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Posted by on Sep 24, 2011 in Politics | 10 comments

TWO Reports: New Jersey’s Chris Christie Reconsiders Announcing for President (UPDATE 2)

I don’t normally readjust my expectations based on a NewsMax article, but I do believe this one has validity: according to the conservative website, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is seriously reconsidering issuing a “NEVER MIND!” on his previous refusal to run for President and could well jump into the GOP’s frayed Republican nomination fray:

UPDATE: This story is now gaining strength — and credibility — with this report from The Politico:

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.

But all of these reports also need to be considered in context with this from the New York Post:

Not everyone is convinced that Christie is ready to jump aboard.

Three people in direct contact with Christie issued concrete denials last night, saying he hasn’t changed his mind and is committed to staying out of the race — no matter how weak the field of candidates may be perceived to be.

Read more:

Back to the NewsMax report and my original post:

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.

Earlier this week Christie hinted at the effort to draft him when he spoke at a special forum that included Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Sometimes these kinds of reports are actually campaigns to try to pressure someone to jump in the race. They hope to create a groundswell so someone feels almost obligated to enter — feeling there is this massive cry from the people (these people almost always have tons of money and aren’t people looking for bargains in grocery stores or lifting a few cool ones in a tiny corner bar). And Christie has made it clear in the past he was not going to run in his own inimitable way: “Short of suicide, I don’t really know what I’d have to do to convince you people that I’m not running. I’m not running! I’ve said I don’t want to. I’m not going to. There is zero chance I will. I don’t feel like I’m ready to be president. I don’t want to run for president. I don’t have the fire in the belly to run for president. But, yet, everyone seems to think that I’ve left the door open a little bit.”

But here’s why I think this report carries some validity:

1. Various GOPers in reports over the past few days have suggested that they a)think another candidate could enter b)think others are reconsidering c)clamor for Christie. It’s clear that some top members of the GOP’s media and political establishment — what there is that’s left of it in the face of the party’s increasing subservience to the Tea Party movement and powerful talk show hosts who set the agenda and provide the muscle now to get candidates elected.

2. Obama is increasingly down in the polls despite his party’s liberal wing cheering on his new more confrontational tone.

3. The economy is in the tank — apart from whether Republicans took the cue from “I hope he fails” Rush Limbaugh and have done everything they could do to checkmate Obama’s proposed fixes to it and continue to do so.

4. Christie cannot be brushed off as another talk radio political culture/tea party movement candidate. He defended a Muslim American who he appointed as a judge. He made it clear he did not go along with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s contention that disaster aid had to be delayed to first find cuts elsewhere in the budget.

5. He reportedly attended a recent seminar held by the Koch Brothers.

6. He is a GOP style “Trumanesque” figure at a time when Barack Obama is trying to slip into his own Trumanesque mode. Except in Christie’s case, it’s natural.

7. Texas Gov Rick Perry is increasingly perceived as damaged goods or not ready for Prime Time and his nomination will be a risk for the GOP. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has honed his debate, speaking and message skills he still has his work cut out for him to win the trust of his party’s conservative wing who fear he is still a closet moderate Republican.

8. Christie may never have such conditions in his favor as he now has.

9. All of the above could ignite a fire in his belly.

On the other hand:

1. He has been clear that no matter how much he is wooed he won’t get in.

2. In 2008 the same clamor was starting for actor Fred Thompson who withered.

3. No matter how popular a regional or state figure, once they are on the national stage it changes, the scrutiny changes, and comments or things they have have been given a pass on are not longer given a pass. If they are feisty the act can get old and they can misstep.

4. Once someone enters the race then they are an automatic target of their political competitors for the nomination and the news media vets them as never before and unless they want to emulate Sarah Palin and run away from tough questions and do most political discussion in p.r. interviews with Sean Hannity or on Facebook or Twitter, they will face tough questions and follow ups from the mainstream news media…which still does exist.

Read John Avlon’s MUST READ on Christie that he wrote at the end of the month in full. It’s about how attractive he is to GOPers and potentially to independent voters and how he was staying out of it. Here’s one key paragraph of the piece whic has an extensive interview:

As Hurricane Irene bore down on the East Coast on Saturday afternoon, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had a simple message: “Get the hell off the beach.”

