A transcript of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s remarks Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention, as provided by the Republican Party.
This stage and this moment are very improbable for me.
A New Jersey Republican delivering the keynote address to our national convention, from a state with 700,000 more Democrats than Republicans.
A New Jersey Republican stands before you tonight. Proud of my party, proud of my state and proud of my country.
I am the son of an Irish father and a Sicilian mother. My Dad, who I am blessed to have with me here tonight, is gregarious, outgoing and loveable.
My Mom, who I lost 8 years ago, was the enforcer. She made sure we all knew who set the rules.
In the automobile of life, Dad was just a passenger. Mom was the driver.
They both lived hard lives. Dad grew up in poverty. After returning from Army service, he worked at the Breyers Ice Cream plant in the 1950s. With that job and the G.I. bill he put himself through Rutgers University at night to become the first in his family to earn a college degree. Our first family picture was on his graduation day, with Mom beaming next to him, six months pregnant with me.
Mom also came from nothing. She was raised by a single mother who took three buses to get to work every day. And mom spent the time she was supposed to be a kid actually raising children - her two younger siblings. She was tough as nails and didn’t suffer fools at all. The truth was she couldn’t afford to. She spoke the truth - bluntly, directly and without much varnish.
I am her son.
I was her son as I listened to "Darkness on the Edge of Town" with my high school friends on the Jersey Shore. I was her son as I moved into a studio apartment with Mary Pat to start a marriage that is now 26 years old.
I was her son as I coached our sons Andrew and Patrick on the fields of Mendham, and as I watched with pride as our daughters Sarah and Bridget marched with their soccer teams in the Labor Day parade.
And I am still her son today, as governor, following the rules she taught me: to speak from the heart and to fight for your principles. She never thought you get extra credit for just speaking the truth.
The greatest lesson Mom ever taught me, though, was this one: she told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. She said to always pick being respected, that love without respect was always fleeting — but that respect could grow into real, lasting love.
Now, of course, she was talking about women.
But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership. In fact, I think that advice applies to America today more than ever.
I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.
Our founding fathers had the wisdom to know that social acceptance and popularity is fleeting and that this country’s principles needed to be rooted in strengths greater than the passions and emotions of the times.
Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular, to do what is easy and say "yes," rather than to say no when "no" is what’s required.
In recent years, we as a country have too often chosen the same path.Next Page >
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