New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in a speech Tuesday that an indecisive White House has deepened the nation's economic pain, and he accused President Obama of preparing to divide the country to win re-election next year.
The Republican governor, who after the speech again dismissed any notion of his entering the 2012 presidential race, also warned his Ronald Reagan Presidential Library audience that the nation's credibility abroad was being damaged by troubles at home.
He didn't spare Congress: In a scathing indictment of inside-the-Beltway politics, he said the failure to compromise, along with Obama's lack of leadership, had set the country dangerously off-course.
In Washington "we drift from conflict to conflict, with little or no resolution. We watch a president who once talked about the courage of his convictions, but still has yet found the courage to lead," Christie said.
"We watch a Congress at war with itself because they are unwilling to leave campaign-style politics at the Capitol's door. The result is a debt-ceiling limitation debate that made our democracy appear as if we could no longer effectively govern ourselves," he said.
The speech -- delivered at a shrine to America's 40th president, with former first lady Nancy Reagan in the audience -- came during a three-day national trip. Christie mocked Obama as "a bystander in the Oval Office" who was preparing to divide the nation along economic lines to win another four years in Washington.
"The image of the United States around the world is not what it was," Christie said.
"This country pays a price whenever our economy fails to deliver rising living standards to our citizens, which is exactly what has been the case for years now."