Chris Christie Reconsidering Decision Not To Run For President?

Another round of rumors is out claiming that Chris Christie is thinking about running for President.

With Rick Perry’s debate performances causing many conservatives to doubt his ability as a candidate going forward, attention is one again turning to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and there are numerous reports out their purporting to confirm that Christie is indeed reconsidering his decision to stay out of the Presidential race. It started last night with a report at Newsmax that Christie is again being lobbied by Republican leaders and fundraisers to get into the Presidential race:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is reconsidering his decision not to enter the 2012 presidential race — and he says he will let top Republican donors know within days about his plans, Newsmax has learned.

During the past few weeks, several leading Republican donors and fundraisers have been urging the popular Republican governor to reconsider his decision not to run and to enter the GOP primary.

These Christie supporters note that significant GOP support has remained on the sidelines of the primary fight. Many leading fundraisers have yet to commit to any current primary contender, including frontrunners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.

Newsmax has learned that the effort to draft Christie culminated in a hush-hush powwow held in the past week with Christie and several notable Republican billionaires.

A source familiar with the meeting suggested that Christie seemed inclined to enter the race but said he needed more time.

Christie promised to make a final decision “within two weeks,” the source said.

Another source involved in GOP fundraising tells Newsmax that that uncommitted fundraisers and donors have been receiving phone calls from top political aides to Christie, seeking their feedback about his possible entry into the race.

The Newsmax report was shot down by long time Christie friend and political adviser Bill Palatucci, who told Newark Star-Ledger reporter Ginger Gibson that “Newsmax is wrong.”  Despite this denial, though, reports are persisting today that seem to confirm what NewsMax reported last night. The New York Post says that it has a source that confirms that Christie is indeed reconsidering his Presidential plans, and Politico is out today with it’s own story on this new round of Christie speculation

With the party’s frontrunner sagging, Chris Christie is reconsidering pleas from Republican elites and donors to run for president in 2012, two Republican sources told POLITICO.

The New Jersey governor has indicated he is listening to big-money backers and Republican influence-makers, and will let them know in roughly a week whether he has moved off his threat-of-suicide vow to stay on the sidelines of a presidential race that remains amorphous heading into the fall, the two sources said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s candidacy has failed to clear a basic bar with elites and some donors, and his shoddy debate performance in Orlando has only highlighted the window for someone who Republicans searching for a Mitt Romney alternative can rally around.

Christie’s potential candidacy has been an increasingly fevered fantasy of a certain cadre of some media and business elites — mostly based in New York, with a smattering of California technology and entertainment players — since last summer. That’s when he showed up at a Sun Valley conference hosted by the investment banker Allen and Co. and wowed the crowd, including Rupert Murdoch, with what many in attendance described as a nimble mind and a speaking style that was both articulate and blunt-spoken.

But after months of going out of his way to end the speculation, Christie started indicating he would at least think about getting in during the past week, the sources said, a period in which he held an event with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels — who has strongly indicated he’d like to see another entry to the field — and had a meeting with a group of major New York donors.

The meeting, which was with a tighter group than one he held a few months ago that featured major check-raisers like Ken Langone, Paul Singer, David Koch and Charles Schwab, and abut 35 other people, was first reported by the NewsMax website. Many of the donors have described the current climate to Christie as a rare historic moment to get in.

“I believe he is really considering it,” one fundraiser told POLITICO.

Another source said Christie had been assured by the group that the money would be there if he were to run — not just in terms of what could be bundled in hard campaign committee dollars, but also in the form of a super PAC that could receive unlimited funds

Some pundits and Christie boosters are finding significance in remarks that Christie made earlier this week during a joint appearance with Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who has been touring the country promoting his new book:

The failure of the Republican presidential candidates to tell candid truths to the American public about the economic crisis is the reason conservatives keep begging him to run for president, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Thursday at an appearance with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R).

