at the bottom of the barrel in the region, that's not good enough."

In Christie's State of the State, National Themes

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