“Chris Christie has, essentially, frozen the race. The most important Republican moneymen in the country, Paul Singer and David Koch, are waiting on him, as are any number of donors and elected officials. This makes it much harder for Romney to consolidate his advantage on Perry. It also makes it harder for Perry to expand his circle of support.
“And so we’re all pretty much waiting for Chris Christie’s inner guidance.”
“Bill Christie, Gov. Chris Christie’s father, tells National Review Online that his son will make the final decision about a presidential bid. But as the governor mulls, he can count his father as one of many Republicans who would support him, should he jump into the presidential primary. ‘I know he’d be a great president,’ Mr. Christie says. ‘He has always been a leader. I think he would beat [President] Obama.’
“But don’t get too excited. ‘I’ve never asked him if he’s going to run,’ Mr. Christie cautions. ‘I trust if it’s going to happen, I’d be hearing it from him. I tell him, just let me hear any good news, but let me hear it first, or at least before you announce it to the world.’ Christie’s brother, Todd, he notes, is ‘very close to him and might know more than me. I don’t try to get into it.'”
“Joe Kyrillos, a New Jersey state senator and longtime confidant of Gov. Chris Christie, tells National Review Online that Christie will not run for president. ‘He, and all of New Jersey, is flattered by the outpouring of support, but I think he has made his decision,’ says Kyrillos, Christie’s 2009 campaign chairman.
“‘He is gracious in responding to folks like the woman last night, who emotionally asked him to reconsider,’ Kyrillos says. “That graciousness can be interpreted as the door still being a little bit open. But to be clear, he’s being gracious; he’s not being coy. I know the governor means what he says” with regard to the 2012 cycle. ‘I think he thinks that he has been very clear.'”
“You can also attempt a comparison to Ronald Reagan, who didn’t officially announce his candidacy until Nov. 13, 1979. But as with Mr. Clinton, when a candidate officially announces is not equivalent to when he is running for president in everything but name only.
“Everybody knew that Mr. Reagan was going to run — he had been included in every poll of Republican voters in 1979 — including Mr. Reagan, whose de facto campaign launch was in March of that year. And Mr. Reagan, unlike Mr. Christie, had run for president twice before, in 1968 and 1976.
“Maybe Mr. Christie has enough talent to overcome a late start, but there would be no good precedent for it; the cases of Mr. Clinton and Mr. Reagan are not even close…
“But even if a late start is not disqualifying, it will tilt the odds against Mr. Christie in all sorts of tangible and intangible ways — enough to more than outweigh the fact some Republicans seem to be clamoring for him now. (And in fact, polls find that rank-and-file voters are significantly more satisfied with their choices than they were a few months ago.) The risk-reward calculus for Mr. Christie has gotten worse with every day of feigned or actual indecision. One who has a high opinion of his intellect and his political skills, as I do, might infer that if he were really interested in running for president, he would have made up his mind sooner.”
“Is it right, as Christie says, that “the reason [to run] has to reside inside” him? Doesn’t the reason reside more importantly in the crises the country faces? The reason fundamentally has little to do with what Chris Christie feels in his heart. It has everything to do what he thinks the nation needs. If he thinks he can benefit the nation, he should run.
“It’s one thing for someone who has never run for office—a Colin Powell or a Bill Bennett or a David Petraeus—to decide he’s just not cut out for elective office, and to choose not to embark on that course. But Chris Christie—like Paul Ryan and Mitch Daniels, to mention only two others—already holds elective office. If any of them honestly thinks he could win the nomination and the presidency, and would be a better candidate and a better president than the rest of the Republican field—and if there are no show-stopping medical or family issues—doesn’t that public official have some obligation to step up to the plate?
“You don’t have to ‘feel deeply in [your] heart’ that you’re called to run for president. You have to think you’re the right man for the job. And, if that’s the case, you have a duty to your country to step forward.
“It’s not about you. It’s about your country.”
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