Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says that American are turning into couch potatoes, just sitting around waiting on their next check from the government.

Speaking to the Bush Institute Conference on Taxes and Economic Growth in New York City on Tuesday, the first-term governor said that he had "never seen a less optimistic time in my lifetime."

"I think it’s really simple. It’s because government’s now telling them ‘stop dreaming, stop striving, we’ll take care of you.’ We’re turning into a paternalistic entitlement society," Christie explained.

"That will not just bankrupt us financially, it will bankrupt us morally because when the American people no longer believe that this a place where only their willingness to work hard and to act with honor and integrity and ingenuity determines their success in life then we’ll have a bunch of people sittin’ on a couch waiting for their next government check."

He added: "I'm not looking to be loved. I think that politicians get themselves in the biggest trouble when they care more about being loved than being respected."

New Jersey Democrats accused Christie of pandering to conservatives at the expense of working families.

"It’s amazing that even as the governor is caught up in his frenzied efforts to curry favor with the far-right element in the Republican party ... he still finds time to express his resentment and anger towards regular working people," state Sen. Barbara Buono (D) told The Star-Ledger.

Watch the video below, uploaded to YouTube on April 10, 2012.

(H/T: Political Wire, Politico)