Christie, who has made blunt talk about New Jersey’s problems the hallmark of his first term as governor, said Americans know the current struggles require everyone to sacrifice and are tired of both parties’ politicians sugarcoating the truth.

“I think what the country is thirsting for, more than anything else right now, is someone of stature and credibility to tell them that and say, ‘Here’s where I want us to go to deal with this crisis,'” Christie said at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J. “The fact that nobody yet who’s running for president, in my view, has done that effectively is why you continue to hear people ask Daniels if he’ll reconsider and ask me if I’ll reconsider.”

It all sounds like someone who is at least thinking about getting into the Presidential race. Of course, it also sounds like it’s all just wishful thinking on the part of conservative pundits and Republican insiders who are displeased with the current field and are now starting to doubt that Rick Perry is the guy who can both beat Mitt Romney for the nomination and go on to win a General Election against Barack Obama. As I noted earlier this week, though, this kind of wishful thinking tends to ignore some basic realities about Christie, and the 2012 race for the GOP nomination, that make this whole thing little more than fantasy.

For one thing, as I’ve said before, and as one Republican insider said to Politico’s Mike Allen this morning, Christie has said more than once over the past year that he doesn’t believe he’s experienced enough to be President at this point in time:

“There are three reasons [Christie probably won’t take the bait.] One is: He genuinely believes that he’s not prepared on an issue and substance basis to address all of the things you have to address as a candidate, and he’s leery of learning on the fly. Two, the performance of Perry shows the dangers of late entry: It’s right in front of him. And while others use that as a reason for him to GET in, for him, it’s the opposite – it’s the reason that validates his decision NOT to get in this late. And the third is that … you sit and look at the map … and the path for Chris Christie [to get more delegates than Romney] is difficult to chart … If he gets in, the first thing he has to do is beat Perry and establish himself as the REAL anti-Romney. And the path to doing that is difficult: Perry’s not going to just drop out.”

Exactly. The one thing you never hear from the people who keep trying to boost the idea of a Christie run is what is path to victory in the Republican race would be. Yes, he’s become a popular figure nationally among Republicans thanks to his out spoken demeanor and his willingness to take on the opposition. However, he also strays from conservative orthodoxy on several issues including climate change, Islam, and the Tea Party. He’s also distanced himself from the GOP’s “Drill Baby Drill” rhetoric on energy policy by supporting a ban on drilling off the coast of New Jersey. How, exactly, does a candidate like that win over conservative voters in states like Iowa, or pretty much anywhere in the South? If Christie really is talking to these top Republicans, I would hope for his own sake that he’s asking them that question, because I’m going to bet they don’t have a credible answer.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Let’s see if he can win reelection in Jersey before we decide he’s the New Next Reagan™. And I say that as someone who likes Christie.

  2. ponce says:

    It would be hard for Gov. Krispy Kreme to distance himself from his own words:

    But I’ve got to believe I’m ready to be president, and I don’t.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    I agree with your analysis, Doug: this is all about hope and not about realism. He’s a fat guy with a thick Jersey accent and a pragmatic political philosophy that doesn’t feed the Right Rage. He might do well in the general, but in terms of selling in the south he’s Giuliani without 9-11.

  4. WR says:

    @michael reynolds: Republicans love him because he’s a rude bully who’s willing to shout at people who are much weaker than he is. In terms of governing he’s been a disaster to everyone except the super-rich, and his in-state poll numbers have plummeted.

    I hope he does get in — because that will end this creep’s inexplicable political career for once and for all.

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    Appearance matters – who was the last fat president we elected.

  6. john personna says:

    I’m at the other end of the BMI scale, but I find the guy likable. He uses a “disarming big guy” shtick, but it seems genuine at some level too.

  7. Hey Norm says:

    Forget appearance…can a 400# guy stand up to the rigors of a Presidential race??? Much less actually serving? Look at how Obama has aged in 3 yrs. Look at how Bush 43 aged.

  8. ponce says:

    Forget appearance…can a 400# guy stand up to the rigors of a Presidential race???

