CHICAGO -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attacked President Barack Obama on Friday for his comment earlier in the day stating that "the private sector is just fine."

Christie made his remarks in a 25-minute speech here at a conference hosted by the American Conservative Union:


"I heard the president say something today that is one of the core differences between who we are and what he represents for America. He was talking about why job growth hasn't been as robust as it should be, and this is what he said. I was standing there staring at the TV and couldn't believe he said it. He said one of the reasons is because state and government hiring is going in the wrong direction. I swear to you, that's what he said, just a couple of hours ago.

"Now, in New Jersey, we have more state workers per square mile than any state in America. But since I've been governor, we now have fewer people on the state payroll than at any time since Christie Whitman left office in January 2001. That's the right direction, Mr. President, not the wrong direction. The president fundamentally believes that the way to support our economy is to take more taxes from all of you and spend it on more public workers who then will pay a fraction of that money back in taxes.

"If anybody ran a business like that they would be out of business quickly, and Barack Obama's leadership is driving this business, the United States of America, toward a fiscal cliff. We better stand together in the next five months and stop him from doing it."

"It's an outrage to the president of the United States stand up and say to hardworking governors, Republicans and Democrats around this country, that state and local government hiring is moving in the wrong direction, and we're to blame because the economy's not growing.

"He's the one who put forward an ineffective, wasteful stimulus plan that did nothing to help this economy. He's the one who saddled us with all these federal rules and regulations that don't allow governors to do what we really want, and then he's the one that has the audacity to stand up this morning and say that it's the nation's governors and the nation's mayors who are driving our economy down by not hiring enough people for government work?

"If you need to understand with any more clarity the difference between conservative Republican principles and this president, you don't need to listen to one more word of this campaign than what he said behind that podium at the White House today."