Washington (CNN) - No matter many times he denies having his sights on the White House in 2012, presidential buzz seems to follow New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wherever he goes.
His latest foray onto the national stage comes Wednesday, when Christie will deliver a high-profile speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute titled "It's Time to Do the Big Things" - a plea to other political leaders to confront the country's fiscal problems head-on, much like has done in the Garden State.
The Christie appearance has stirred up so much interest that AEI cannot accommodate all the reporters who want to cover the speech in person.
His popularity among Republicans – and the media - speaks to the wide-open state of the early presidential field, which so far lacks a candidate with the kind of star power and broad appeal that some Republicans say will be necessary to go head-to-head with President Obama next year.
The rotund governor has also developed an enthusiastic national following thanks to his brash and confrontational brand of politics, on display in various YouTube videos uploaded by his staff that depict Christie clashing with unionized teachers at town-hall meetings across New Jersey.
As Christie toured the country last October with Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty in an effort to elect other GOP governors, Christie was met with a rock-star welcome at nearly every event.
At one such stop in Ohio, Christie lingered for nearly 30 minutes after the event to meet swarms of autograph seekers, while Barbour and Pawlenty - two Republicans actually mounting presidential bids - slipped out the back.
Christie skipped last weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, but still managed to finish in a surprising tie for third in the conference's presidential straw poll along with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who spent three days at the event getting his libertarian-leaning supporters to the ballot box.
The unexpected result was revealed just moments after conservative pundit Ann Coulter implored the CPAC crowd to draft Christie into the presidential race.
"If we don't run Chris Christie, Mitt Romney will be the nominee and we will lose," Coulter declared.
While the governor has rejected invitations to speak in key presidential nominating states like Iowa and recently turned down an offer to deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union, Christie and his team have had a hand in stirring up the national buzz.
He recently sat for glowing interviews with "60 Minutes" and "The Today Show, for instance, and his advisers made clear to reporters that a January dinner with Romney at the New Jersey's governor's mansion came at the request of the former Massachusetts governor.
On Wednesday, the Republican Governors Association announced that Christie will serve as the political organization's Policy Vice Chairman. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the RGA Chairman, said Christie "has been a powerful example of the tremendous impact governors can make in their states and nationwide."
And now the governor is stepping into the spotlight once again in Washington, in full view of a press corps hungry for any sign of life in the slow-moving presidential race. Not that the White House is on his mind, of course.
"I am not surprised that he is continuing to share his message of fiscal sanity and shared sacrifice," said New Jersey Republican National Committeeman Bill Palatucci, one of Christie's closest friends and supporters. "His success in New Jersey with this agenda has made him highly sought after around the country."
Run Chistie, Run!!!!
Christie is the real deal, that's why people want him to run. Very different from what we have in the WH today. Second to Christie is Mitch Daniels, unfortunately many people are not familiar with him.
Romney, Gingrich, and Palin are not presidential material. Romney was a one-term governor and passed Romneycare. Palin is not presidential material at all and Gingrich has too many personal issues.
The only popularity this governor has with republicans is the popularity drummed up by the MSM. I went to one of the events during the mid-terms and it was no near sold out so stop your lying.
The MSM will tell you who they want and who they don't want.
I would really like to know where in the world all this hype for Christie is coming from??? I live in NJ and since he's taken office not only have things NOT gotten better in NJ they've gotten WORSE! Taxes continue to go up, services continue to decline and the corruption is even more out of control than ever! Just ask the Wall Twp police chief who just retired with a 6 figure retirement, $80K in unused leave and a retirement JOB for another $90K doing absolutely nothing. Oh and by the way he's only 55 and the tax payers of NJ will be paying all of his medical bills. And if that is not enough to get your goat there are hundreds of police dept. in NJ. America do not allow yourself's to be mislead... Christie is a politician just like every other politician! Theres two types of dogs in the world the ones that bark and those that bite, this one barks. God Bless (Help) America
Romney is the second coming of McCain; a liberal who has an R by his name. It's only fitting the press loves him since they know he will lose and usher in their pagan idol for another four years. Christy is a better choice out there but Shara Palin is the best and most experience in cleaning garbage out of government maybe that’s why a lot of the Republicans would never nominate here. That's right the McCain’s, Romney’s, Huckabes all are liberal bureaucrats with there hands out.
"No matter many times he denies having his sights on the White House in 2012, presidential buzz seems to follow New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wherever he goes."
Maybe it's because "news people" keep bringing up the topic to pad out their stories.
Christie is still thinking like a prosecutor and not like an administrator. He shows that he wants his way or no way. When he can actually sit down and talk to people on the other side of him with reasonable respect and some flexibility, then he will be able to really call himself a leader. Right now he is just a bully in a job.
An endorsement from Ann "I'm really a self hating liberal" Coulter doesn't help me. I doubt that will help him further any national political ambitions.
He's loved by who? You mean the American worker, union hating republicans. Yep, Corporate takeover of our government. They've been distracting with the "government takeover" slogans to assure that it become a Corporate. With Medicare/Medicaid/SOCIAL security at 57% of the U.S. budget.....Why aren't they taking on the "Socialist Programs and Government Takeovers of these programs..
He's hanging out with Barbour now. Could the Mexican government be employing them both now?