Christie speech adds fuel to presidential speculation
September 27th, 2011
11:29 PM ET
11 years ago

Christie speech adds fuel to presidential speculation

(CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wouldn’t say definitively whether or not he was considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination Tuesday, instead referring audience members at a speech in California to an online video that compiles his past denials.

Christie’s response was a stark contrast to past replies to the same question, which until now he has answered with a resounding “no.”

Responding to another audience member’s plea for him to enter the race, Christie had a similarly vague response.

“It’s extraordinarily flattering,” Christie said. “But a heartfelt message is not a reason to do it. The reason has to reside within me.”

Christie made the comments following a foreign policy speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The speech will likely do little to quiet the increased speculation the New Jersey governor is rethinking an entry into the GOP race.

Christie peppered his address – titled “Real American Exceptionalism” – with the kind of language generally incorporated into a GOP stump speech: pushing his record as a strong leader, slamming President Barack Obama for lacking such a record, and evoking the memory of one of the most popular presidents of the past several decades, Ronald Reagan.

Christie even waded into a current hot-button issue on the GOP campaign: illegal immigrants receiving in-state tuition at public universities. Two GOP candidates, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, sparred over the issue at last week’s GOP presidential debate.

Christie jumped into the fray Tuesday.

“I need to be crystal clear,” Christie said. “I want every child that comes to New Jersey to be educated. I do not believe that we should be subsidizing through taxpayer money, their education.”

Christie continued, “From my perspective, that’s not a heartless position, that’s a common sense position.”

At the debate, Perry suggested that other candidates “had no heart” for slamming his policy in Texas of allowing children of illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition.

In his speech, Christie reserved his harshest words for the president, warning that Obama’s reelection campaign could tear the nation apart.

“President Obama prepares to divide our nation to achieve reelection,” Christie said. “This is not a leadership style, this is a re-election strategy. Telling those who are scared and struggling that the only way their lives can get better is to diminish the success of others.”

Christie continued, “What happened to State Senator Obama? When did he decide to become one of the ‘dividers’ he spoke of so eloquently in 2004? There is, of course, a different choice. That choice is the way Ronald Reagan led America in the 1980s.”

Christie also used the event to tout his own record as governor of New Jersey, telling the audience that he had worked through divided government successfully.

“In New Jersey over the last 20 months, you have actually seen divided government that is working,” Christie said. “To be clear, it does not mean that we have no argument or acrimony. There are serious disagreements, sometimes expressed loudly Jersey style."

Christie continued, “We identified the problems. We proposed specific means to fix them. We educated the public on the dire consequences of inaction. And we compromised, on a bipartisan basis, to get results. We took action.”

Christie’s speech comes amid reports the New Jersey governor is receiving renewed pressure to run for president from prominent Republicans who aren’t satisfied with the current crop of GOP presidential candidates.

Christie has vehemently denied all previous suggestions that he is interested in becoming president, saying the timing isn’t right for him or his family.

"It's got to be something that you and your family really believes is not only the right thing to do at that time in your life, both for you and your country. And for me the answer to that it isn't,” Christie said last week at Rider University.

In June, Christie told CNN’s Piers Morgan, "I'm 100 percent certain I'm not going to run."


Also see:

Perry moves to reassure Republicans in Iowa, South Carolina

Huntsman: 'We are going to focus singularly on New Hampshire'

Tea Party Nation founder endorses Gingrich

Filed under: 2012 • Chris Christie
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Former Republican

    Just another disgusting, foul mouthed bully. We hate him in NJ!

    September 27, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  2. AntiFringe

    Enter the race.........move to the top......participate in a contender, please

    September 28, 2011 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  3. Dee

    Everyone needs to stop trying to persuade him he has ligitmate reasons for not running and I believe it is his weight because he will be vehemently scrutinized by the public. This time the bully pulpit will not help in a bid for the President especially at a time when our young people are bullying each other in schools and on the playgrounds causing suicide out leaders should be setting an example.

    He needs a clean bill of health from his physican because this is a stressful job.

    September 28, 2011 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  4. Uhmerican

    Not crazy enough to appeal to the base. The GOP will get who they deserve.

    September 28, 2011 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  5. Just a thought

    What could the GOP / Tea Pee pants party of obstructionists, racists, possibly provide in the best interests of this country?...This guy couldn't possibly be the answer

    September 28, 2011 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  6. Just Saying

    Jackie Gleason (Ralph Cramden) look-a-like waited too late to put his name on the list.

    September 28, 2011 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  7. Vijay

    Considering the current crop of contenders for the GOP nomination, Mr. Christie can only be welcomed. But he should not be coy about it and expect the nomination to be handed to him. He should fight for it, through the primaries. The first thing I would want to know about is, is he healthy enough to go thru the primaries, then through the election and stand the stress of presidency.

    September 28, 2011 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  8. reatte texas

    good lord that would be a breath of fresh air and a person that wouldn't take bull crap from no one

    PLEASE RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 28, 2011 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  9. midleclssfan

    Despite the fact that I'm happy with my present job and I don't want to run for President, nor do I believe I'm ready to run for president, when the Koch Brothers speak I listen. Yet another Republican Puppet.

