Hey, who's up for another "maybe Christie's running, but probably not" post?

Yes, another day of this crap, I’m afraid — but thankfully, this might be it. He’s speaking tomorrow night at the Reagan Library (on the theme of “Real American Exceptionalism”) and everyone expects some signal of his intentions. I’m utterly convinced that he’s not running and that he’ll affirm that tomorrow, but until then let’s milk this topic for one more post’s worth of easy traffic. Keep hope alive, Tom Kean!

Former New Jersey governor Tom Kean, who has known Chris Christie since he was a teenager and remains an informal adviser, tells National Review Online that the governor is “very seriously” considering a presidential bid.

“It’s real,” Kean says. “He’s giving it a lot of thought. I think the odds are a lot better now than they were a couple weeks ago.”…

“More and more people are talking to him,” Kean says. “He’s getting appeals from major figures around the country.” Kean, for his part, is also encouraging the first-term Republican to jump in. “He is the best speaker I may have ever heard in politics,” he tells me.

So, he’s leaning yes? Well, no:

Mr. Christie’s aides say the governor hasn’t budged from his months-long insistence that he won’t enter the presidential fray, despite what one described as a “relentless” stream of calls over the last week from prominent Republicans urging him to run.

“None of that triggers any new thinking on his part,” said one Christie adviser. “He’s very polite to these people: ‘Thank you for calling. That’s very flattering. I’ll let you know.’ And I think they interpret that, ‘Ah-ha! A rethinking.'”

A speech Mr. Christie will deliver Tuesday evening at the Ronald Reagan presidential library in California has nonetheless intensified speculation about the governor’s intentions. Aides insist he won’t use the appearance to make any surprise announcement.

New Jersey’s lieutenant governor also said tonight flatly that he’s not running, as did a spokesman for the New Jersey Republican Party. In fact, even Mitch Daniels, who’s talked him up as a potential candidate, told the Weekly Standard today that he spoke to Christie last week and “I saw no evidence that he’s going to change his mind.” So, he’s obviously a no, then, right? Well, funny thing: Over the weekend I got an e-mail from a friend who’s also friends with an influential international political aide. (My friend told me the aide’s name.) The aide knows a bunch of GOP bigwigs and he told my friend that the sense he got from them was that Christie is definitely in. Which is to say, I think we might now be past the point where people are speculating about Christie running for strategic reasons, in hopes that the resulting swell of enthusiasm will convince him to do it. I think some people now really do believe that he’s thinking about it — even though he’s almost certainly not really thinking about it. The question is, why is there so much confusion about this? Who’s the liar inside the Christie camp who’s telling “sources” that Christie’s reconsidering even though he isn’t? And … why?

Two clips here, the first of Rove speculating that Christie has three weeks(!) to decide and the second an old clip of the man himself reiterating that he’s not not not not not running. Exit question: Shouldn’t Romney-haters want Christie in the race even if they’re not fans of CC either? Best-case scenario is that those two split the centrist vote and Perry sweeps to victory. Worst-case scenario is that Christie wins the nomination outright and instead of facing Obama with a centrist from Massachusetts who pioneered the individual mandate we face him with a centrist from New Jersey who’s great on entitlements and has a knack for taking it to his opponents. Why, I might be willing to support him for this alone.

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