Again. And again.
And yet, the pack media were on that particular trail this week and especially Tuesday, so we got story after story about the New Jersey governor and the possibility that he might enter the presidential race. It gained traction all day and evening so no matter what the governor himself said, supporters and eager media weren’t satisfied that he knew what was best for himself.
Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie could be about to turn down his best chance of becoming U.S. president, saying “no” just when his political fortunes may be at their peak.
Privately and publicly, influential Republicans are urging Christie to run and are prepared to raise money. That’s because Democratic President Barack Obama is politically vulnerable with little prospect for an ascendant economy to provide a boost before the November 2012 election and none of the current Republican candidates have distanced themselves from the field.
Yet Christie has insisted repeatedly and in the clearest terms that he will not run in 2012.
“When it comes to running for president, you don’t pick the time. The time picks you,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in New Jersey. “If his burning desire is to be president, then the time is now. You don’t know what the environment will be in 2016 or 2020.”
Christie has yet to display even a flickering desire, repeating many times that he is not interested.
Which didn’t give even a pause to supporters eager for a candidate and media eager for the story.
Christie, who was elected governor in 2009, was on a Republican Party fund-raising tour with stops in Missouri and California, including a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library on Tuesday night, which only heightened speculation he might change his mind. Excerpts released ahead his speech made no mention of presidential intentions.
“This is a do or die moment for him,” said Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science and law at New Jersey’s Montclair State University.
“There is a risk in waiting,” she said, because by 2016, “he won’t be the new kid on the block anymore.”
I heard some of that speech televised live, and at the end he figured he’d use the media to convince the media that his no meant NO.
Christie said he was flattered, but he had his reasons for staying out of the race.
Nonetheless, the speech — delivered at a shrine to America’s 40th president, with former first lady Nancy Reagan in the audience — was likely to stoke fresh speculation about his presidential ambitions.
This is interesting. Even though he says he ‘says what he means and means what he says’, it seems we’ve been down that trail far and long enough to know better than to take politicians at their word. Which is rich with irony.