Washington (CNN) - The popular Republican governor of a traditionally blue state has a message for GOP candidates: "put up or shut up."
"It's put up or shut up time for the Republican party once we get the opportunity to govern again," New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told reporters outside a GOP retreat on Wednesday in Washington. "If the voters do give us that opportunity in November on the federal level, it's time for us to deliver. And it won't be easy."
Christie pulled off an upset victory last year over unpopular Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. Since his election, he has drawn national attention for pushing budget cuts through a Democratic state legislature. He's received enough praise that Christie's name is now mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2012.
The enthusiastic reception Christie received at a House GOP Conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday won't discourage that perception. After huddling with Republicans before they return to their home districts to campaign, Christie stayed for meetings with Republican officials. He said he advised Republicans running for office to "be yourselves."
"People want to be treated like adults in America," he told CNN. "They don't want to be pandered to anymore. They know we're in really hard times and they know there's going to be sacrifices that are going to be necessary and we've got to tell them that."
Christie has been campaigning with Republican candidates across the country and will continue to do so in the weeks before the mid-term elections.