New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie promised a "big and bold" debate performance from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney Sunday, assuring ABC's George Stephanopoulos that Romney will provide the "shake up" some say his campaign needs.
After Stephanopoulos said Mitt Romney has fallen behind in the polls recently, adding that he needs to "shake things up" if he expects to beat Barack Obama in November, Christie responded (all subsequent emphasis added):
"He's going to. Every time Mitt Romney has been confronted in this campaign with one of these moments, he has come through in the debate and performed extraordinarily well, laying out his vision very clearly and contrasting himself and his vision with whoever his opponent was at that time. So I have absolute confidence that when we get to Thursday morning, George, you all are going to be shaking your heads and saying it's a brand new race with 33 days to go."
When Stephanopoulos asked how Romney should balance being tough on Obama and forging a connection with voters, Christie suggested:
"Be truthful. Listen, all he's got to do is go out there and tell the truth, because if you tell the truth about what's going on in our country, people are going to understand...but also to lay out a positive and hopeful vision for what the future can be for our children and our grandchildren under a Romney administration. I think he can do both...Mitt Romney can walk and chew gum at the same time. I'm not worried."
Here is the interview, via Mediaite:
From there, Stephanopoulos quizzed Christie on how he would respond to a number of potential debate questions. The governor primarily reacted in his characteristic no-nonsense fashion, saying things like "stop lying" before giving a straightforward analysis and comprehensible metaphor.
"If the same amount of money's coming out [of your pocket], you're not paying less," he explained at one point. "What we're trying to do is set up a system where America can be more competitive in its tax rates both on a corporate level and on an individual level with the rest of the world, because we're now competing in a global economy."
When Stephanopoulos played a statement from conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer urging Romney to take bolder action, Christie reiterated his assurances.
"The fact is that the ideas are there, but let's face it George, there's been a lot of filtering going on [by the media]. I'm not going to sit here and complain about coverage...but what I will tell you is this is the first moment when the American people are going to be able to see these two guys side-by-side, laying out their vision, unfiltered-- and I think that's going to be a powerful moment for Mitt Romney..."