Chris Christie on 2012: "I already know I could win"

It might be true but it’s an odd thing to say. For starters, he sounds arrogant. There are plenty of righties who already dislike him for gun control, endorsing Mike Castle, etc. This won’t do him any favors with them. Beyond that, for a would-be VP candidate, he seems perilously close to suggesting that the eventual nominee should consider him/herself lucky that they didn’t have to face him in the primaries. He doesn’t go quite that far — he says he could win, not that he would — but as a friend pointed out the other day, the problem with putting Christie on the bottom of the ticket is that he’s practically guaranteed to overshadow whoever’s at the top. Only Palin can match him in terms of charisma, and needless to say, there ain’t going to be a Palin/Christie ticket. For everyone else, it’d be a rerun of 2008 where Republicans are excited about the veep and not so excited about the other guy. Could be that he’s not interested in the number two position either (he’s said as much), but New Jersey pols are skeptical. And for a man with allegedly no national ambitions at the moment, he sure has spent a lot of time knocking Obama lately.

In any case, consider this his answer to the question posed yesterday by Laura Ingraham. If top Republicans think America’s on the highway to hell under Obama, why aren’t they running to beat him next year — especially if, by their own admission, they could win?

Believe me, I’ve been interested in politics my whole life. I see the opportunity. But I just don’t believe that’s why you run. Like I said at AEI, I have people calling me and saying to me, “Let me explain to you how you could win.” And I’m like, “You’re barking up the wrong tree. I already know I could win.” That’s not the issue. The issue is not me sitting here and saying, “Geez, it might be too hard. I don’t think I can win.” I see the opportunity both at the primary level and at the general election level. I see the opportunity.

But I’ve got to believe I’m ready to be president, and I don’t. And I think that that’s the basis you have to make that decision. I think when you have people who make the decision just based upon seeing the opportunity you have a much greater likelihood that you’re going to have a president who is not ready. And then we all suffer from that. Even if you’re a conservative, if your conservative president is not ready, you’re not going to be good anyway because you’re going to get rolled all over the place in that town…

Like I said before, I am who I am and people have to trust, they don’t have to but they should trust, my instincts on this. I know me better than anyone else knows me. If I felt like I was ready, I’d go, but I’m not. But I’m also not going to go if I don’t think I’m ready.

When I walked into the Governor’s office last January there have been some difficult days in the job. There has never been a day where I’ve felt like I’m over my head, I don’t know what to do, I’m lost. I don’t know whether I’d feel the same way if I walked into the Oval Office a year and a half from now. So, unless you get yourself to the point where you really believe you have a shot to be successful, then I don’t think you have any business running for it.

The inexperience argument. He can use it as an excuse to bide his time until 2016, as can Rubio, but there aren’t many other top-flight GOP contenders who can. Which isn’t to say that he couldn’t shamelessly reverse himself in six months’ time if he suddenly felt “ready.” Remember this golden oldie from 2004? Watch it and weep, my friends.

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