CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 11: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at a Economic Club of Chicago luncheon moderated by Greg Brown, Chairman & CEO of Motorola Solutions on February 11, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Christie is in Chicago to help raise money for the Republican Governors Association that he chairs (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
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Updated: February 11, 2014 9:56PM
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie brought his down-to-earth demeanor – and his high hopes – to a Chicago fund-raising luncheon on Tuesday, declaring that it’s possible for a Republican to claim the governor’s mansion in the Land of Lincoln.
“Have faith baby!” he called out to the more than 1,200 attendees. “I won twice in New Jersey. It can happen.”
There are four Republicans running for the GOP primary nomination in the Illinois governor’s race.
Only one was in the crowd on Tuesday.
State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington said he didn’t understand why others didn’t show.
“I can’t imagine why. They’ll have to speak to why they’re not here,” Brady said.
Brady defended Christie when he was asked if the New Jersey Republican — with a scandal over a bridge closure dogging him — should step down from the helm of the Republican Governors Association.
“Listen, Chris Christie has raised a record amount of money I think for Mitt Romney,” Brady said. “He’s very popular, there’s over 1,600 people I think here today in Chicago because he’s intriguing. He’s bold and he has initiatives that we need.”
Christie, a New Jersey Republican, is also the head of the Republican Governors Association, which has in the past given millions of dollars to Republican Illinois gubernatorial candidates — including to Brady in 2010.
The forum, put on by the Economic Club of Chicago, was a question and answer session between Christie and Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown.
Brown asked about the George Washington lane closure scandal that has dogged Christie in recent months. State assembly, U.S. Attorney and an internal investigation are now underway into the closures that were done purportedly as political payback to a mayor who would not endorse Christie.
“Actually, I’m shocked you brought that up,” Christie said looking down and adjusting his tie as the crowd laughed. “People who worked for me made some significant mistakes in judgment.”
Christie went on to say he fired employees who were behind it and backed away from having personal knowledge of the event.
Christie said he held “extraordinary disappointment that people that I had trusted had made such bad judgments and not told the truth.”
When asked about how to make progress in Washington, Christie talked about the capital needing a dose of civility.
“What you have to do is develop relationships. That’s what’s so lacking in Washington D.C. today is relationships. I can use a lot of words for Washington D.C. ‘civilized’ would not be one of them.”
Christie blamed President Obama for failing to forge relationships in Congress.
Christie said when Obama first assumed the presidency he held supermajorities and took them for granted.
“I don’t think he came in with respect for the other party. He ignored them. You never know when you’re going to need them,” Christie said. “I think the president has to take a great deal of responsibility for the atmosphere in Washington D.C.”