New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Paterson, NJ, Oct. 3, 2011.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Paterson, NJ, Oct. 3, 2011. Julio Cortez/AP
Whenever New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks publicly these days, it seems a lot of people raptly listen for clues, or better yet, an announcement of the Republican's intentions regarding the 2012 presidential race. Mercifully, this appears to be about to come to an end.
Christie's office has scheduled a 1 pm news conference in Trenton. The National Review Online's The Corner blog reports that Christie will announce he won't, repeat, won't run for the Republican presidential nomination. NR has apparently been told this by New Jersey Republicans.
Republicans unhappy with the current choices presented by the GOP field had appealed to the usually straight-talking, humorous and charismatic Christie to enter the race.
Christie's appeal largely arises from how he unhorsed former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in 2009, taken on public-employee unions to reduce pension and other government costs that were burdening the state's taxpayers and gotten Democratic legislative leaders to see things his way.
In short, the former federal prosecutor appears to be a fairly strong leader when many voters are looking for as much to guide the nation through uncertain times.
But Christie has consistently said for more than a year that he didn't have the internal fire for a presidential run, that he didn't feel ready to be president. And he made those statements into cameras repeatedly.
As questioners kept pretending not to hear him, he resorted to hyperbole to drive home his point. He said something along the lines of: What do I have to do, commit suicide, to convince you I'm not going to run? he famously asked.
True, while Christie seemed to have closed the door, there were conflicting signs that it was still ajar. In the last week he was said to be reconsidering. The highly respected former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, a Christie mentor, had said as much.
At a widely watched speech last week at the Ronald Reagan Library, Christie didn't make an unequivocal statement that he would not run if nominated and would not serve if elected.
Instead, he pointed people to a Politico video mashup of his past denials of interest in making the 2012 presidential race.
That didn't stop the speculation. Nothing could seemingly stop it. Maybe Tuesday's press conference will. Then, again, maybe not.
If the report is right and Christie makes it absolutely, positively clear that he isn't running, Mitt Romney is the big winner since Christie was more a threat to the former Massachusetts governor than anyone else in the Republican field.
Christie isn't nearly as conservative as Texas Gov. Rick Perry on most issues so he wouldn't have drawn the most conservative Republicans as Perry has.
His support would have come from Romney. So Christie's expected decision is definitely good news for Romney, who increasingly appears to be the frontrunner, once again, for the Republican nomination.