“You’re done. It’s 4:30 p.m. You’ve maximized your tan,” he bellowed from behind a podium, flanked by state officials. Early the next morning, as the storm hit New Jersey, leaving half a million residents without power, Christie stood vigil at an emergency-operations center, giving updates to the Sunday shows. Days later he was still on the scene, touring flooded areas as rivers swelled, in full view of TV cameras.

Critics say Christie’s tactics were typically heavy-handed and self-aggrandizing. Supporters turned “get the hell off the beach” into a rallying cry, adding to his reputation as the un-Obama: unapologetic, unceremonial, and unmistakably in charge.

It seems that every move Christie makes these days is accompanied by the drumbeats of a draft movement. Billionaire businessmen, conservative commentators, and grassroots Tea Party enthusiasts—they’ve all been begging him to get in the 2012 presidential race, despite his repeated resistance.

“It’s incredibly flattering,” Christie says, “but I’ve been pretty clear about it. I know what I want do and what I don’t want to do.” Rarely has a fat man tried harder not to get a date.

The Politico’s Maggie Haberman:

The Christie chatter has ratcheted up again in the past two weeks, but as I’ve said, it’s very hard to separate what is actually the governor reconsidering his very hard, threat-of-suicide “no” to a campaign from what his supporters and some major donors are wishing for.

Hot Air’s Allahpundit:

I lost patience with the Christie speculation weeks ago but I’m going to make an exception for this for three very good reasons. One: It’s late Friday afternoon and I need some easy traffic bait. Mission accomplished. Two: Perry reeked last night. A month ago, it seemed entirely possible that he’d stomp Romney in the debates and have the nomination locked up by early fall. As it is, Romney’s at 44.9 on InTrade right now while Perry’s wheezing along at 27. Plenty of room for an even alpha-er alpha male (or female) to jump in and start stomping. Three: Newsmax is a player in right-wing media and might have an inside track here. And they’re not the only ones….. My sense is that these guys are pushing because they have reason to believe that Christie’s still ever so slightly open to running. Verrrrry slightly. But slightly.

Greta Van Susteren:

Right now he seems to be the darling (like Gov Daniels) of many Republicans but there is nothing like being a non candidate to advance your popularity. If he does run, he may not be so sought after…as you know, politics is a very tough sport.

And, yes, this Washington Post item of a few days ago now takes on a special light:

In a small gathering of online political reporters at the Heritage Foundation, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniel gave his stamp of approval to Gov. Chris Christie, who is now the focus of some conservatives’ efforts to get the New Jersey governor into the race. Daniels, who attended a forum with Christie on Thursday, said “ Chris and I are good buds” When I pressed as to whether he was the sort of bold leader the party and country needed, he answered, “ Chris is the best example that I can think of. He shares my view that too many of our colleagues are too timid.”

Daniels ’ focus is on entitlement reform and the looming economic disaster that will befall us if we do not get our finances in order. (I’ll have more on that and his new book in the days to come.) Daniels says many politicians want to nibble around the edges or chastise the other side. “Chris and I see it a little differently,” he explained. Pointing to his New Jersey record on reining in state employee’ benefits, Daniels tells me, “He’s done well by meeting things head on.”

However, Daniels clearly didn’t want to leave out the possibility that the current field would stay the same. When asked if he was satisfied by the current group of candidates, he replied, “My answer would be there are some good people. I’m hoping our eventual nominee will decide to run the kind of campaign to lay the predicate for doing big things.”

And THIS ITEM by the Star Ledger’s Kevin Manahan on August 21st takes on a new light, too:

Enough with the ridiculous, self-serving speculation. Enough with a governor who moonlights giving lap dances to GOP kingmakers while publicly insisting he has no intention of getting into bed with them no matter how many singles they wave at him. When I was in school, we had a name for people like that..

...Still, just wait until the country discovers that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is an empty pair of alligator boots with a grade-school understanding of economics who wants to appoint the Holy Spirit as head of Homeland Security. The Batphone on Christie’s desk will start blinking again.

He gives these reasons why Christie will never run or be President: anger issues, his weight and health issues, most American’s aren’t millionaires, voters in New Jersey will talk the rest of the country out of it, he’s a bully, women and the gender gap, an obsession for the next job, he doesn’t have the temperment to deal with foreign affairs –and Bruce Springstein. Go to the link to read the full explanations.