New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie arrives to speak to supporters during an event announcing he will seek the Republican nomination for president, Tuesday, June 30, 2015, at Livingston High School in Livingston, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Standing at a podium at his old high school with no teleprompter, Gov. Chris Christie told a crowded gymnasium full of supporters that America "needs to work together again, not against each other."
The New Jersey governor ended months of speculation Tuesday as he officially threw his hat into the ring, declaring himself a candidate on an already-crowded GOP ballot for the 2016 presidential election.
For months, Christie has been laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign, taking positions on key issues, including opposing an easy pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. He has also spent time speaking out against additional gun control measures and opposing any form of legalized marijuana.
In preparation for his speech, Christie went live with his official campaign website -- chrischristie.com -- and his slogan, "telling it like it is."
Christie began his speech, thanking his supporters, family and friends. He expressed pride in his wife and children and his childhood in Livingston. He said people have asked him why he chose to kick off his campaign at his old alma mater.
"Everything started here. Livingston is home for me," Christie said of his decision.
Christie repeatedly took shots at both Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration, saying the President "lives in his own world, not in our world."
"We have to acknowledge that this government isn't working anymore," the governor said. "We need a government who remembers, you went there to work for us, not the other way around."
Christie said weaknesses in both political parties have "led us to weak leadership around the world."
"I am now ready to fight for the people of the United States of America," Christie said as he officially announced that he would seek a spot on the 2016 ballot.
He promised a campaign without spin or pandering, saying he plans to "tell it like it is."
"We are going to tell it like it is today, so that we can create greater opportunity for tomorrow," he said.
The governor also spoke briefly on the economy and foreign policy.
"The horse is out of the barn, we've gotta get it back in and we can only do it by force. We have to get out economy growing again," he said. "Truth and hard decisions today will lead to growth and opportunity for tomorrow."
Following his speech, Christie will head to New Hampshire, where his campaign trail will begin with a packed, week-long schedule of appearances. As his travels begin, Democratic lawmakers are calling on Christie to step down as governor, saying he has a job to do in New Jersey and he should remain in the state, not campaigning across the country.