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The Defining Issue Of This Election

By Columns

He's a hero to Republicans, a fiscal conservative, a take-no-prisoners tough-talking politician. He's the governor of New Jersey: Chris Christie.He disappointed many by not running for President or taking the second spot on the Romney ticket, but he did just accept the top speaker spot at the Republican convention in Tampa.  Republicans hope that Christie, though not running for the White House himself, can fire up supporters enough to get Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan there. There's a lot of substance to Christie's sharp and often abrasive style. He gets results.  New Jersey, like many states around the country, was facing its own fiscal cliff two years ago and Christie did what many thought impossible: He got the state's budget under control twice without raising taxes. He even topped off the state's cash reserves, and pumped billions into state pension funds. He also took on the most powerful forces in New Jersey – the public sector unions - and won.   Christie shifted the cost burden from taxpayers to state and local union workers by making them pay more for their health and retirement benefits.  He also took on the teachers unions, and confronted another seemingly impossible hurdle: The state's teacher tenure law, which was the oldest in the country; over 100 years old. Christie just signed a new law holding teachers more accountable, and takes away - though not completely - the guarantee of a good job for a bad teacher. All of these things were unthinkable before Chris Christie. Cutting spending, making government smaller and less expensive. In all of these cases, Christie didn't get everything he wanted. He had to compromise with Democrats. After all New Jersey is a blue state.Democrats control the legislature, but Christie got the job done. And voters know that. His approval rating is 54%.  Among Republicans his approval rating is 87%.  Chris Christie is never afraid to speak the truth. He's often said: “Look, I’m sorry I’m the guy with all the bad news.” But what he did was wake people up to the realities of what was going on. No more promises we can't keep, he says. The same issues we as a nation are all facing now - promises made by politicians they knew they couldn't keep. Whether it's the truth about the state of entitlement programs or the truth about the fact we can't spend a trillion dollars a year more than we collect in taxes. That's the defining issue of this election. 

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