Former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean has known Governor Chris Christie since Christie was a teenager.
Kean has mentored Christie and is an unofficial Christie adviser.
Governor Kean is highly influential within top-level GOP circles -- particularly among the elite of the Republican Party. He's seen as a vital connection to what some people call "country club" or "cuff link" Republicans.
Governor Kean is well regarded in New Jersey where he served two terms and proved to be extremely popular. He's also well-regarded nationally and respected by the dominant media.
Now Kean is saying that Chris Christie is indeed considering a presidential run -- he's taking another look at it. Kean also confirms that Christie's reconsideration has been prompted by GOP leaders and monied sources who are unhappy with the current crop of candidates.
This is significant because Kean is very smooth, circumspect and discreet. He's disciplined. He does not speak out of turn. When Tom Kean speaks, people listen.
And one must assume that Kean would never drop these hints about a Christie presidential run without Chris Christie's knowledge and consent.
So this is more than a trial balloon, for sure. But it doesn't necessarily mean that Christie's ready to get into the race. Still, it's a step closer.
Kean says that Christie will not "tease" people (a subtle knock at Palin, there?) and that Christie will speak frankly and candidly -- soon -- about his intentions.
Christie's style is not Kean's style, to be sure. Christie is much more blunt and often more confrontational. But Kean has a high regard for Christie and understands why people are responding so favorably toward him in the current climate.
One other thing: The timing of Christie's speech tomorrow at the Ronald Reagan Library in California could be propitious. We could get a better indication of Christie's intentions depending on what he says tomorrow.
Hold on tight -- it may be about to get very interesting, folks.