(CNN) – Gov. Chris Christie, who chairs the Republican Governors Association, argued Wednesday that fiscal problems back at home in New Jersey aren't clouding his leadership abilities at the RGA.
The group has been aggressively pushing a message that states are better off economically under Republican governors. Christie was asked at a press conference in New York whether that same argument can be made in the Garden State.
The governor pointed to a drop in the unemployment rate since he became governor in 2009 and made the case that the Garden State has a more difficult political climate than other states with Republican governors.
"I often am jealous of my three colleagues up here who have Republican legislatures who could actually have Republican policies implemented, where in my state, everything that I've had to do has been the issue of a compromise or battle with the Democratic legislature," he said.
Christie was sitting alongside Govs. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Mike Pence of Indiana at the RGA press event.
"Every state is going to be different," he added.
Christie announced Tuesday that he'll have to slash pension payments in order to close an unexpected $800 million budget shortfall. The move comes as New Jersey has seen six credit downgrades by credit rating agencies since he became governor, in part because of the state's $52 billion pension debt
The potential GOP presidential contender already made major reforms to the pension system in his first term, and he's still urging for more changes. He defended his economic record Wednesday, saying he's had to compromise at times with the Democratic-controlled legislature but he has also vetoed every income tax hike proposal he's received.
"Given the success the RGA's had in the first five-six months of the leadership of me and Governor (Bobby) Jindal in terms of raising money and expanding the map, I don't think anyone's concerned about whether or not me or Bobby can make the case," he said.
Jindal, who's also mulling a White House bid, was RGA chairman last year and currently serves as vice chairman.
Haley also defended Christie at the event Wednesday.
"Let's be clear, we would not want him to give up the chairmanship. He completely has the backing of all of the Republican governors. He's been a rock star," she said, citing his fundraising ability and efforts to spread their message. "We wouldn't let him step down."
Haley is running for re-election this year.