    September 28, 2011 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  10. 4cause

    I can solve this for you right now Christie..... don't run as a hopeful. The GOP already has enough ignorant, bashing, and not intelligent hopefuls embarrassing the American people. The only division in this Country is in our government. Elections are coming but our Country and the People are in a bad situation and we need politicians more focused on issues and all Americans should know that if things are not changing and getting better in this Country it’s because government as a whole is failing. Americans…. We need politicians that know how to play well with others and are not just focused on their own political/party agendas or nothing is ever going to change. It’s funny … when one applies for a job in America the agencies are focused on” are you a team player” ….. in college focus was on group projects and learning what it takes to work with others. So the work force is being told we have to work and play well with others …..but we’re letting government and elected officials just say and do whatever and play by different rules.

    September 28, 2011 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  11. Anonymous

    I love it!!! The republican party is destroying itself.

    September 28, 2011 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  12. Not fooled

    Chris Christie " President Obama prepares to divide our nation to achieve re-election," "This is not leadership style, this is a re-election strategy". Telling those that are scared or struggling that the only way their lives can get better is to diminish the success of others." Then he goes on to talk about Reagan. How ironic: Reagan raised taxes eleven times during his administration . Was he telling the people who were struggling that the only way their lives can get better was to diminish the success of others? President Obama is raising the taxes only from 35% to 39.6%. Stop dramatizing the truth. Don't talk about President Obama's leadership style when you are afraid to jump in yourself. You are no leader either.

    September 28, 2011 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  13. Jay Rehak

    There is nothing about this man that recommends him. I hope he stays true to his word and stays out of the Presidential race.

    September 28, 2011 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  14. "The GOP biggest deception is getting the Poor and Middle class to believe they are out to help them"

    The saga of the desperate GOP continues!!! LOL

    September 28, 2011 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  15. Smitty

    The way of Reagan!!!!! I keep hearing this from the GOP, class warfare and dividing, America exceptlism or whatever made up words they are using.
    There is no such thing and CNN is jumping in head first with the lies right along with FoxNews, Hannity was grinning ear to ear last night after the speech.

    September 28, 2011 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  16. Lynn

    Visit 4 different news sites, and you'll get just as many interpretations of what Christie is purportedly going to do.....Reuters leads with Christie rebuffing pleas to run and points out his reference in his speech to the website which posted a montage of the many ways he's said no.........which this article doesn't even mention.

    Social conservatives have already panned his possible candidacy given his views on immigration, his belief in global warming and his appointment of a Muslim judge.

    Watching the media salivate over his possible candidacy is hilarious.

    September 28, 2011 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  17. Name king

    It's amazing the two most devastating issues that the repugs used and buried the dem in last election "illegals and healthcare" these are the two issues that their two front runners is bed with. Romney was the father of Obama care, and perry is the governor who are sending illegals to school on the American tax dollars. It's amazing how quick these repugs switched when it's their party doing it. I don't see any protest signs, cross burning or any tea baggers crying in the streets. This make folks wonder, is it the content of Obama's policies that the repugs hate or just
    the man?

    September 28, 2011 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  18. Sylvestre Apolonio

    This Guy would be worse than George Bush, the Iraq conquerer. To relive the middle ages vote Chris Christie for president. We are broke because of two wars.
    Today's formula: GOP = WAR{tax cut for wealthy cutting social programs}

    September 28, 2011 06:27 am at 6:27 am |

    He said no too. Desperate wingnuts waiting for Snooki Palin to ride in on her black horse to repeat 2008.

    September 28, 2011 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  20. T'sah from Virginia

    ►Christie speech adds fuel to presidential speculation
    But he’s NOT running so STOP with the expectation
    He claims he’s NOT ready for such a BIG task
    Never mind – be kind – and say nothing about his ASH!!

    Obama/Biden 2012!!

    September 28, 2011 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  21. Linda

    Chris – If a republican gets elected in 2012 you will have to wait until 2016. I know you said you do not have it in your heart to be President but I am reminded by this quote .... No good men go to war because their heart is in the battle. As a soldier you don't choose your war the war chooses you. No soldier packs up and leaves his family because it's the right time, his "heart is in" ending the lives of other men. No field of battle was ever taken without fear and doubt or to the benefit of those to the front, but, because your country needs YOU! "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." -Edmund Burke...

    September 28, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  22. G

    Chris Christie has no intentions of running for president, he is just stringing people along to collect money.

    September 28, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I have mixed feelings about Christie (not) running for president. He can certainly add weight to the field in more way than one. He said that he doesn't have the experience to be president at this point. I believe that he is correct because he doesn't know how to deal with the legislature here in NJ. If he can't deal well with a small legistature in NJ, then how well could he deal with Congress that has 535 members. I don't think he has a heart because of the cuts to the programs that help the poor to balance the budget. I don't think that there has been any analysis to see if those programs put more money back into the economy. Without that, there is no justification for the state to do that because charities don't have enough help to help all the poor.

    September 28, 2011 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  24. Tony in Maine

    An interesting take nearly the opposite of that in the print media. Can it be that television media is hoping that a loose cannon at least make a run at it giving them lots of ten second clips of a fat guy being rude and crude. I'm not sure he'd be nominated because he covers his lack of governing skills with bombast and at some point would tell Brian Williams, Chris Matthews or Wolf Blitzer to "eff off." That would endear him to the Tea Baggers, but destroy the incessant mantra you repeat here. Christie will run, Christie will run, Christie will run ad nauseum.

    September 28, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  25. Kimberly in Houston

    No way! Christie can't win!

    September 28, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |