Washington (CNN) – When it comes to jumping into the race for 2012, it's possible the only person who knows what Chris Christie is doing is Chris Christie.
"The storm of speculation is incredible," a close adviser to the New Jersey Governor said to CNN. "But this is a decision that will come from Chris Christie on his terms."
Christie is scheduled to give a closely watched speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Tuesday night. The high-profile address and renewed hand-wringing over the current GOP field have both fueled speculation the Republican governor is reconsidering a presidential campaign.
Just last Thursday, Christie told a group of students at Rider University he isn't running.
"It's got to be something that you and your family really believe is not only the right thing to do but I think what you must do at that time in your life both for you and your country. And for me the answer to that is: it isn't," Christie said.
Christie gave a more forceful denial in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute last February. It was Sherman-esque on steroids.
"I threatened to commit suicide. I did. I said what do I have to do short of suicide to convince people I'm not running. Apparently I actually have to commit suicide to convince people I'm not running," Christie said.
On Monday, former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean ratcheted up the speculation that things have changed when he told the National Review On-Line Christie is giving it all a second thought.
"It's real," Kean said. "He's giving it a lot of thought. I think the odds are a lot better now than they were a couple weeks ago."
On Tuesday, Christie's brother sought to tamp down that speculation in an interview with a New Jersey newspaper. Todd Christie told the Star-Ledger he is "sure" his brother is not running.
"If he's lying to me, I'll be as stunned as I've ever been in my life," Todd Christie said to the newspaper.
Christie is under intense pressure to enter the race from Republican activists and donors who are cringing at the prospect of picking between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
The New Jersey governor is listening to those pleas. He also remains an active team player for Republican causes. On Tuesday morning, Christie appeared at a fundraiser in Missouri for a Congressional candidate.
But an 11th hour decision to join the race comes with potential peril. A late entry would result in intense media scrutiny. Witness the shooting star and scorching after burn for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Christian conservatives signaled Tuesday they are ready to challenge Christie on social issues. Last August, Christie outraged some on the religious right when he appointed a Muslim judge. Critics of the decision said it could lead to Sharia law in New Jersey.
The governor's response to the criticism was vintage Christie.
"This Sharia law business is crap. It's just crazy. And I'm tired of dealing with the crazies," Christie said.
Prominent religious conservatives took issue with Christie's comments.
"He's made some very questionable appointments of some key positions," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said at a news conference Tuesday. "He has some backing from individuals who are clearly on the other side of most social issues. So I think he would have a difficult time gaining a lot of support among social conservatives."
The reality is Christie is already up against looming fall deadlines for putting his name on the ballot in several primary states.
"It's not easy to put a campaign together on the run," long-time Republican campaign strategist Ed Rollins said.
This is just what the republican field needs; chris Christie in there, throwing his weight around...
I don't think Christie is really to run for president. He doesn't know how to deal with a legislature or the public very well. He hasn't really changed his mindset from prosecutor to something that a governor should have of an administrator. He is too much of a bully and wouldn't work well with Congress if he were elected.
I know what Chris Christie is doing. He's not running. He has said that dozens of times. I don't think he's a liar.
yes. we should all be afraid of social conservatives. can't they go be socially conservative somewhere else. a place like iran, maybe. they'd fit right in. they want a theocracy – they just want a christian one.
Why do we need another contender? We already have RON PAUL!
(paid for by the Rick Perry is a moron campaign)
This guy makes me sick!
While I don't believe in most of Christie's policies, I don't think he's anyone's fool. He knows that 2012 is a lost election cycle for the TGOP and he doesn't want any part of it. Why damage your cred for absolutely no reason? If Christie gets reelected by the people of NJ and he's still around in 2016, he'll have a much better chance of winning a major election. Perhaps he's thinking that the lunatics will have dropped off the radar by then. I'm hoping that the TGOP drops the T by then and we can get back to a saner congress.
Republican elites obviously lust after Christie because he could put NJ in play which would severely undermine Obama's re-election attempts. But I think Christie would be smart to sit this one out and focus on finishing his 1st term as governor. If he runs, he will be away from the state for more than a year, face intense scrutiny, and will probably fall out of favor with the extreme right who will pine for someone else in 2 weeks (Daniels?) all leaving his chances for re-election in NJ vulnerable...which would be fine with me since I'm a die hard Dem.