Gov. Chris Christie will tell attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday that conservatives need to stop letting the media define who they are and fight back against stereotypes perpetuated by political adversaries, according to an aide familiar with the speech.
After failing to get an invite to last year's CPAC, the New Jersey governor is set to address thousands of activists at the annual conservative confab in National Harbor, Md., Thursday just before noon.
According to a summary of the main points of his speech provided to U.S. News, Christie will advise conservatives to take a more proactive approach in defining themselves.
"To do this, Christie will advocate the importance of doing what is uncomfortable: engaging unlikely allies and listening," says the source close to Christie, who declined to be named.
In addition, Christie will tout his reputation as a no-nonsense executive with a record of legislative accomplishments in a blue state as a Republican. He'll also tip his hat to his fellow GOP governors.
"Christie will draw on other Republican governors as examples of executives who have followed this brand of leadership – making tough decisions, not letting politics get in the way of doing the job and focusing on action instead of automatically defaulting to partisan rhetoric – in sharp contrast with the dysfunction and inaction of Washington, D.C.," the source says.
He'll also attempt to make a case to a skeptical audience that he's a true conservative by stressing "the importance of focusing on what we are for and not what we are against."
"The message: We can’t just be against something for the sake of being against it. Christie will call on the audience and the party not to waste time with political arguments that do nothing to turn our ideas into results. Conservative ideas are at work in states all across the country and when we lead with ideas, we win," he will say, according to the source.
Christie is one of nine potential GOP presidential candidates who will address CPAC over the next two days. But due to the controversy surrounding his administration's role in the closing of bridge lanes for political retribution and his tense relationship with the right wing of his party, no speech is more highly anticipated than Christie's.