Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shares a laugh with former first lady Nancy Reagan and Gayle Wilson (l), wife of former California Gov. Pete Wilson, Sept. 28, 2011.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shares a laugh with former first lady Nancy Reagan and Gayle Wilson (l), wife of former California Gov. Pete Wilson, Sept. 28, 2011. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
What was remarkable after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's appearance Tuesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Ca. was how many political observers after watching his performance there thought he hadn't essentially ruled out a 2012 presidential run.
It sure sounded to others (yours truly included) that he was nixing a run as he has done so often in the last year or more.
True, in the question and answer session after his speech on "American exceptionalism," Christie didn't make an absolutist, Shermanesque statement that would have, once and for all, ended the speculation.
Instead, after he was asked if he was reconsidering whether to enter the race, he pointed everyone to a Politico.com mash-up of many of his recorded statements ruling out a 2012 run.
But a few moments later came the most dramatic moment of the event. A woman sitting in the auditorium's balcony rose and pleaded with him to run. "Please sir, your country needs you to run for president," she begged.
To which Christie said, in part:
"It's extraordinarily flattering. But by the same token that heartfelt message you gave me is not a reason for me to do it. That reason has to reside inside me. And so, that's what I've said all along, is, I know, without ever having met President Reagan that he must've felt deeply in his heart that he was called to that moment to lead our country..."
Though Christie neglected to complete the thought for his Reagan library audience, he has in the past rounded it out. He has said he currently lacks that call and that he's not ready to be president.
He's also indicated that he enjoys being governor, likes his life and how it's working for his wife and children. All that would change and not necessarily in a good way if he ran for president. All of which have led him to conclude that now is not the time for a presidential run.
While Christie didn't mention what's happened to Texas Gov. Rick Perry since August when the southerner went from Republican Party savior to super flawed candidate in the eyes of many GOP leaders, voters and pundits, that certainly has to be a cautionary example. Christie has seen how passion for a candidate can quickly turn to doubt with a few campaign trail stumbles.