The Republican National Convention released a transcript of keynote speaker Chris Christie's remarks (as prepared for delivery). Read the full text below:
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.
It’s been easy for our leaders to say not us, and not now, in taking on the tough issues. And we’ve stood silently by and let them get away with it.
But tonight, I say enough.
I say, together, let’s make a much different choice. Tonight, we are speaking up for ourselves and stepping up.
We are beginning to do what is right and what is necessary to make our country great again.
We are demanding that our leaders stop tearing each other down, and work together to take action on the big things facing America.
Tonight, we choose respect over love.
We are not afraid. We are taking our country back.
We are the great grandchildren of men and women who broke their backs in the name of American ingenuity; the grandchildren of the Greatest Generation; the sons and daughters of immigrants; the brothers and sisters of everyday heroes; the neighbors of entrepreneurs and firefighters, teachers and farmers, veterans and factory workers and everyone in-between who shows up not just on the big days or the good days, but on the bad days and on the hard days.
Each and every day. All 365 of them.
We are the United States of America.
Now we must lead the way our citizens live. To lead as my mother insisted I live, not by avoiding truths, especially the hard ones, but by facing up to them and being the better for it.
We cannot afford to do anything less.
I know because this was the challenge in New Jersey.
When I came into office, I could continue on the same path that led to wealth, jobs and people leaving the state or I could do the job the people elected me to do – to do the big things.