Republican presidential candidate, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations, November 24, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson—Getty Images
By Zeke J Miller
November 24, 2015

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie test-drove a new message highlighting his experience in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations Tuesday, aimed at the political novices running for office.

Riffing on the theme of “newness” in a race in which experience has become a liability, Christie argued that ” new seems fabulous, until the moment comes when you need experience.”

Christie, a two-term governor and former U.S. Attorney, has adjusted his message in the wake of this month’s Paris attacks to highlight his time as a prosecutor, when some of his early cases dealt with terrorism charges.

The line of attack is aimed squarely at rivals like Sen. Marco Rubio, who is surging in the polls as a one-term lawmaker and is best positioned to compete with Christie in New Hampshire. Other targets are Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina, who currently are riding high in the polls on their outsider appeal.

Here’s what he said:

“Always in political campaigns there’s this emphasis on new. Right? New can be exciting. It really can. New can be exciting. It can be attractive. New can be wonderful. It’s shiny, it’s perfect, it’s untouched. New is untarnished. But new is untested. New is not necessarily reliable. New seems fabulous, until the moment comes when you need experience. Experience in taming the bureaucracy. Experience in facing down one’s adversaries, experience in staring down unfair attacks from the media. Experience in formulating policies that will actually work, that can serve people. This President was new in 2008 – boy was he ever. He was new. And let’s look at what that legacy of newness and inexperience has brought us. Record number of people out of the workforce, record number of people on disability, Obamacare, a more than doubling of the national debt, increased – not decreased – racial tensions in our country, and a foreign policy that, at best, has been inconsistent and ineffective. Just think of some of the things the President has told us just in the past few years. He claimed our borders were more secure than they have ever been. He claimed that after Gaddafi and Mubarak were gone that the Middle East would be a safer place. He said that Al Qaeda was on the run. He said that ISIS was the JV. And just hours before the attacks in Paris, he told George Stephanopoulos that his strategy was succeeding and that ISIS was contained. All of these statements, every one of them, has turned out to be wrong. This is the problem. Newness and inexperience allows you to see the world as you want to see it, as a fantasy. Not the way the world really is. We can’t afford to have another person behind the desk in the Oval Office who sees America as he sees it. We can’t afford to elect another president without the requisite experience and values that our founders enshrined in the Declaration and in the Constitution.”

Read Next: Chris Christie’s New Pitch: Elect a Prosecutor-In-Chief


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