With a political style that is blunt and direct, Christie said, "I don't think people in difficult times are yearning to be lied to. I think they're yearning for the truth. During hard times you need the truth more than ever, so I think the times are suited to my personality."
Plus, he joked, as a Republican governor in a heavily Democratic state, "I'm playing with house money."
Christie said it is important to "be straight with people, give them your honest opinion, act boldly, act decisively and don't worry about the political consequences."
True leaders don't follow opinion polls, he said, they change opinion polls.
He encouraged voters to cast ballots for candidates who are "courageous" and willing to be honest with the public.
'The disaster governor'
Responding to a question from the audience, Christie said he feels as if he has been "the disaster governor," given that during his tenure the state has dealt with blizzards, hurricanes, floods and an earthquake.
Keys to dealing with disasters include advance preparedness, solid real-time information on which to base decisions and communication, he said.
In an example of Christie bluntness, he grew agitated as Hurricane Irene bore down on the actual Jersey shore and he saw images on television of people on the sand putting on tanning lotion and playing in the surf, and finally told all to "get the hell off the beach."
"We evacuated 1.2 million people in 24 hours without incident," Christie said. "New Jerseyans don't understand subtleties -- if they did, they wouldn't have elected me."
Responding to an introductory comment by moderator Ralph Begleiter, director of the sponsoring UD Center for Political Communication about him flirting with a bid for the Republican nomination for president, Christie said that wasn't the case. "They were flirting with me," he joked. "I said I wasn't going to run. They wouldn't leave me alone."
Asked about media interest in a presidential bid, Christie said, "I think they would find me entertaining" as someone who wouldn't give "blow dried answers" and who has a large physical stature.