Last month, House Republicans invited Christie to a closed-door strategy meeting. He praised them for opposing some of Obama’s initiatives and predicted that they would be awarded by the voters. But he added a blunt warning.

“This is put up or shut up time,” he said, according to officials at the meeting. “If we don’t do what we promise to do, then we will be sent to the wilderness for a long time.”

“I said, ‘I’m rooting for you guys, and I want you to win control of the House again,’ but I said, ‘You better do what you said you’re going to do,’ ” Christie said in an interview. “They have to show progress. They have to show [the deficit] moving down. [Voters] want to see you making steady, consistent progress towards bringing us to fiscal sanity.”