    You reminded me of this incident:

    According to the Newark Star Ledger the Governor landed in the $12.5 million helicopter right before the game began, and then “got into a black car with tinted windows that drove him about a 100 yards to the baseball field” His son Andrew is the starting catcher on his high school team.

    The helicopter is bad enough, but having to get driven the last 100 yards puts Gov. Krispy Kreme in Jabba the Hutt territory…

  9. michael reynolds says:

    I have no objection to him being overweight — for obvious reasons having to do with hypocrisy. But image does matter and it might hurt him.

  10. Hey Norm says:

    A guy that size in the most stressful job on the planet makes the VP choice super important.

  11. Hey Norm says:

    He’s got to be on BP medicine. Pre-diabetic? Questions about his health are going to dog him and be a distraction for the entire campaign.

  12. JohnMcC says:

    Wonderfully amusing to see the Repubs squirming and flailing, whining and writhing at the thought of the inevitability of Mittens. This is the party that nominated John McCain even though most of them really didn’t like him; they didn’t know what else to do. Can a party that cannot find a candidate that reflects itself actually, you know, govern a country?

    To ask that question is answer enough.

    If the Repub party falls into pieces after the next few elections, which could certainly happen, I would miss the show.

  13. rodney dill says:

    @Ron Beasley: @Ron Beasley:

    Appearance matters – who was the last fat president we elected.

    Bill Clinton? …but that was probably only for the second term. Actually with the BMI measurements that will be used Obama and George W. might be the only ones in recent times to not be considered fat. Christie would be the most visibly overweight since maybe Taft?

  14. says:

    I’m not a fan of Christie, but the name calling is probably not the best tactic. It generally says more about the person speaking than the person spoken about (though, yes, Gov Krispie Kreme was clever the first time.) That questions of health and weight are definitely valid.

    I guess this constant search for a “savior” candidate by the GOP is kind of wearing a bit thin – what is this the fourth or fifth so far this election and we’re still more than a year away? At what point does the poorness/unelectibality of the candidates reflect not on the individuals, but as something more fundamentally wrong within the party?

  15. Herb says:

    Herman Cain’s straw poll win in Florida and this pining for Christie are all signs that the incumbent will be re-elected.

  16. anjin-san says:

    Seeing how quickly Perry is self destructing has to give him ideas.

  17. casimir says:

    i think he should serve at least 1 term. i’m sick of getting people in the white house who do not have the public experience for the job. i would say neither bush nor obama were ready and i don’t think chris christie is either- at least not yet.

  18. Mr. Prosser says:

    I think what’s interesting is not whether Christie gets in the race. The Gorilla no one mentioned was the names in the group supposedly wanting him to run. Murdoch, Koch, Schwab, investment banks, etc. The big boys are finally worried. Who knows? They may end up surreptitiously (sp?) funding the moderate Democrat.

  19. nance says:
  20. nance says:

    The man agreed it was a mistake and paid for the helicopter ride, take a look at what our president has cost us in vacations and jaunts around the world…ninety percent pleasure, check out how much his trip to Hawaii for a reunion cost? And what about Michelle, ten million dollars on the last vacation with her family? and you complain about one copter ride? get real….The amount of taxpayers money he spends would tend to be more of a concern than a coptor ride to a ball game.
    I would love to see what some of you look like who insist on calling him names…..!

  21. An Interested Party says:

    …check out how much his trip to Hawaii for a reunion cost? And what about Michelle, ten million dollars on the last vacation with her family?

    Umm, evidence? Links?

  22. Fiona says:

    I agree with Doug. I don’t see a pathway for a relatively moderate, Northeastern Republican to win his party’s nomination. Giuliani would have had the same problem if his campaign had ever gotten off the ground. Christie may play well with Republican elites and the more secular elements of the party, but how does he play with the base?

  23. slimslowslider says:

    Yep, still waiting on links for that Michelle Obama/10 Million dollar vacation claim…