Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Here We Go Again: Is Christie Running?

And so people keep asking me: Is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie running for President?
Why is this happening -- again?
Well, just within the past 48 hours Karl Rove has been suggesting that Christie may be leaving his options open; that he may indeed jump into the fray. Rove says that Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan and Chris Christie could all be late entries into the GOP field.
Look, Chris Christie's not dumb. He's a damned good politician. He knows that none of the current GOP candidates have really seemed to catch on so far. None have really lit a bonfire. He pays attention. And he can read the poll numbers just like anyone else.
A good politician keeps his options open.
But, you respond:  "Christie has said he's not running and there's nothing that could get him to run. Hasn't he closed the door to a presidential run?"
Verbally, he has. And I do believe that in his own mind he's 90% sure he's not running -- maybe even 95%. That's quite certain. And I don't expect Chris Christie to be a candidate this year.
Plus, I believe Christie when he says he's still looking for a candidate to back for the GOP nomination. I take him at his word. I can understand that none of the candidates may have really captivated him so far.
Considering that, it makes sense that Christie must sometimes look at the field and think to himself: "Damn, I can be a better candidate than any of 'em."
So, there's a teeny, tiny, really narrow crack left open in the window (and I stress, just a narrow crack) when it comes to Christie and the presidential race this year.
But there are other factors. And what's more likely is that Christie will hitch his wagon to a GOP star. He'll endorse someone for president.
The Governor believes the next president should have executive experience. And, he's partial to governors.
I don't think Christie would tend to favor Palin. Just not the right chemistry there.
Which means we're looking at either Perry or Romney. Remember this: Christie rose to prominence in politics as a Bush bundler. He raised a ton of money for George W. Bush. And Christie's pal, Bill Palatucci has close ties to the Bushes. Factor in that there is no love lost between the Bushes and Rick Perry. Recall that in 1988 when George H. W. Bush was seeking the GOP nomination for president, Rick Perry was a Democrat and chaired the presidential effort of Al Gore in Texas.
Word is that there's bad blood between the Bush family and Perry.
Which brings us to Romney. Mitt Romney was an early supporter of Chris Christie here in New Jersey. He championed Christie's cause, even before Christie snagged the Republican nomination.
I was there in Haddonfield on a bright sunny day in May, 2009 when Romney endorsed Christie on the steps of the Haddonfield borough hall on Kings Highway. I reported it right here.

“I’m convinced the challenges facing New Jersey and the rest of the country can be overcome with courageous leadership. Chris Christie is a strong conservative voice for balanced budgets, low taxes and more jobs. He will bring badly-needed change to state government,” Romney said at that time.
“By electing Chris Christie, the people of New Jersey will be taking a giant step toward a brighter and more prosperous future,” Romney added.
Romney was right. He bet on a winner.
Now, I've got to believe that Romney & Co. are seeking to collect on that bet.
At a critical place and time -- at just the right place and just the right moment -- Mitt Romney hopes to stand next to Christie (just as Christie once stood next to Romney) and receive Christie's endorsement for president.
And assuming things fall into place (always a big assumption in politics) that may yet happen.
Stay tuned . . . .
Photo copyright 2009 by Dan Cirucci

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